“Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” (Psalm 40:11-12)
Many tell us that these words cannot be the Words of God’s darling Son. Indeed, some, in their foolish arrogance, assert that it is blasphemy and heresy to declare that these words are the words of our blessed Savior. In doing so they dare to defy God himself, for it is God the Holy Spirit who, in Hebrews 10, tells us that these are our Savior’s words. Robert Hawker wrote…
“These things, so far from being unsuitable to the holy Jesus, are the very things we might reasonably suppose he would speak of, and consequently his holy soul would feel so painful. And when we consider that as our Surety he bore our sins and carried our sorrows, how very reasonable it is to expect that these cries of the Son of God should be at the very time in which he is set forth as a Sacrifice for them.”
Foolishness and Perversity
There can be no question that the One speaking in Psalm 69 is our blessed Savior. Throughout the New Testament, the words of this Psalm are attributed to him (v. 4 - John 15:25; v. 9 – John 2:17, Rom. 15:3; v. 21 – Matt. 27:34, 48, Mark. 15:36, Luke 23:36, John 19:28-29; vv. 22-23 – Rom. 11:9-10; v. 25 – Acts 1:16, 20). Just reading the opening verses (vv. 1-4) of this Psalm identifies the One speaking as the Redeemer. Verse 5 cannot, with any honesty, be attributed to someone else. Hear the cry of him who was made sin for us. — “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.” The word “foolishness” means “perversity.” The word “sins” means, as it is translated in the marginal reference, “guiltiness.” Our Savior owns our perversity as his perversity and our guiltiness as his guiltiness, because it was made his.
The first Adam hid his perversity and guilt. The last Adam owns ours as his own and does it before God. It is as though he were saying, “Here, lifted up upon the cross I suffer without the gate for my people, as their Substitute, in such a way, that I desire that my sins be conspicuous to every creature in heaven, earth, and hell, — my sins, the sins of my people, all now and forever blotted out and washed away by my blood.” What condescension this is! What grace is here revealed! What unparalleled love! What mystery there is here! The Son of God takes to himself our shame! Yes! When the Lamb of God, was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, it behoved him thus to suffer and thus to cry! — “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”
Yet, in his soul’s utmost agony, the Son of God remembered and interceded for us, as our great High Priest. — “Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel” (v. 6). In answer to his prayer, the gospel promise is, “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 10:11). “He that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (1 Pet. 2:6).
Then, our sin-atoning Savior again claims our sins, our reproaches as his own, as if to tell us that our sins were not merely pasted on him, that he was not simply treated as though our sins were his, but that when he made his soul an offering for sin, he was made sin for us. — “Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face…Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” (Psa. 69:7, 19-20)
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!”
Do you understand what we have read? Do you here see Christ as your Surety, your sin-bearer, taking all your guilt and sin, assuming total responsibility for all that you are? — Made a curse for you? Do you see him as your Substitute, your Surety, your Savior? Do you trust him as such? If so, let your soul be ravished by his great love for you. Adore him! Praise him!
O, blessed Lord Jesus! How I thank you for bearing my sin! And how I thank you for allowing me to hear your soul’s agony as you bore my sins in your body upon the cursed tree that I might go free! You, blessed Savior, are exactly what this poor sinner needs — A Complete Substitute! — A Real Substitute! — An Effectual Substitute! Never, my Savior, have I had such a sweet, such a glorious, such a comforting, such an encouraging, such a humbling, such a precious view of you as my Redeemer as this. — Bearing my sin in your body upon the cursed tree, made sin for me, suffering all the hell of God’s holy fury against sin for me, to the full satisfaction of justice, that I might be made the righteousness of God in you! Born down with the weight of my sins and guilt, made your own, by a transfer that no mortal shall ever comprehend, you gave your life for me; and by your precious blood put my sins away! Truly, your name is as ointment poured forth to my soul!
Because of his infinite, immeasurable love for us, our blessed Savior became everything we were in such a real way that he owns as his own our sins before his Father and our Father! — “Thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.” Either he was made sin for us, or that which he confessed in these three Psalms is not true. There is no in-between ground. Either our Savior here spoke the truth or he did not. Blessed be his name, his word is truth! He made our foolishness his foolishness! He made our sin his sin! He made our perversity his perversity! He made our guiltiness his guiltiness!
Christ’s love for us is so infinitely great that he made our sins his very own. And by the same wondrous, amazing mercy, love, and grace, he makes his perfect righteousness our very own (Jer. 23:6; 33:16). Yes, my brother, my sister, yes, every poor sinner who trusts the Son of God, we are the very righteousness of God in Christ. With Jacob of old, we say, with confidence, as he did to Laban, to every accuser, “So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come” (Gen. 30:33). With Job, we say, “My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live” (Job 27:6). Because Christ is the Lord our Righteousness, because he is made of God unto us both redemption and righteousness, we have assurance of everlasting salvation (Rom. 8:1-4, 33-39).