25 Apr 2006

What if God Kept Records, Psalm 130

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Christian hope, Grace, Hebrew Bible, Ministry, Prayer, Preaching, Psalms

recordsPsalm 130

Ours is record keeping society. Paperwork must be created and kept on everything from purchasing tooth picks to credit card receipts. When we need to buy a new washing machine, we must fill out paperwork on our whole family history. Then that company will check with another company to find out even more records. They contact Equifax and get a copy of our records to see if we are worthy of doing business with. They look for the slightest blemish on our record then turn us down for credit they previously claimed to have “pre-approved” us for!

Companies keep records on customers. Husbands keep records on wives. Wives keep records on children and husbands. Teachers keep records on students. Police keep records on suspected criminals. Each of these parties habitually evaluates interaction with each other on the basis of that record. It cannot be escaped!

But I DISPISE MY RECORD! My record is used as a weapon against my life. People pull my record up on a computer or in their mind and tell me I’m not good enough to do business with or to be friends with or to serve the church with or . . . [fill in the blank]

Sometimes we even believe God keeps records. Surely he does — he is the universe’s best CEO. The world tells me he does. Many churches tell me he does. Satan declares that he does.

Oh, How I long to be free of the shackle of my record.

The Psalmist had similar feelings. Perhaps she was burned a time or two by her record also. The Psalmist, nor I, can blame her record on anyone but herself — we wrote it! But just once in her life she wishes for the unthinkable — life without a record. What a dream!

The voice of Scripture has a message of Good News for the Psalmist, for me, and perhaps even for you. Listen to the Psalmist in one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Listen as she (or he) cries out of the depths:

If you, O LORD, kept a RECORD of sins, O LORD, who could stand?” (Psalm130.3).

Not a single person from Adam, Abraham, Moses, Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, you or I would have a record fit to do business with. But the Psalmist says something incredible, even unbelievable:

But with you there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130.4).

What? No Records? Forgiveness instead of records? Too good to be true? Paul, a man with a rather large record, exclaims:

Blessed is the man who sin the Lord will NEVER count against him” (Romans 4.8).

That is the Good News of Psalm 130. That is the Gospel (Good News) of the Cross that God does not keep a record of our sin. No record can be held against us. WOW! What can we say about such a gift? All we can do is praise the Lord of all grace and forget the records we have kept on others.

Bobby Valentine

12 Responses to “What if God Kept Records, Psalm 130”

  1. Jason T. Carter Says:


    While I agree generally with your thoughts in this article, let us be careful that we do not go too far by saying that every sin will be forgiven, regardless of what we do (or don’t do). Confession of sin (to God, not a priest or preacher) is required for forgiveness (I John 1:9). Further, we are required to “walk in the light” to be cleansed by Christ’s blood (I John 1:7). No, we cannot be perfect, but we can be perfected if we have the right attitude and “diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). He is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).

  2. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    thanks for taking the time to read my reflections on ps 130. if you agree preach it loud and clear and without apology.

    we certainly agree it is Christ’s blood that washes us clean as we live for him. but the reason we need the blood to cleanse is because we have failed in the first (and second and third) place.

    I am slightly confused by your statement that we “can be perfected if we have the right attitude.” Is this some kind of Wesleyan perfectionism sneaking into your theology?

    We will be “perfected” but it will be at the End when we experience full redemption. Romans 8 speaks to this directly.

    In the meantime we live in a covenant of love with God. It is not a covenant of works, or works righteousness. I am in a covenant in which the blood of Jesus flows freely and graciously. That is why God does not keep records. That is why there is “now” (present tense) no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Celebrate it.

    Bobby Valentine

  3. cwinwc Says:


    Thanks for reminding me of that powerful message of Ps. 130. What a wonderful and safe place our churches would be if each of us practiced the forgiveness of Ps. 130 through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  4. Jason T. Carter Says:


    I am not familiar with Wesley’s views on perfectionism, so I cannot answer your question. What I mean when I say we “can be perfected if we have the right attitude” is that those who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt.22), then they will seek to obey Him in all things (John 14:15). Those who are rebellious, always looking for ways around God’s commands, and pitting Scripture against Scripture do not have the proper attitude. We must “diligently seek him” (Heb.11:6), not diligently seek to do as little as we can and still be saved.

  5. CFOURMAY Says:

    JTC, the point is that we all far short of “diligently seeking Him.” God forgives us of that too. He doesn’t write that down on our record and hold it agianst us. He forgives us. I think you are missing the point in 1 John when you are saying confession of sin is required for forgiveness. The whole point of that chapter is that we shouldn’t lie to ourselves and say that we are not sinners, but that we are sinners and God forgives us through Jesus’ blood. Forgiveness is not conditional(i.e. only if you confess all sins). In 1 John 2:2 it states plainly that Jesus is the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

  6. Jason T. Carter Says:

    C4, there are some sins that we commit in ignorance. If we don’t know about it, how can we confess it? Of course we can’t. That’s not what I’m talking about. When we sin, and we know we sin, confession is absolutely required. It’s a part of repentance. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins…” If it’s not necessary, John wasted ink.

  7. CFOURMAY Says:

    Ok let me try to be clearer. Confession is not telling God everytime we sin (He knows that), but admitting to God and ourselves that we live in sin without Jesus and his blood. I am not belittling confession of sins I am saying it is greater than just saying God I sinned today. All that aside the point is not all the little things that go along with believing in Jesus and forgivenesss, but that we are forgiven and our record wiped clean.
    By the way, Bobby, excellent point on keeping records. As an engineer my mind works very statistically, so I often forget about how God doesn’t add up our sins agianst us and make us carry them around. He forgives them and takes them off of my shoulder.

  8. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Yahweh is a great God. He is, according to his self designation, One who is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in HESED (see my blog on “Reflecting on God’s Hesed”). Interestingly enough he even claims to forgive “wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex 34.6-7). This really is a paradigmatic text in scripture . . . we need to ruminate upon it.

    John is not wasting ink. But I do not think he is making a sacrament out of confession. We live a “confessional” life before God. That is we are in constant awareness of our sinfulness, of our need for the blood. John is not so much after an itemized list (like a cpa) but an attitude. The gnostic false teachers (context is everything is it not) did in fact claim to be “without sin.” We on the other hand claim Christ as our atoning sacrifice precisely because we “know” ourselves to be sinners.

    God is not making forgiveness contingent upon jumping through hoops. He made contingent upon the Blood and our faith IN the blood. It is on that basis that God does not keep records of our sins.

    The Gospel is GOOD NEWS. Proclaim it.

    Bobby Valentine

  9. Danny Says:

    Abraham comes to my mind in this discussion. We all know of his struggles in fully accepting God’s promised son. The record of him hedging his bet with his maid servant is revealed clearly.

    Yet the Holy Spirit led Paul to write that Abraham “staggered not” at this promise.

    That has always impressed me. We review Abraham’s story and notice his human weakness and mistakes. God reviews the example of this man of faith and sees complete faithfulness.

    He truly keeps no records. Praise Him!

  10. Michele Says:


    Praise God that the records He keeps, He looks at them stained with His blood! I will stand on Psalm 130.


  11. David Cook Says:


    Great post the last few days. Always enjor reading your insights from the Hebrew Bible. YOu continue to make a lasting impression upon me. God Bless

  12. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    thanks for reading my thoughts. And thank you for such high praise. I am not so sure I deserve such words though.

    May Ps 130 be a place of renewal for you as you flow in the river of the Spirit. Come back.

    Bobby Valentine

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