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Rejoicing in Confession and Forgiveness (Psalm 32)
A guest post by Chase Green.
The uninspired (but still valuable) scribal notes ascribed to Psalm 32 classify this Psalm as a Psalm of David, and “a contemplation.” Have you ever contemplated the value of getting sin “off your chest,” and the Biblical precedent for doing so?
Take some time to read Psalm 32 in its entirety, but I will focus on verses 1-5 and the end of the Psalm, verse 11.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
In light of the Old Testament in which this was written, faithful individuals could receive forgiveness from their sins (or have them “covered”) through the sacrificial system, but only in prospect of the coming fully atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
For an in-depth study of this, do a comparison and contrast of the books of Leviticus and Hebrews, taking special note of Hebrews’ teaching that the Old Testament animal sacrifices could not take away sin. Again, only the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, could do that (John 1:29).
“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
Let’s be honest: admitting to or owning up to our sins is not easy. The old saying “confession is good for the soul” is true. If we think we can hide our sins from God, we are deceiving ourselves. We can be sure that our sins will find us out (Num. 32:23).
As we will see in the subsequent verses and some parallel passages in the New Testament, we must confess our sins to God.
“When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.”
This is what unconfessed sin can do – not only to the soul, but even to the body as well. It eats at us. It drains us. It wearies our bones. Confession is good for the soul because God requires it for the cleansing of the soul.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ” (1 John 1:8-9).
We need to confess sins not only to God, but to one another as well.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
“For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah” (Pause and reflect).
Have you ever been so enveloped in sin that your spiritual vitality was completely dried up?
God wants to bless us so that our “cup runs over,” (Psalm 23:5), but that doesn’t happen when our lives are given over to willful sin.
Verses 5 and 11
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” … “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
The human soul longs for such rejoicing, and such rejoicing can only be found in the Lord. All spiritual blessings, including forgiveness and relief from our sins, are located “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
I would encourage you to read Galatians 3:26-27 to find out more about faith and obeying the Gospel so that one may be in Christ. Read about the Ethiopian eunuch who went on his way rejoicing in Acts 8:39. Read about the Philippian jailor who did the same in Acts 16:33-34.
God has given a way for all of us to experience the sweet, sweet relief that the blood of Jesus Christ provides for our lives so marred by sin.
The One Who was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15) took our place on a cross so that our sins might not be imputed to us (Isa. 53:6), but we’ve got to take advantage of what He did for us.
It is certainly this writer’s prayer that we all will do just that while we have ample time to do so.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
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