“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psalms 32:1-2)
All of us are familiar with the life of David. The two major events that usually stand out about his life are the victory he had over Goliath as a very young man and the terrible sin of adultery he committed with Bathsheba after he had become king. This sin only worsened as he tried to cover it up by murdering Uriah her husband. These two notable events show in the first an incredible demonstration of faith, and in the second a despicable demonstration of failure. Even though David defeated the giant Goliath, we would more remember him for his failure than his faith if not for this one important factor—God is merciful and He is always willing to forgive our sins.
This psalm is a psalm of forgiveness. It is possible in the worst of our failures, in the deepest poverty of our sins, to find God’s forgiveness. The key is repentance. The joy of forgiveness David found was not until he uttered the words, “God, I have sinned.” It was then and only then that David was restored to happiness and fellowship with the Lord.
The beginning of this psalm is an expression of the forgiveness found: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” “Impute” is not a word we often use but it simply means “to charge to the account of.” “Blessed is the man whose sins are not charged to him.” This statement begs for further explanation. How and why does God not charge sin to a person who is as obviously guilty as David was? If God is a God of justice and true righteousness, how can He overlook sin? This is a very good question and one which has a rock solid answer rooted in the divine satisfaction of justice. God never lets sin go unpunished. Every evil deed must receive a just recompense of reward.
If this is true, how was David granted forgiveness? The only answer is that somehow sin was punished by being meted out upon some other who bore the guilt of David’s sin. The New Testament has the answer for this: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). This is in response to the Old Testament teaching of Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The death of Christ on the cross provided the means for double imputation without which none of us could ever be forgiven. Second Corinthians expresses it by saying Christ was made sin for us (our sins imputed to Him) and He is made righteousness for us (His righteousness imputed to us). This is the way God’s justice was satisfied for David’s sin and is the basis for his forgiveness. Our sins were punished in Christ and the merits of His righteous life are given to us. This all takes place by faith which was displayed by David when he recognized his sin and repented. He expected that God would do what He always promised—when there is sincere repentance, God always forgives. Later in the Psalms, David wrote: “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:9-10).
Today we rejoice as David did because the same God that forgave him will also forgive us. You may have failed God deeply and you wonder if you could ever be forgiven. The answer is “yes.” Repent of your sins and place all your confidence in Christ. Trust Him as the redeemer of your soul and His death as the satisfaction for your sins. When you have done this, you will know the joy of David when he said, “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven.”
Pastor V. Mark Smith