Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Forgiver of Our Sins

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the LORD does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.
(Psalm 32:1-2)
David, psalm writer and shepherd king, well understood the joy of sins being lifted. You can hear his great relief in Psalm 32. At first, he had kept silent about his sin, afraid to admit it to the Lord, or even to himself. His silence before God was a deceit in his spirit. But God, who knows all hearts, was not in the dark about it. David was only fooling himself, and it did him no good but only increased his distress.
When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your
    hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.
(Psalm 32:3-4)
David was bearing the shame of his sin and it wore him out. But then he finally came to his senses and brought it out before the Lord — and he made a wonderful discovery.
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.
(Psalm 32:5)
God did not hold his transgressions against him, God forgave him, as he was willing to do all along. It was David’s own silence that held him back from experiencing it. But when he confessed his sin to the Lord, he laid hold of God’s ready forgiveness.

It was not only the joy of God’s forgiveness that David was withholding from himself but also the confidence of God’s help. A heart that is hiding its guilt from God is not a heart that is ready to trust him. But in confessing his sin to the Lord, David was then able to trust God to also deliver him from the trouble that surrounded him. And he turned his experience into an exhortation to all the faithful, the subtext of which could be put this way: “Don’t be a fool like I was. Trust the Lord with all your heart, for he is faithful.”
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the LORD’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!
(Psalm 32:6-7,10-11)
It is cause for hoots and shouts and songs of how God has rescued us, for lightheartedness over the burden he has lifted from us, for whirling and twirling with joy that God has forgiven us. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we come to know this great joy. His cross is not only the divine demonstration of God’s love and forgiveness but also the means by which he delivers us from the power of sin, the devil and even death itself.