“The Sinning Believer and His Sin”
April 12, 2015
Arthur Lampitt was driving his tan Ford Thunderbird to work one July morning in 1963 when he was involved in a car accident so bad that he was reported as dead on the local radio station. It had been raining and his car tires need replacing — in fact, he’d tried to get them replaced the previous afternoon but the tire shop was too busy to do his car. So when it rained on the way to work and his car hit a large puddle on a curve, he hydroplaned. Then when he saw a truck coming towards him from the oncoming lane, he tried to accelerate to get to the other side of the road before hitting the truck. He didn’t make it and the truck hit him head-on. He suffered a broken hip, several broken ribs, and was in traction for 10 days before surgeons could operate on him.
He survived. Then 35 years later he went through a metal detector at a courthouse while wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and his bare arm set off the metal detector. That’s strange, he thought. So he got an x-ray and the doctors found an object they believed was a tool that had been left in his arm by surgeons following his accident. But since it wasn’t bothering him, the doctors said to leave it alone. So he did. Then 16 years later, just this past fall, while he was moving concrete blocks on his property, the instrument began to protrude through his skin. Now it was bothering him. So he underwent a 45-minute procedure to remove the object and it turned out not to be a surgical instrument, but the turn signal lever from his car. Evidently during the accident he’d put his arm up to shield his eyes and during the impact the lever was forced into his arm, where it stayed for over 50 years.
All that time, and he was blissfully unaware and ignorant of his situation. And as odd (and kind of creepy as that story is) the extra metal in his arm apparently it didn’t do him any harm. So it’s a unique story that ended well. But being unaware isn’t always good for us. In fact, the follower of God must be aware of some things. And one of those things is sin. We may not like to talk about our sin. We may prefer to ignore and be ignorant of our sin. But awareness of our sin can be a great blessing for the believer. And that is what Psalm 130 teaches us.
This psalm is a Song of Ascent — it was sung by pilgrim travelers/worshippers on the way to Jerusalem for one of the three annual feasts. So as they made their way to these large festivals of corporate worship, they would sing songs to prepare themselves for that worship. This was one of those songs.
And the song is also known as an individual lament (it is one of seven psalms categorized as an individual lament — cf. also Pss. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 143). So an individual worshipper is aware of his sin as he’s going to worship and he is grieved over his sin. So in this psalm he is to confession and the joy of forgiveness and restoration. Luther also called this one of the “Pauline” psalms because of the emphasis of forgiveness based on grace.
Here is the theme of the psalm in one sentence:
Every person will sin; for the believer there is always hope in God’s forgiveness.
Here the psalmist identifies four stages in the process of restoration when sin happens.
- The Lament of the Sinner (vv. 1-2)
- The Confession of the Sinner (vv. 3-4)
- The Restoration of the Sinner (vv. 5-6)
- The Confidence of the Sinner (vv. 7-8)
Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 130.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.