In this Psalm, the Spirit of God, through the mouth of David, pleads for God to work on His own behalf and on the behalf of His people, because the wicked have made void God’s holy law: they have treated it with contempt and dishonor, they have failed to do the one thing for which they were created: to glorify God, and in all of this, they have despised their Maker (Rom. 3:23; Mark 12:28-34). Though this prayer is spoken in the first person singular, it may be considered as from the Church to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who Himself is the LORD, Jehovah God, one with the Father and the Spirit. This prayer is without a doubt the inspired will and word of the Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16; Luke 24:44; John 1:45). Because men have failed to glorify God by keeping His law, it is time for the LORD to work. In every age men have trampled God’s law under foot. This is man’s universal guilt (Rom. 3:19, 23; 6:23; Eccl. 7:20). But will man treat God’s law with contempt and God Himself not answer man’s rebellion with justice? Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right (Gen. 18:22)? Is not His throne upholden by justice (Ps. 89:14)? “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes” (Prov. 20:8). What hope, then, is there for me since I am guilty of making void God’s law through my disobedience and rebellion (Job 9:1-2, 15-16, 20-21; 1 Kings 8:38, 46; Job 25:4; Isa. 6:5)?! Have not I, with all men, made myself the target of God in this prayer?
To answer this grave concern, we must see the work God did to honor His law in response to this prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, and therefore the only One good in Himself (Matt. 19:26), and who as man, is holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26). He has done the will of God. He has glorified His Father on the earth (John 17:4). In all that we failed, Christ did not fail. He alone kept God’s holy law. His obedience is the fulfillment of that law. His obedience is “the righteousness of God” (Deut. 6:25; Ps. 71:16; Isa. 45:24-25; 54:17; Jer. 23:5-6; Rom. 3:21, 24-26; 5:19; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Php. 2:6-8). He honored and magnified God’s holy law (Isa. 42:21). He who is the Lawgiver, subjected Himself to uphold His own law by fulfilling it in completion and perfection for all eternity in His obedience unto death (Php. 2:5-8; Ps. 138:2). He fulfilled the law of God from His heart, with all of His heart, with all of His mind, all of His soul and with all of His physical and spiritual strength in all things at all times. He did the will of God. He finished it (Gen. 1:31; John 19:30; Heb. 4). It was in His heart to do so (Ps. 40:7-8; Heb. 10:5-7; Luke 2:49; John 4:34; 5:36; 6:38; 8:29; 10:17-18; 17:4; 19:30; Matt. 5:17-18; Rom. 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21). Now, it is the most amazing thing in all the world that the Son of God Himself would stoop to forever become man, and as man fulfill His own law by doing His Father’s will to the glory of His Father and the salvation of His people (John 17:1-4). To the Church, it is the most amazing grace in all of time and eternity that Christ would lay aside His manifest glory to fulfill His own law in the place and on the behalf of His sinful people to uphold His own justice and pour forth His abundant grace! This is most surprising indeed! The Son of God has forever taken our nature to Himself. He who is the eternal God (Ps. 90:2), the unchanging God (Heb. 6:18), has taken our nature to Himself and now sits in glory as both God and man, because as God and man He stooped from heaven’s throne to Bethlehem’s manger to live and work among men to save men, and then, when He had lived a life of complete and perfect fulfillment of all precepts in God’s law, He took our sin and in our nature, bore our sins in His own body on the tree of cursing. He thus fulfilled the precept and justice of God’s law. And by His fulfillment of the priesthood and sacrifices and all ceremonies of God’s law, He made complete satisfaction to God for our sins and established everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24; Rom. 10:4).
When Christ came into the world, when He took the body prepared for Him by His Father, He did God’s work. By His work, done by Himself, He saved His people from their sins (Heb. 1:3). But His overarching aim and His underlying motive was to glorify His Father. This He did by restoring what He did not take away (Ps. 69:4): the glory of God’s holy law seen by the complete and perfect obedience to it by Christ the God-Man, in fulfillment of its every precept and its strict justice. This is “the righteousness of God” (Rom. 3:19-21). It is the fulfillment of God’s own law by Christ alone, as God and Man. This righteousness is imputed to all who are in Christ. This righteousness removes all boasting from all men because it is God’s righteousness, because all men by nature made void God’s law. There is no room for man to boast, because Christ, by Himself, upheld the law and honored God in doing so. He honored God’s law by doing all in love for His Father, in love for His people, to our everlasting salvation. Oh, blessed thought, “It is time for thee LORD to work, for they have made void thy law” (Ps. 119:126; Ps. 65:3)! Oh, blessed Gospel, that though we have fallen short of the glory of God in all things, God in Christ has worked to bring us to Himself, to make us holy and blameless, in love, according to His eternal will (Eph. 1:4). It is the most amazing thing in all the world that Jesus Christ, the God-man, our one Mediator, has completely and perfectly fulfilled God’s law!
And yet, I find another very great need for God to work. I find a great need for my God and Savior to work in me. My heart is hard as stone. My prayers are empty. My love is cold. My understanding is ignorance. My best is mixed with hypocrisy. My worship is sinful. My faith is full of unbelief. I am pained in my very soul. "When I would do good, evil is present with me" (Rom. 7:14-18). Therefore, if ever there was a needy time, it is now! “It is time for thee, Lord, to work!” May God our Savior, by His omnipotent grace, be pleased to save us from all that we are, that we might find our all in Christ, the very righteousness of God. This righteousness is His. And we receive it by God-given faith alone. O Lord, grant to us your Spirit, that we might see your work! “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). Subdue all iniquity (Micah 7:19) that we may desire none but Thee (Ps. 73:25).
His law did fail to keep (Rom. 3:19, 23);
To glorify God, Christ Himself (John 8:29; 17:1-4)
Took up the work to perfectly complete (Heb. 10:14).
And when Christ, ev’ry precept kept (Rom. 10:4)
In consummate perfection (Heb. 6:1; 7:19; 10:14),
He then bore ev’ry sin for God’s elect (John 10:11; Rom. 8:32),
To Divine satisfaction (Rom. 3:25; 4:25).
Christ's work alone, by faith I see (2 Cor. 11:3),
Is all my justification (Rom. 3:24-25).
Dear Lord, increase this faith to me (Luke 17:5),
To boast in Christ’s satisfaction (Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 1:24-31).