Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven Psalm 32

A few weeks ago at our weekly prayer meeting Draw Near to God we looked at Paul’s wonderful hymn to love in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. I asked which verse struck you most, and different people chose different verses. I then shared with you that I had asked the same question that morning in our group of new Christians. Their answer was very clear. Verse 5. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” When we have been Christians for a long time we can come to take that amazing truth for granted. God’s love keeps no record of wrong. When we become a Christian all our sins are forgiven. There’s an old song we used to sing.

I get so excited, Lord Every time I realise
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven
Jesus, Lord, You’ve done it all You’ve paid the price
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven

Living in Your presence, Lord Is life itself
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven
With the past behind, grace for today And a hope to come
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven

Hallelujah, Lord My heart just fills with praise
My feet start dancing, my hands rise up
And my lips they bless Your name
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven

There is the glorious truth. If we are Christians, we have been forgiven! That’s the good news first announced a thousand years before Jesus in Psalm 32.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
Without God’s love every human being wrestles with the same problem as the Psalm writer did.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

Psalm 31 7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

Psalm 38 1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.

…. 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.
The psalm writer explains it so well. When we have done wrong, we are morally guilty for our sins before God, as well as potentially legally guilty for crimes against human law. We are created with consciences so that we will feel guilty, and be brought to repentance for our actions. Guilt feelings are both rational and emotional. The answer to guilt is forgiveness. We must seek God’s forgiveness, we must seek to be reconciled to any persons we have wronged, and we must also come to forgive ourselves. People who are feeling guilty because they have sinned should be encouraged to confession and repentance.
Sin makes a barrier between us and the God who created us and wants to redeem us.

Isaiah 59 59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.

Sin separates us from God and we have been given consciences so that we feel guilty, and that drives us to seek forgiveness. GUILT is like the engine warning light on the dashboard of the car. Sensible people stop and fix the problem. Some people just put a sticker over the light and drive on.

2 Corinthians 7 8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.
God’s way out of the overwhelming feelings of guilt is confession
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
The background to this psalm may well be the events of David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and all that followed afterwards. Nathan the prophet confronted great King David with the parable of the rich man who had very many sheep and cattle and the poor man who had just one ewe lamb which shared his food, drank from his cup and slept in his arms – it was like a daughter to him. But when a traveler came the rich man took the poor man’s lamb to serve to his guest.
2 Samuel 12 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah murdered. When he was confronted with his sin:
2 Samuel 12 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
We cannot be sure of the occasion of Psalm 32. But we do know that when Nathan came to David after he sinned with Bathsheba Psalm 51 records his prayer of confession.
Psalm 51 gives us a model for confession.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Confessing our sins is important.
1 John 1 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Sometimes not just confessing our sins to God but also confessing to another Christian can bring us an assurance of forgiveness.
James 5 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Of course our confession must be sincere and wholehearted. The story is told of the man who wrote a letter to HMRC which said this. “I used to cheat on my taxes. But since I have become a Christian my conscience has been troubling me. Please accept this cheque for £400 of unpaid tax. If my conscience continues to bother me I will send the rest.

If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Let’s just make one thing clear. We are not forgiven because we are sorry. We are not forgiven because we confess our sins. We are forgiven because Christ died!

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
We don’t earn or deserve forgiveness because we feel sorry for our sins or because we confess our sins. We are forgiven because Jesus died in our place so that we can receive God’s love instead of God’s judgment.
Psalm 103 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
Our God is the loving Father who forgives those who truly repent.
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
Psalm 103 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit

Proverbs 28 13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Paul quotes Psalm 32 in
Romans 4 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

We all need that wonderful forgiveness! Not everybody admits it. Shortly before she died, one of the best-known secular humanists and novelists, Marghanita Laski, said on television, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”

God forgives all our sins. I read the true story of a priest in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his parish was a woman who deeply loved God and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest, however, was skeptical. To test her said, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed.
A few days later the priest asked., “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
“Yes, he did,” she replied.
“And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He said, ‘I don’t remember’“
What God forgives, He forgets.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found!
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

This entry was posted in Psalms.

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