The Blessing of Forgiveness
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Psalm 32:1-2
Chronologically, the Psalms are located in the center of God’s Word. Think of it this way: the heart of the Bible ministers to the heart of man. If you desire to get closer to God, and know Him better, read through the Psalms regularly.
This Psalm is attributed to David. He writes so beautifully and eloquently about the freedom found in God’s forgiveness. What if I told you that the reason why David sounds so free is because there was a time in his life when he was a prisoner to sin? Yes, David. The man after God’s heart. Most Bible students agree that this Psalm was written after David’s confession (Psalm 51) of his sins of adultery, murder, and cover-up. In Psalm 51, David comes clean with God. He acknowledges his sin, begs God for His mercy, and promises God (vs. 13) that he will “teach transgressors Thy ways.” Psalm 32 is David’s fulfillment of that promise.
There are a couple of questions we should consider at this point:
- Does God really forgive such terrible sins as David’s?
- If God does forgive these sins, does this mean that there are no consequences David must face?
Too many believers misunderstand what God’s forgiveness is all about. We often treat God’s forgiveness as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card; a license to do whatever we want and then simply ask God for forgiveness to be let off the hook. Unbelievers look at how many Christians treat forgiveness and would say, “How convenient to have a religion, a “god,” that will undo whatever bad you’ve done.” Is this what forgiveness is all about? Is this how you and I treat God’s forgiveness?
In this Psalm, David speaks about the blessing of forgiveness. But before we can ever experience the blessing of forgiveness, we must understand the process that took place in David’s life.
1. The Burden of Guilt
We live in a society that works very hard at NOT making people feel the guilt of their actions. Many will psychoanalyze the reasons why people do what they do. Some will justify their actions and shift blame to everyone else but themselves. But as I read Psalm 32, I believe David knew he had sinned against God, and felt tremendous guilt, even to the point that he was physically ill (32:3-4). With his own pen, David used four words to describe what he had done against God (vss. 1, 2, 5):
- Transgression–crossing over the line in rebellion to God
- Sin–to miss the mark of God’s standard
- Iniquity-to twist or make crooked
May God help us view sin as He does. If you ever have a question as to how God feels about sin, take a trip to Golgotha and be reminded.
2. The Brokenness of Confession
When we hear of someone who gets caught in sin apologizing, what often enters your mind? “Is he really sorry for his sin or is he just sorry that he got…?” Is David sorry for his sin or sorry that he got caught? Read Psalm 51:1-19 and come to your own conclusion. Psalm 51 has 19 verses. In 19 verses, David uses personal pronouns (I, me, my, mine) 34 times! David was broken over his sin against God!
3. The Blessings of Forgiveness
The reason why David spoke so eloquently about God’s forgiveness was because he had been forgiven! Though David still had to deal with difficult consequences of his sin (he reaped for the rest of his days), his closeness to God was restored. There are three words in particular that identify these blessings:
- Forgive-This means “to remove the burden.” A great picture of this is found in Leviticus 16. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would select two goats. One would be the sacrificial lamb, and the other would be the scapegoat lamb (both represent the Lord Jesus). The blood of the sacrificial lamb was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The high priest would place his hands on the scapegoat, symbolizing that the sins of the people were placed on that lamb. That lamb bore away the sins outside the camp, to an uninhabited land. The Lord Jesus did that for me! Thank God that my sins are in the depths of the sea of God’s forgetfulness!
- Covered-Like Adam and Eve, David tried covering his own sin. It didn’t work for Adam and Eve; it didn’t work for David; it doesn’t work in my life either. However, when God does the covering, they are hidden, concealed, and overwhelmed! “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
- Imputeth-This is a book-keeping term. It means “to put on the account.” When we come to God in faith, crying out for His grace and mercy for our sin, a wonderful exchange takes place. God has taken my sin and has imputed it on the account of His Son, Jesus. God then takes Jesus’ righteousness and imputes it on my account (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is amazing! Jesus paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.
If you have never accepted God’s gift of eternal life through His Son, please do so today! If you are a believer who has broken fellowship with your Savior because of sin, acknowledge your sin, confess it to God, make it right to those affected, and experience the relief of being forgiven.