Psalm 32: The Blessing of Forgiveness


“How blessed is he . . .” and “How blessed is the man . . .” (v. 1,2)

David mentions twice the Lord’s blessing. We observe that both of these blessings relate to sin and its removal; transgression and its forgiveness. Here is the great theme of the entire Bible and the blaring trumpet of the gospel from the pen of David. The great theme of the Bible is that there is a way for a sinful man to be reconciled to a holy God without the necessity of the man himself being punished for his sin. The Bible declares that there is a way for man the sinner to be blessed by the Holy One. There is a way for transgression to be forgiven and for sin to be covered (v. 1). Blessed! Can it be? There is a way for man the sinner to be blessed. There is a means whereby the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, will not impute your iniquity to your account (v. 2), but instead will somehow remove it from you. The LORD has a means of conveying righteousness to the unrighteous. How is this possible? And if He does not impute my iniquity to my account, then to whose account does the LORD impute that iniquity? For all sin must be punished. There is no sin that will not be fully punished and will not receive a full recompense. God’s holiness requires the punishment of all sin and every sin. But if I am forgiven and my sin is not imputed to my account, where does my sin go and how is my sin punished when I don’t receive the punishment? Who bears my sin if I don’t and who receives the just recompense that my sin deserves?

As we ask these questions, it becomes obvious that the answer is concealed in the Old Testament but is revealed in the New when the Lord Jesus Christ appears on the scene. In His sinless life and His atoning death and His glorious resurrection, Jesus Christ reveals the completion and the fulfillment of all that was veiled in the Old Testament. Forgiveness was a reality in the Old Testament as sinner after sinner is spoken of as righteous, but how the holiness of God can allow forgiveness for the guilty is not made clear. But that the guilty can go free must be possible, for David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the murder of Uriah, among his other sins, yet David goes free and is forgiven (2 Samuel 12:13-14)! In Jesus, the forgiveness that was scandalous and “illegal” in the Old Testament is made glorious and just because Jesus becomes the willing, substitutionary sacrifice for all sinners who will confess their sins and throw themselves on the mercy of God.

When anyone “keeps silent about their sin,” their body wastes away. This is an automatic consequence because sin has a destroying effect on all of life’s activities. Sin will crush you emotionally, as you feel the weight of your guilt and as you experience the shame of your disobedience. Ignoring your conscience and willfully rebelling against what you know to be right is exhausting business and it will take a toll on you. Because sin opposes the commands and the will of the Creator, sin will also wear you down physically. Sins such as drinking, drugs, excessive physical pleasure or indulging in anything that is excessive will put stress on your physical body and you will slowly break down under that load. It is a fact that sinners die younger, and this applies not just to criminals or to those who live risky lifestyles. When you keep silent about your sin; when you ignore and indulge your sin, your body will waste away and your vitality will be drained away. Youth can mask this slow decay for a while, but soon the tatters become evident and the threads begin to unravel.

Okay, so how do you break out of that downward spiral of decay? How do you stop wasting away? If God’s hand is heavy on me, how do I take it off? How do I lighten my burden? How do I stop sin from wasting me away? And is this miracle related to having my transgression forgiven and my iniquity covered (v. 1)? I feel the fever heat of summer and I want the cool waters of forgiveness and rest. Where is that to be found?

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said I will confess my transgression to the LORD and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Ah, this is how I can remove my guilt! This is how I can be forgiven! I acknowledge my sin to the LORD. I confess my disobedience and my rebellion and I cry out to the LORD for His forgiveness and His mercy and grace and kindness. I ask Him to be merciful to me, the sinner (Luke 18:9-14).

In that moment “. . . and You forgave the guilt of my sin (32:4).”

For those who will acknowledge their sin and who will cry out to the Lord for mercy and who will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness. For them, even a flood of great waters will not reach them. In that moment, the LORD will be your hiding place and He will preserve you from trouble and will deliver you from the judgment.

SDG       rmb       6/21/2018

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