Behind - The Delight of Being Forgiven

Bible Book: Psalms  32
Subject: Forgiveness; Cleansing; Grace, God's
Series: Behind

"Walking away from failure to the embrace of forgiveness.” I recently posed the question, “What do you desire to leave “behind you” as you enter 2014?”

Critical spirit, unforgiveness, addiction, lack of love, disobedience, lack of commitment, lack of joy, guilt, anxiety, etc.

David writes in such a way as to invite the reader into the experience of forgiveness. It is the forgiveness of sins, which effect all the benefits and blessings that Psalm 32 describes.

This passage is quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 4:7-8. Paul uses the word “those” who are forgiven as contrasted with David’s “he” who is forgiven. The introduction of the plural into the verse makes the universality of the psalm explicit and invites the readers to find themselves in the experience of David.

This text paints a picture of a person that has been overcome and overpowered by sin, yet in faith has been forgiven and now is giving glory to God (Romans 4:20). Where there ought to be retribution and punishment, we find undeserved favor. In this psalm the forgiveness of sins brings healing to both body and mind, deliverance in times of distress, and the guidance and loving care of the Lord.

Where sin has been forgiven by Almighty God, righteousness has been imparted (imputed), put in account, now there is a blessing that (re)creates life.

IMPORTANT TRUTH: Those who hope for righteousness given through their works have misunderstood the law and its works of effecting sin and wrath.

Romans 3:20

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Romans 4:15, “because the law brings about wrath…” A righteousness reckoned apart from “works” is nothing other than forgiveness of sins, a not-taking-themselves into-account. It is underserved favor where there ought to be retribution and punishment.

This passage gives great clarity to what it means to literally experience forgiveness. Forgiveness can set us free from many issues in our life.

EXAMPLE: Facebook post-January 7, 2014: Gail Parnell Nunn – “I could go it with God or with medicine and I was choosing to go it with God.”


Three times the Psalmist uses the significant word “selah”- calls for one to think, ponder, praise. “There! What do you think of that?”

Psalms 32:4 - “For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;/ My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”

This pictures conviction.

Psalms 32:5 - “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”

This pictures confession.

Psalms 32:7 - “You are my hiding place;/ You shall preserve me from trouble;/ You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”

This pictures confidence.

It’s been said that if you wish to know the intricacies of a subject, the best thing to do is to find an expert, someone who has had a wide experience of it. David can help us in this prevalent and personal matter of sin because he, himself, was such a great sinner.

John Phillips said David was one of the greatest saints of Scripture, one of the greatest sages (wisdom) of Scripture, one of the greatest sovereigns of Scripture; he was also one of the greatest sinners of Scripture. He sinned with a high-handed rebellion and with a depth of deceiving and duplicity which would astonish us did we not know the wickedness of our own hearts.

David was a haunted man after his adultery and the murder of Uriah. For one year after his sin he put up a bold front and tried to hide it. He was miserable on the inside and finally God sent Nathan to confront him. He was accused and condemned yet God offered forgiveness when he saw the tears of repentance flow.

David first wrote Psalm 51 in which he promised he would teach transgressors God’s ways. He did so by writing Psalm 32. This is referred to as a Maschil psalm or a teaching psalm from the Hebrew hymnbook.

From his own bitter experience David intends to set forth a sermon in song on the nature of sin, what happens when it is concealed, what happens when it is confessed, cleansed and conquered.

Augustine said, “The beginning of knowledge is to know thyself to be a sinner.”

He kept a copy of Psalm 32 over his bed and it reminded him each day of his need for God.

A. Sins Confrontation 1-2

4 words describe his sin:

1. Transgression

Sin is rebellion, revolt against lawful authority. Speaks of disobeying God, “You shall not commit adultery.” The crossing over the line. An action against God’s known law; stepping over a known boundary.

2. Sin

To miss the mark or fall short. It indicates something missing in one’s life, a coming short of the glory of God. A wandering from the way. An omission, the failure to attain an ideal, not live up to the standards.

3. Iniquity

To be twisted or crooked; perverseness, bent

Psalms 51:5

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,”

And in sin my mother conceived me.”

Human nature is warped instead of being straight, perfect, and true. A moral crookedness often associated with a consciences and intentional intent to do wrong. Speaks of the inner character of the sinner. Inherently wrong whether or not it violates a law (example: disregard for well-being of others). It’s corruption of nature which we call “original sin.”

4. Deceit

Stands for the insincerity and duplicity of human nature. An attitude that pretends that nothing is wrong. It speaks of what David did when he would not face facts honestly; he began to practice deceit and guile. He sought to hide his sins and when that failed, to pretend that nothing was wrong.

We who are blessed by experiencing forgiveness and God’s salvation cannot be guilty by deceit; rather than pretending to be righteous, we must acknowledge our sin and the need to receive God’s cleansing.

An attempt to cover your own sin. Your attempt to justify your sin to yourself and others, but not to God. Therefore, if you are one of His, you are convicted and chastened (Hebrews 12:1-13).

Again, the assurance of forgiveness is promised to the person “in whose spirit is no deceit.”

Special Note On This Truth:

To think that we are free to continue in sin that grace may abound is firmly excluded by the emphasis on sincerity at the close of verse 2.

Romans 5:20b - “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,”

Romans 6:1-2 - “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

Where God catches us, exposes us, we confess and repent, He forgives us, He also frees us from pretense. At least we can be honest.

B. Sin Cleansed

1. Transgression is Forgiven

To lift and carry away; to remove, literally bearing it. When we feel God in His mercy lift the load of our guilt from us, we know that a great weight has been taken.

EXAMPLE:“Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. He goes to the cross where his burden rolls from his back.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

John 8:36 - “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

To be forgiven is to have the burden of your sin removed by removing the sin. It is the act of removal of sin, guilt, and the remembrance of sin. Again, it means to be taken (lifted) up and carried away.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: The Scapegoat Leviticus 16

Leviticus 16:10 - “But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.”

Psalms 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

John 1:29 OUR SCAPEGOAT - “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

1 John 1:9 HE COVERS & CLEANSES - “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

2. Sin is Covered 1

Means hiding from God’s sight. The blemish of his sin has been put out of sight. To cover means to atone for by which the sinner is reconciled and the sin is a matter of the past, so that the Lord does not bring it up anymore as a ground for His displeasure.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: The sin offering. Leviticus 16 Aaron the High Priest took 1 of the 2 goats.

Leviticus 16:15-16

"Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.”

When we cease to hide our sins, God will hide it under His blood.

3. Lord Does Not Impute Iniquity 2

An accounting expression meaning that the debt is not reckoned or impute (not on your account any longer). The bankruptcy of sin has been taken care of, it’s been canceled. Debt has been paid in full by another.

EXAMPLE: Boy, will he ever pay for that! Or, receive God’s forgiveness and the debt is paid in full. This speaks of God’s attitude toward the forgiven; justified-just as though we had never sinned and just as though we had never owed the debt. The sinner can now sing,

It Is Well With My Soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

(Editor's Note: This sermon has only 1 major point - no part of the sermon is missing)