Sin and Judgment

There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor is there any health in my bones because of my sin” (v. 3).

- Psalm 38

Many people in the church refuse to acknowledge God as a wrathful judge who punishes people for their sins. They erroneously contend that love and anger are polar opposites that cannot be reconciled in the Divine Being. They, therefore, believe God to be one comprised of love only, one who brings no hardship or calamity on His people or anyone else. They do not make the connection between sin and God’s judgments.

Calvin perceived this kind of thought when he wrote, “We know that the great majority of men are blinded under the judgments of God, and imagine that they are entirely the events of chance; and scarcely one in a hundred discerns in them the hand of God. But, in his sickness, as in all his other adversities, David views the hand of God lifted up to punish him for his sins.… As every chastisement of God should remind us of His judgment, the true wisdom of the saints, as the prophet declares, Isaiah 9:13, is ‘to look to the hand of Him who smiteth.’ ”

In Psalm 38, David grasps this truth, that God hates sin and punishes those who disobey Him. God is a wrathful judge as well as a loving Father. Of course, while His wrath is continually poured out upon the reprobate (Rom. 1), that wrath is appeased in Christ Jesus for the believer; yet as a loving Father to His people, He disciplines them in various ways to humble them and instruct them. Therefore, when we are enduring severe suffering like David, we must not shake our fists toward heaven, asking “Why me?” Rather, we must humbly submit to God’s rule, recognizing that He is just. Instead of complaining, David confessed his sin before God and asked God for relief from his burden. While not all our sicknesses and afflictions are direct consequences of a particular sin, it is a proper response in suffering to examine ourselves and confess God’s righteous dealings in allowing such a trial to come upon us. We should never act as if we do not deserve what Providence brings, but we should be humbled that God is as merciful as He is. He spares us from what we truly deserve—eternal pain and torment. Such a perspective will cause us to praise God for His mercy and seek Him for relief in all circumstances.

Coram Deo

Spend some time today and through the weekend confessing your sins before God. Be specific. Recognize that you deserve God’s disciplines in your life and praise Him for the mercy He has extended to you. Thank Him for Christ, in whom we have forgiveness of sins.

Passages for Further Study

Proverbs 28:13
Joel 2:12–17
1 John 1:5–10

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