Christians are Forgiven–But of What?

I must share with you why I am preaching on this particular Psalm.  I was visiting a church back in Kentucky a couple of years ago, Lagrange Baptist Church in Lagrange Kentucky. It was a good sized church that had some wonderful songs and some very loving people. They did something that I was used to in my church growing up, and that was having a spoken call to worship. The spoken call to worship was usually a scripture reading. And I like that because the Apostle Paul commanded young Timothy to do not neglect the public reading of Scripture . The scripture they read was Psalm 32. 

As they read that, I felt as if I were revisiting an old friend. Because as I read this, I begin to realize that many people in our culture believe that they are entitled 2 things. And this sense of entitlement has crypt into the church. We tend to believe in our society that we deserve certain things, good things, even the things that we want that may not be good for us, without any sense of what goes into getting those things. We tend to believe that we should receive things, regardless of the cost.

Such is the case with how we look at this text before us. David had received something. He knew that what he received, he did not deserve. He recognized, as it says twice in the first two verses, that he was blessed. Why was he blessed? What did he receive that caused him him to deliver such an incredible testimony?

St Augustine once said “The beginning of knowledge is to know oneself to be a sinner.”  He is right. This reflects what the writer of Proverbs once said in that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). So David begins by acknowledging he is a sinner.  But he also declares that he is forgiven . This served as a foundation for the Christian’s assurance, for their testimony, and for their joy. While the world wants to say that everyone is basically good, the Scripture say that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness from the one who they have ultimately sinned against 

So let’s get to work and see what the scripture has to say. First, we must know that of which we have been forgiven.

In vs. 1 and 2, David uses three words to describe three different aspects to the concept of sin.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

The first word he uses the word transgression, which basically means a going away or a departure. In this case, it is a going away, departing, and even rebelling I guess the authority of God. Psalm 51 verse 4 notes the David, when he rebelled against Bathsheba, confessed that ” against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”  we would do well to remember this. Often when we have sinned against someone else, we tend to think it’s simply against them. But its not. We have violated God’s command, rebelled against authority, and send against another that was made in His image. This is no small thing. But David goes on.

He also mentions the word sin, which in the Hebrew is translated to a word that means falling short of a target.  In this case, and aspects in is falling short of the standard that God has set in His Word. Some of you may recognize the verse from Romans 3:23, which says that all have fallen short of the glory of God.

The last word that he uses is the word iniquity.  This word means twisted or corrupt.  This word deals with how sin works in our inner being. It does not simply violate God’s law are mine, but twists and corrupts our souls. We become twisted people, corrupt people. When we here of someone in a life of crime or does not deal with others with integrity, a word that used to be used what’s the word crook. Or if a politician violated his oath of office, he was crooked.

All of these paint a bleak picture. But notice the words that connect with these words: his transgression is forgiven; his sins are covered; the Lord does not count his iniquity against him. This is significant—the transaction is complete. Forgiveness! The covering of sin hearkens back to the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The tablets that contained the Law (and thus showed where that law was broken) were covered by the mercy seat lid, sprinkled clean by the blood of the Lamb. During the Day of Atonement, the priest would sprinkle blood on that seat (Leviticus 16:11-19) for the cleansing of the sins of the repentant people of Israel.

It is strictly by God’s mercy that Christians are forgiven of sin. In Genesis 15:6, Scripture says that Abram “believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” God credited his righteousness to Abram’s account. Why? Because he believed in the promises that God made regarding His gracious salvation—this was not something that Abram, David, nor any of us can earn.

Christ offers forgiveness!  Come to Him today and receive it!


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