The joy of forgiveness
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:1-5
Every true believer will have a great appreciation knowing that sins are forgiven. This is what David was expressing from the text. He was very thankful to God that His sins that even the penalty of sins were paid in full. If we do not share his appreciation for forgiveness, it is most certainly because we do not share his understanding of sin. Wrongdoing presumes an objective standard of right and wrong. The Bible insists that God’s law is that standard. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). David’s use of descriptive words regarding sin alludes to God’s standard of behavior. He calls it ‘disobedience’, which indicates the stepping over a known boundary. He calls it ‘sin’, which refers to missing a mark or a target. He calls it ‘iniquity’, which carries the idea of twisting something. In each case, the thought is the same, namely, failing to live up to a standard set by God to those that committed their lives to God. There is a boundary, there is a target, there is something that is straight and true, but sin steps over the boundary, misses the target, and twists the straight. But the grace of forgiveness is ever sufficient for the sin. David had found it to be so. “The Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” The joy that David was experiencing as he wrote these words was a far cry from that which he had experienced before he received forgiveness. It can only be called a time of agony. “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.” There was constant groaning, the feeling of heaviness, and the sense of being spiritually dry and deprived— all because of guilt. Not until he came to terms with God and realized his sins and need for forgiveness and finally came to the point of confession, that he experienced God’s forgiveness. David, as it were, walked over to God’s side of the fence and stood with God and joined him in condemning his own sin. The relief that came to David through confession is available to all of God’s people. The apostle John declares: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). But the promise of God to forgive his repenting people must be believed. Believe God forgives and once you know you honestly confessed your sin; don’t try to resurrect what God has buried. If God says you are forgiven, you are forgiven. Just like David, rejoice in the knowledge that God has forgiven your sins.
Noel De Guzman