“But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.””
Romans 4:5-8 NLT
It is an amazing and counter cultural fact that we receive the currency of Heaven without having to work for it. In God’s economy, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) but those who put their faith in God are rewarded with the most valuable currency ever invented – righteousness in God’s sight. So it is not surprising that David expressed his “joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin”.
It is easy to put our faith and forgiveness on the back burner, because we think to ourselves that Paul’s verses on faith and righteousness, death or forgiveness, will only happen after we pass from this life. But nothing could be further from the truth. Paul quoted the first two verses from the Davidic Psalm 32. But the next two verses are important. We read in Psalm 32:3-4, “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.” This is reality and increasingly our medical professionals find links between our personal sinful state and our physical and mental wellbeing. God never designed us to carry a heavy load of sin. The sad thing is that so many people try and deal with their sins by visiting a psychiatrist or therapist, in the forlorn hope that in that way they will gain peace of mind. But nothing could be further from the truth. A sticking plaster approach to fixing our sins doesn’t work. There is only one remedy, and that is to have “faith in God who forgives sinners”.
A clear conscience is the remedy for the problem that David wrote about. After suffering much physically for his state of unconfessed sin, David wrote in the next verse in Psalm 32, “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“. And I can just imagine David jumping around in gleeful abandon, as he wrote the last verse in this Psalm, “So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!”
In Psalm 32:6, David wrote down a warning about the urgency of dealing with, and that means the confession of, our sins, before God. We read, “Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment“. I read this morning about the sad and sudden death of Jeff Beck from bacterial meningitis. He was one of the guitar greats of all time for his particular genre of music, rock and blues. I don’t know where he stood in relation to God, but the suddenness of his death highlights the urgency of getting right with Him, while there is still time. Remember, somebody adopting the default position of failing to get right before God will mean ending up in a lost eternity. We don’t know how long we have left in this life, whether young or old. But we do know the One who knows.
Dear Father God. We confess our sins before You today, and are grateful for Your forgiveness. We worship You today. Amen.