I think most folks would say: “You ought to fear God because the hand of God is all-powerful and God is just—he keeps a record of wrongs and he might not forgive.”
Psalm 130 teaches us to fear God because he does forgive and doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
“If you, O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
Why would forgiveness make me fear?
Maybe because “me” is constructed with my “record of wrongs.”
And my “record of wrongs” is revealed to be an arrogant illusion in the presence of God.
God is Love.
“Love keeps no record of wrongs” according to 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV).
But I pretty much construct my view of reality, my neighbors and myself, with my record of wrongs.
I want knowledge of Good and evil, so I can keep a record of evil—for myself and my neighbor—so I can make myself good and keep myself safe from evil.
Our society is built on keeping records of wrong.
And my psyche is built on keeping records of wrong.
That’s what makes me rejoice in the wrongs of others: I think their wrong makes me right, which is so very wrong.
Jesus died to cancel our “certificate of debt,” our record of wrongs.
There is a record of wrongs, and there are “books of deeds” with which the dead are judged, but if God is Love and love keeps no record of wrongs, God didn’t write those books or keep that record.
Jesus died for our sins, but was that because God was counting?
Jesus is the presence of God not counting—at least not counting trespasses.
God was in Christ, “reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
We think Justice is keeping a record of wrongs and refusing to forgive.
But God forgives and keeps no record of wrongs.
And “All his ways are justice” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Justice is not keeping the books; it’s the end of all bookkeeping.
Justice is not “getting what you deserve.”
Justice is God getting what God deserves—and that’s you in his image.
Justice is God placing his Spirit within you and giving you a new heart.
Justice is not “retributive,” but substantive.
Justice is not the opposite of forgiveness; it’s the revelation of the forgiveness of God.
Forgiveness is the vengeance of Love.
It destroys your old “psyche” and creates in you the “psyche” of Christ.
At the start of his ministry Jesus quoted Isaiah saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to preach the year of the Lord’s favor…” and there he stopped.
That’s not because he didn’t agree with Isaiah, but because, at that time, folks couldn’t understand Isaiah. But in three years they would.
Isaiah 61 reads, “The year of the Lord’s favor and the day of the vengeance of our God.”
The year of the Lord’s favor is the Jubilee when records of wrong are cancelled and all counting ceases; it is the presence of the Kingdom of God.
The day of the vengeance of our God is the end of the sixth day and the beginning of the eternal seventh, when the Lord lifts his head as he hangs from a tree in a garden and cries, “Father forgive, they know not…” and “It is finished.”
That’s justice; that’s forgiveness; that’s the vengeance of God on the arrogant human ego.
That’s the knowledge of the Good and that’s the gift of Life Eternal.
That’s how we are made in the image of God.
Psalm 130 ends with this line: “And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”
He refers to Israel as one man, and we are grafted into that one man, and that man is the Body of Christ, and all that man’s iniquities will be redeemed.
That means that none of your sins will be wasted, but each will teach you of the forgiveness that is, and always has been, the Life of God.
Maybe God allows us to take his blood so we would see that he freely gives his blood.
Maybe God allows each of us to draw blood, and to bleed, because we are one Body, and unless we learn to bleed one for another, we will all die, never ever having lived.
My old psyche dams the river of Life, and Christ’s psyche bleeds the river of Life and is infinitely happy.
To bleed for another is your greatest fear… and deepest desire.
“It was grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved.”
God is free and Relentless Love. God is Grace.
That’s why you fear him and that’s why you will love him forever.
The hand of God is all-powerful and always bleeds for you.