There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared– Psalm 130:4
This is a striking statement from beginning to end. First, there is forgiveness with the holy, perfect God who does not pardon sins? How could this be? On the other hand, even this forgiveness of God should lead us to a reverential fear of God. Why would this be?
The psalmist observes in the preceding verse (130:3) that if God were to keep account of our sins, no one could stand such a scrutiny. We are all sinners to the core and we have each sinned enough to justify a hell-sentence.
But, because Jesus Christ took our sins on himself and paid the penalty for them, God has not dealt with us according to our iniquity (Psalm 103:10). Thus the holy God maintains His perfect and just standard, but is also merciful.
But what a fearsome forgiveness! To be snatched from the brink of never-ending torment, to be saved from our well-deserved damnation, makes us irrevocably and eternally indebted to our Savior. This forgiveness is fearful because it means we did nothing to deserve it, and we can do nothing to pay it back.
And God now demands the same kind of unconditional forgiveness from us, toward others. If God has so freely and kindly forgiveness us, do we not fear to hold a grudge or transgression against a brother or sister?