David talks about how God hates liars, murderers, and evil-doers of all kinds and how they will be excluded from the house of God in Psalm 5:4-6. Now in the next passage, Psalm 5:7-8, he expresses his own confidence in his relationship with God. He says, “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.  Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” In view of David’s own sinfulness, the key to understanding David’s confidence is found in the opening phrase, “Through the abundance of your steadfast love.” Even David seems to understand that any righteousness he might have is by the grace of God.

I just watched a news report where Laura Ingraham did an on-the-street interview with drug addicts on the streets in San Francisco. In one interview, an addict told Laura that she has no ability to say “NO” to her habit. The Fentanyl she was taking was the only thing that relieved the pains in her life, and there was no way she could stop using it. Life, to her, was unlivable without it! She had tears running down her cheeks as she confessed her total dependence on the drug. Laura hugged her, and when she was interviewed later, she said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I think Laura meant what David meant when he said that any righteousness he possesses comes only through the abundance of God’s steadfast love.

We often sing the famous hymn “Amazing Grace.” John Newton, the author, recognized how sinful he was as he referred to himself as “a wretch like me.” When we sing that hymn, we too should realize that the only goodness we might truly boast of is that which God has bestowed upon us through faith in His son, Jesus. I like what McCalip writes, “God’s grace is truly amazing, for the only real difference between a sinner and a saint is God’s grace. Every saint can say, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ when he speaks of what might have happened to him had he followed the crowds and not the way of God. We should never reach the point of pride where we can’t acknowledge, as the hymn says, that God ‘saved a wretch like me.’”[1] Paul agrees with David’s assessment. He acknowledges his complete dependence on God as well in 1 Corinthians 15:10. He writes, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” 

[1] McCalip, Steven Melvin. 2002. Where’d That Come From?. Chattanoga: AMG Publishers.