April 3, 2013
Psalm 32:1, 2 (NKJV) – “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity….”
When David wrote Psalm 32, He was looking back on that terrible time in his life after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband Uriah murdered to cover up the sin. The sordid story is recorded in II Samuel, chapters 11 & 12. These sins cost the king of Israel a year of being separated from fellowship with the Lord, his reputation, the life of his newborn son and later two grown sons, his family torn apart, and his kingdom in turmoil. But though David was a great sinner, he was also a great repenter. And he pursued God! This is why, in Acts 13:22 God says, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart which shall fulfil all my will.”
Two Psalms concerning David’s repentance are Psalms 51 and 32, the former just after the Prophet Nathan confronted him in II Samuel 11, and the latter written some time later as he looked back on the whole sorry mess. But considering the gravity of David’s sins, I find it so encouraging to hear him exclaim, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” If he can experience that degree of forgiveness, then so can I!
One of the biggest hurdles Christians face is accepting God’s forgiveness. It’s like they say, “Oh, I know God can forgive sins, but you don’t know what I’ve done! How can I ever be forgiven for that really bad stuff in my life?” And so they carry their sins around on their backs, weighed down and not able to live the life to which Jesus Christ has called them.
In the next couple of blogs, let’s explore the forgiveness and freedom which the Lord has provided for us. The knowledge and acceptance of being forgiven has over the years helped my Christian walk immensely.
Let’s start with what is quoted above, Psalm 32:1 & 2 (NKJV) – “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity….” We will take the key words and see what they mean. Let’s look first at the words David uses to describe the sins (with which he personally was so familiar):
• Transgressions – This is from a Hebrew root word meaning to break away from (just or right) authority. So the word under consideration means a revolt (national, moral or religious): also translated rebellion, sin, transgression, trespass. If God is right and just – and He is – then it is a serious matter to revolt against His authority.
• Sin – This is from a Hebrew prime root meaning to miss, hence to sin. The masculine derivation means a crime; while the feminine form (the word David used) means an offense. So this word has to do with sinning against God by missing the mark He has set as His standard, which means a crime has been committed against Him, offending Him!
• Iniquity – This is from a Hebrew prime root meaning to crook, or to make crooked, do perversely or wickedly. The word David uses means perversity or (moral) evil. So such a one who commits iniquity is considered before God as being perverse, wicked and evil! Not a pretty thought!
Next, consider the words used to describe how God dealt with David’s sins:
• Forgiven – C. H. Spurgeon in The Treasury of David describes forgiven this way: “The word rendered forgiven is in the original taken off or taken away, as a burden is lifted or a barrier removed. What a lift is here! It cost our Savior a sweat of blood to bear our load, yea, it cost Him His life to bear it quite away.”
• Covered – This word in the Hebrew means to plump, to fill up hollows by covering them over with something else, making what is so covered a hidden secret.
• Does not impute – Again, Spurgeon: “Non-imputation is of the very essence of pardon: the believer sins, but his sin is not reckoned, not accounted to him…. He is blessed indeed who has a substitute to stand for him to whose account all his sins may be set down.”
Lastly, look at the word David used at the beginning of the Psalm. It is the result of understanding properly the first six words we considered:
• Blessed (used in both verses 1 & 2) – In the Hebrew it means happiness. As a matter of fact, it is always in the plural, so it is happinesses. So another way of putting it is that if your transgressions are forgiven and your sins are covered, if your iniquities are not imputed to your account, then you have the happies!!! I don’t know about you, but I would like to live my life having the happies!
The first three words are as if from hell, and stand against us. The next three are from heaven, and negate the first triad. The result is blessed happinesses, flowing out of our pardoned life.
How is this possible? Paul explains it in the book of Romans. He quotes Psalm 32:1 & 2 in Romans 4:7 & 8:
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
But in the chapter before, Romans 3:32 & 24, the apostle wrote…
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely
by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus….
Yes, we are sinners, guilty before God. But when we believe in the redemption that is in Jesus Christ – that what He did on the cross was to pay for my sins – we are freely justified, or declared just and right before God. By His grace, Jesus took away our sins, and we are set free. And if I am truly free before God, I can have a life filled with happies! Thank you, God!