Sermon Follow Up - Week 37, 2021
Psalm 32:1–11 (ESV)
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Endless joy awaits those who confess their sins.
1. God Willingness to Forgive the Confessing Sinner (v 1-5)
David begins this psalm in the first two verse by declaring what an amazing blessing – or gift of grace - it is for a person to be forgiven by a holy and just God. He says there is total and complete forgiveness available for those who honestly confess their sins to God. While that may be true, David was at times tempted to hide his sin (v3). The temptation to keep silent and hide our sins is not unique to David, it is a human condition that we have inherited from our father, Adam.
Sin in its essence is irrational behavior and we often deceive ourselves into thinking that we will be better off by hiding our sin. There is also a fear of coming into the light because there are consequences for our sin that we do not want to deal with. It can be scary to think about the potential impact on your relationships, the shame, the loss of reputation. But that is the thing, Satan wants us to focus on these lesser consequences and keep us from the joy of returning to the Lord who is ready and willing to forgive us. But, even when we are stubborn, God in his kindness, does not leave his children stuck in sin. He is a he is a deliverer, he is one that comes for his own and he rescues them! Sometimes he comes to us through another person to warn us, sometimes through his Word he exposes our sin, but even when we hide from others and neglect his Word, his Spirt works in us to bring conviction, and beckons us to confess our sin and return to him. David describes it this way,
God was at work, day and night, calling David to return. He felt weak, physically and spiritually exhausted because God’s hand of discipline was upon him calling him to something better. He wanted David to experience forgiveness, he wanted him to no longer carry the weight of guilt and shame, and he wanted him to experience the blessing of being forgiven. But, since David refused to confess his sin on his own, God sent a prophet to confront him. All in God’s kindness and mercy to draw his wayward children back to himself. Even after a period of hiding in sin and living in the darkness, notice what happens after David confesses his sin (v5) –God immediately forgives his sin! Because of God’s kindness, even when we’ve been stubborn, as long as we confess our sin, we are forgiven! Isn’t it amazing?
2. God’s Blessings of Forgiveness Ought to Compel us to Confess Our Sins (v 6-11)
David calls on the godly to confess their sin when God may be found. He calls sinful people, specifically those who have sinned and need to confess their sin as “godly.” This is the paradox of the Christian life that Luther describes Christians as “Simultaneously Righteous and Sinful.” On the one hand we are made to be godly and righteous through the righteousness of Christ, but at the same time we still sin as we wait for our final redemption.
David then instructs us to confess our sins immediately when God convicts us before his hand of discipline comes down swiftly upon us. Those who hide their sin are in jeopardy of being under God’s judgment which like a rush of great waters that will overwhelm us. But, if we confess our sin, God’s we are protected from God’s judgment.
David continues by describing the many other blessings that come with confessing our sin (v.7). When we confess our sin, God becomes our hiding place, he preserves us from trouble becoming our protection from the evil one. Notice in this verse how David’s location has moved from hiding in sin to hiding in God. When you are hiding in sin, you are exposed and vulnerable to a hardened heart, the deceitfulness of the enemy, and the eventual judgment of God. But when God becomes our hiding place, our refuge, we readily confess our sins because we know they are forgiven, covered, and not remembered anymore!
God promises to instruct his children, lead us and guide us and counsel us with his eye upon us all the days of our life (v.8). David encourages us to have a willing spirit that confess sins instead of having God resort to harsher means to expose our sin. David concludes with a final warning and encouragement in verse 10 and 11. The ‘righteous’ and ‘upright at heart’ in this verse are not referring to sinless people, but those that are walking regularly in confession and repentance. Isn’t that crazy? Sinners be called ‘righteous’ and ‘upright’ all because of his grace! Not only that, but we are promised the gift of the steadfast love of the Lord always surrounding us. Never leaving us, never forsaking us. David is overcome with these spiritual blessings that belong to the children of God and calls us to be glad! Rejoice! What else can we do but shout for joy! Our sins have been forgiven! – My Chains are Gone! I’ve been set free!
We often take it for granted that God forgives sins. But it is certainly not something he is obligated to do. Because we have sinned against a holy God, we are owed his judgment. But, because of his great mercy, and his everlasting love with which he loved his people, at the right time, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to reconcile us back to God. He did, by becoming a man, living a righteous life on our behalf, never in need of forgiveness, because he never sinned. Yet, on the cross he bore wrath of God taking upon himself the penalty for our sin. Not only that, but he also rose from the grave on the third day assuring our salvation. Even now he intercedes on our behalf before the throne of God. Ensuring that his mercy and grace which he purchased for us on the cross are poured out upon us to cover our sins and help us in time of need.
This is our perfect, sympathetic high priest that we come to when we sin. He has already done everything necessary to pay for our sin. Our continual confession and repentance is a fruit of God's transforming work in our lives and ensures that we live and experience joyful fellowship with him. This is the heritage of the people of God that this David only tasted in his day but we get to experience the greater fulfillment through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
1. Those that are hiding in sin today
David’s encouragement to you is sobering yet full of hope. There is something better available than the burden of unconfessed sin. There is joy unspeakable, there is freedom from guilt and shame, there is the burden of your sins being lifted, and there is the endless joy of renewed fellowship with God. This is what the wisdom of proverbs promises for the concealer of sin vs. the confessor of sin.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 ESV)
- What might be keeping you from confessing your sin and coming into the light?
- Consider a season in your life when a brother or sister helped you walk out of darkness into light.
2. Those that need to practice confession of sin
Confession of sin is not something we do only when we commit “big sins” whatever we think those are. We often reserve it for those big sins and think that the other sins are just generally covered. The reality is that we regularly fall short of God’s commands and are regularly in need of confession and repentance.
Therefore, confession of sin ought to be a planned and regular part of our individual and corporate prayers so that we can enjoy sweet fellowship with God and with one another. How often should we confess our sin? When Jesus taught us to pray, he said “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Confession ought to be a regular part of your prayer, it should be a daily practice.
If you struggle in this area like I do, let me encourage you to confess your sins daily and specifically. There is no need to manufacture sins to repent of, but God’s Spirit will convict you as you read his word, pray, listen to his word preached together, live in regular community with one another – or just get married. But, those who regularly confess their sin to God can walk before God with a clear conscience and get to experience deeper grace and deeper joy and deeper fellowship with God. Don’t miss out on what God has for you.
- Is confession of sin a regular and planned part of your prayer life?
- What are planned and regular ways in which you can grow in confessing your sin?
3. To those all too aware of their sin
I know there are some here that are all too aware of their sin. Constantly sitting under the weight of your failures. While I’m encouraging us to regularly confess our sin, I am not saying is that everyone ought to walk around feeling guilty all the time. The fact that you feel guilty all the time does not mean that you are holier because you take sin seriously. It could mean that you do not embrace the good news that all your sins have been forgiven! Christians, even those of us aware of our sin, ought to be joyful, filled with gratitude and thankfulness because our loving God has done everything necessary to cleanse us from our sin and reconcile us to God.
- How does the gospel free us from the weight and burden of sin?
- Consider confessing your need to experience the freedom and joy that comes with being a child of God.
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