September 02, 2021

Sin, Suffering, and Salvation

Psalm 38:1-22

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

—  2 Corinthians 5:21

King David in the Old Testa­ment had his share of suffering. That’s clear from Psalm 38, ­described as “a psalm of David.” He speaks of being wounded and filled with pain. Friends and neighbors abandon him. Enemies hate him and accuse him. Some want to kill him. It’s “because of my sin,” he says. And he’s right.

Not every sin leads to a particular suffering. And not all suffering is from particular sins. But rebellion against God’s ways does unleash suffering into our human experience. So David the sinner suffers, and from his suffering he cries out to God. Maybe you know what that’s like.

Jesus certainly knows. It’s there in Psalm 38. Yes, this psalm is about sin. And no, Jesus himself never sinned. But he did suffer. He suffered because the sins of the world, including my sins and yours, were laid on him. He carried that immense burden to the cross. The silent anguish, the pounding heart, the failing strength, the cry of forsakenness—it’s all there in Psalm 38, and it was all there on the cross.

But that was not the end. From his own suffering, Jesus cried out to God. And his cry was heard. On the third day, God raised him from the dead. Jesus had won the ultimate victory over sin. Yes, we still sin. And we still suffer. But sin no longer has the power to separate us from God. Jesus saw to that.

Jesus, you carried our sin to the cross. And by suffering under that burden, you set us free. What a Savior! Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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