“A man does his dyin’ the way a man does his livin’ “.Matt Dillion – “Gunsmoke”
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2
One of the central themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is God’s forgiveness. God extends His offer of unmerited mercy towards both man and in some respects nations if they will turn from their sin to seek His forgiveness and restoration.
Broken relationships are part of life where man is involved. Our pride, selfishness and general fallen nature seems to provide the fuel to create the contention that is required to foster wounded relationships. In Psalm 32, it deals directly with the God to man relationship where sin or iniquity has broken the fellowship between a man (King David) and the Lord.
In any relationship forgiveness is a two way transaction. The one who needs forgiven and the one who needs to forgive; both equally complicated when humans are involved. But with the God of creation the path to forgiveness is much clearer and does not vacillate. We always know where God stands on the issue. Unlike man, He is always willing to forgive when we seek Him. God’s forgiveness knows no boundaries and no barriers except the self-imposed unwillingness by someone to seek it from the One who freely offers it.
Forgiveness received from God is described as a blessing. The connotation is where peace, contentment and wholeness is restored to a person because not only are the sins forgiven but God no longer counts them against the person. In other words, He blots them out like they never existed.
The key word in these verses is “covered”. Sins or transgressions can only be forgiven because they have been atoned for or covered. In other words, a payment has been paid to cover the cost that sin has accumulated. As David penned this psalm, he believed / trusted God would provide the covering for his sin by faith which allowed him to seek forgiveness. David was forward looking to God’s promise of a Messiah who would bear or atone for his sins and those of all mankind. This Messiah was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Unlike King David, we have the privilege of looking back in time to see how God worked to provide the atonement for sin through His Son (Romans 3:23-26). Man cannot atone for his own sins no matter the size or volume of effort. Sins are covered only by Jesus’ perfect blood sacrifice and death on the cross. Therefore, forgiveness of those sins can only be achieved through faith in the One God presented as a sacrifice of atonement.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:5-7
In Psalm 32 verses 5-7, the path to forgiveness is laid out: acknowledgement of our sin and confession of those sins to the Lord God. But like King David, first there must be faith and trust in God’s atonement to cover those sins. And with that atonement only coming through Jesus Christ, it is faith in Him that is the only path of forgiveness of sin and ultimately salvation.
The path of forgiveness with God does not change between Old Testament and New Testament. The same verses of Psalm 32:1-2 are quoted in the New Testament Book of Romans in Chapter 4 where the Apostle Paul expounds on how a right standing with God is achieved by faith. Once faith and trust in Jesus Christ is realized, the real blessing in life and in eternity begins.
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Romans 4:4-8