This is what God gave me today in His word:
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalms 40:1-3)
David is basically giving us the process of salvation here: First we cry out to the Lord, and He ‘inclines toward us and hears our cry.’ After that, God lifts us up out of the ‘pit of destruction,’ and sets our feet upon the rock (also known as, “the corner-stone,” and, “the stone the builders rejected:” Jesus Christ). From there, He puts a ‘new song in our mouth,’ and we praise Him for all the good He has done for us.
The truly interesting thing about this passage, though, is that it’s David writing it. Someone, who as we just discussed in the previous post, was living in the time of the Old Covenant. So then, how do we understand the two facts in light of each-other? One the one hand, David has outlined for us a beautiful picture of salvation. However, on the other hand, he was living in a time before Christ; a time where the only thing they could know for certain was that if they didn’t obey the law perfectly, they would be doomed to eternal torment.
Well, to answer this, let’s remind our-self of a fact that has always and will be true: It is impossible to always perfectly obey the law, as it is defined by the New Testament (i.e. with anger being equated with the actual act of murder, and lust being equated with the actual act of adultery). So then, given that it’s impossible to perfectly obey the law, how is it that anyone who lived prior to Christ saved? To answer that, let’s take a look at a different Psalm:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:1-4)
God entirely transcends time. The time between David’s birth and Jesus’ death, to us, is very significant. However, to God it is entirely meaningless. He can look back and see Jesus paying for our sins, just as easily as He can look forward and see Jesus paying for David’s sin. David’s understanding of the Gospel was incomplete, but He had faith in the Messiah to come. Thus, he was saved.