“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
This Psalm of David begins with a title; maskil. This is probably a literary or musical term and indicates that the Psalm is instructive and/or didactic. It seems that this Psalm, in history terms, may well follow the great fifty-first Psalm of repentance. In verse thirteen of that Psalm David promises to teach transgressors the ways of God; this is what he does in Psalm 32. Some believe that this Psalm will have been sung on the Jewish day of expiation as a general confession. Corporate confessions are a true gift.
David describes the agony of living under sin’s power in the state of unconfessed transgressions. Being at odds with God is agony, being a slave to sin is true bondage. In these verses I believe we see the resistance that we often harbour in our hearts to making a confession, to submitting to God (3-4). Oh, but the blessed release when repentance follows, sins are confessed and forgiveness received (1-2, 5). This makes a relationship with God possible and blessings follow. We are able to seek God, receive His protection, instruction, counsel and guidance (6-8). In that state though, we are to use the wisdom He gives for our lives and not expect His guidance on every single little matter (9). There are echoes of the parable of the Talents here, where God wants to see what we do with His gifts to us; faithful innovation to give glory to God (Matt. 25: 14-30).
In this fabulous freedom of forgiveness trust grows and praise follows with true joy (10-11).
Pride filled hearts are dangerous. They harbour the seat of sin and rebellion against God. They are the source of sin and the wall of stubbornness that prevents repentance and forgiveness for others. They leave us under God’s wrath where we are described as His enemies; a position we do not wish to hold (Roms. 5: 9-10). Our lives will become embittered and imprisoned in this state. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans 4: 6-8, where he describes how rightness with God (righteousness) can be secured through faith in Jesus Christ, not earned by works and our own efforts. Forgiveness is a blessed state of freedom that liberates our hearts and souls. Taking a knee and repenting, placing our faith in Christ is all that it takes. What follows is truly fabulous; a joy and purpose filled life with God in a state of forgiveness that brings very real freedom.
The Question of Application
Dear friends in Christ, God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy; He welcomes sinners. So let us confess our sins, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.
Know that Almighty God has mercy upon us, has pardoned and delivered us from all our sins, confirmed and strengthened us in all goodness, and will keep us in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Watch over us, loving God, and when we fall into sin teach us to acknowledge our guilt. May we forgive and be forgiven, for the sake of the one who was wounded for our transgressions, Jesus Christ your Son our Saviour. Amen
Forgive our sins as we forgive by Becky Messer
Forgiven by David Crowder
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.