The God who forgives everyone

Published 5:49 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

In Psalm 32, we find the confessions of a truly happy man. David had discovered a God who forgives— a God Whose grace was sufficient— no matter how much, or how bad his sin— God’s forgiving grace could still cover it.

Here was the man after God’s own heart— the man who loved what God loved, and hated what God hated— yet… he was still a man— a man with a sinful nature— a man subject to temptation— just like us. And just like us, he yielded to temptation. David committed adultery, deceived others, murdered, and covered it up. All of those sins, by the way, come under the category of the “Big Ten.” adultery, murder, lying, coveting.

David’s sin was eventually exposed—exposed (2 Samuel 12). His sin exposed, David puts himself at God’s mercy, and finds indeed that God is a merciful, forgiving God.

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Let’s review the steps— all that happened— from David’s sin— to his rejoicing. When we slip up and sin, this little process might prove very helpful.

Notice first, David’s miserable situation. A situation brought about by his sin. David uses three different Hebrew words to describe his sin. “Disobedience” speaks of a rebellion— a revolt. Intentionally going in the opposite direction of God. “Sin” refers to an offense— breaking a law for any reason. And the word “guilt” speaks of a perversity. Taking God’s law and twisting it around.

David wants to show His readers the severity of his sin. He “had it bad” when it came to sin. He had offended God in every way. In a sense, he is saying to his readers, “You think you are a sinner? You can’t even come close to me!” The Apostle Paul said something similar to Timothy. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all” (1 Timothy 1:15, NLT).

The more intimate we are with the Savior, the more sensitive we are to sin— and the more we feel like— as far as being a sinner is concerned— we are the worst.

David describes his miserable condition. ”My body wasted away… (Vs. 3). Guilt can and often does take a toll on our physical body. ”I groaned all day long” (Vs. 3). His sin resulted in pain. “Your hand of discipline was heavy on me…,” (Vs. 4). David interpreted his guilt as God’s discipline. Sometimes it is. “My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat…” (Vs. 4). When guilt takes a toll on our bodies, not only do they “waste away,” and not only to they ache, but they lose strength.

But look as David makes his way from “miserable” to “rejoicing?” It took a mandatory effort on his part. “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…,” (Vs. 5). God, at great expense, has made glorious, gracious provisions for our forgiveness. He has done everything necessary for a totally righteous God of judgment to forgive sin. But… it requires a mandatory effort on our part, and that mandatory effort is confession. Confession is coming face to face with our sin— owning up to it, taking responsibility for it— not passing the buck. It’s stepping up to the plate, and saying to God, “God, this is what I have done. I agree with you. I acknowledge my sin. I am a sinner, and I have sinned.” David speaks of “complete honesty,” (Vs. 2). That’s what confession requires.

Then notice that David’s confession results in a wonderful consequence. “I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And… you forgave me! All my guilt is gone,” (Vs. 5). Oh, what a place to be! To know that God has forgiven us. In Peterson’s “The Message,” he describes it this way. “You get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean,” (Vs. 1). It’s exactly what John tells us in his epistle. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness,” (1 John 1:9, NLT)

Just as David wanted us to know the extent of his sin— he also wants us to know the completeness of God’s forgiveness. Again, three different Hebrew terms. David says that his “disobedience is forgiven.” (Vs. 1) That’s a word that means, “to lift up or carry off.” We confess, and it’s God who takes our sin and “hauls it away.” His sin was “put out of sight!” (Vs. 1) When God forgives, He remembers our sin no more. His “record” has been “cleared of guilt.” (Vs. 2) This has the idea of something official. God not only puts our sin out of sight, but He takes “official” measures to clear the record— to wipe the slate clean.”

That wonderful consequence results in a renewed status before God. Our sin broke our fellowship with God. Our confession and God’s forgiveness puts us back into fellowship with God. “For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” (Vs. 7-8) All that he mentions here are evidences of renewed fellowship with God. He’s that one Person to whom we can go. Our refuge. Now David was confident of His protection. David’s praises are once again acceptable to God in worship. David reconnects to the One who knows all, and who will share His wisdom with him.

After his ugly season of sin— even after avoiding God and being extremely miserable and sick— now, God has restored David to the place where He was. God is still in the business of renewing our status before him— when we confess our sins and He forgives us.

David doesn’t end there. We often do, and that’s a shame. All he has experienced— all he has learned from this experience he shares with others. He gives a necessary testimony. He wants us to know that we have no reason to be slow, or shy in confessing our sin to God.

In verse 6, David says, “Don’t waste any time.” When you are miserable lift a petition of confession to God. “The Message” has, “Every one of us needs to pray; when all hells breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched.”

In verses 9-11, David says that if we are smart— as soon as we sin— we’ll confess. To do otherwise, says David, is to behave like a stupid, stubborn, senseless animal. “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule…” (The Message) Our refusal to confess our sin— our refusal to allow God to deal with our sin— brings “many sorrows.” But when we confess, God forgives, and His forgiveness demonstrates his “unfailing love.” And it makes us want to “rejoice,” and “be glad,” and “shout for joy!”

The medical profession tells us that the best weapon against cancer, other than prevention, is “early detection.” The earlier the cancer is found, usually, the better probability of a cure. Sin is a deadly disease that even affects the body, and for sure our spiritual man— our relationship with God. And the earlier we detect our sin— the earlier we deal with it— the better it is for us.

If we are burdened by a load of guilt, it’s all our fault— because God has arranged— at the cost of His Only Son— our forgiveness, and the restoration of fellowship with Him.

Arnold E. Hendrix, Jr.

First Baptist Church