Monday, 1 April 2013
…just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: Romans 4:6
Today precedes two verses which form a quote from the 32nd Psalm. In this quote Paul will show how “David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.” In other words, in a masterful insight into the heart of the doctrine of justification by faith, Paul will go to David, a man under the law, to show how righteousness is attained. It is by imputation from God “apart from works.”
Not only was David a man under the law, but he was also the King of Israel and the one through whom the promise of the Messiah would come (2 Samuel 7:12-16). If anyone had a reason to boast before the Lord, it would certainly be David. As the author of a large portion of the Psalms and the one who received the instructions for the building of the temple directly from Lord (1 Chronicles 28:19), David had an intimate relationship with God. He had a grasp of the intent and the purpose of the law and it is apparent through his words that he knew that the righteousness of God came not from the law itself, but from the One who gave the law in the first place.
How could David know this? Because the law not only promised life to the one who lived by it (Leviticus 18:5), but it also promised punishment and death for those who failed to do so. And David, this great and noted king, failed. When he was faced with his own sin, which under the law was worthy of death, God’s prophet spoke these words to him, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
The Lord’s mercy was bestowed upon David apart from the law. David thus deduced that if this occurred, then God’s other divine attributes were also to be realized in our relationship with Him only apart from the law. The law then must have had another purpose than to bring man into a right relationship with God. Although David didn’t have a full comprehension of the work of the Messiah, he did understand the blessedness of man who received God’s righteousness apart from the law.
In the book of Galatians, Paul will show that the law was a tutor to lead us to Christ “that we might be justified by faith.” Somehow, in his ponderings of the work of God, David understood this, even if in a limited way. The quotes Paul uses from David’s hand will clearly show this.
Life application: God authored the law which is finite in its scope and so it cannot be the full extent of our relationship with Him. However, it is eternal in its purpose; it must be fulfilled, and yet we cannot fulfill it. Therefore, the righteousness of God must come to us apart from our deeds under the law. It must come from Jesus who embodies the perfection of it. In Him alone can our righteousness be found. Be sure to give God the glory for doing through Jesus what we could never do.
Gracious and glorious Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You – my heart has been deceitful, my lips have been impure, and my actions have not been in accord with Your word. I stand before You knowing that what I deserve is to be cast from Your presence, and yet because of the work of the Messiah I am reconciled to You and brought near to Your throne. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.