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  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 32 - Blessed Assurance

Find true happiness in Christ's complete salvation.

 

Psalm 32 (NIV)


Of David. A maskil. 


1 Blessed is the one

whose transgressions are forgiven,

whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the one

whose sin the Lord does not count against them

and in whose spirit is no deceit.


When I kept silent,

my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

For day and night

your hand was heavy on me;

my strength was sapped

as in the heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you

and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, “I will confess

my transgressions to the Lord.”

And you forgave

the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you

while you may be found;

surely the rising of the mighty waters

will not reach them.

You are my hiding place;

you will protect me from trouble

and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,

which have no understanding

but must be controlled by bit and bridle

or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,

but the Lord’s unfailing love

surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;

sing, all you who are upright in heart!

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 22 - Our Justification Through Faith in Christ


We believe that

for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery

the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith

that embraces Jesus Christ,

with all his merits,

and makes him its own,

and no longer looks for anything

apart from him.


For it must necessarily follow

that either all that is required for our salvation

is not in Christ or,

if all is in him,

then he who has Christ by faith

has his salvation entirely.


Therefore,

to say that Christ is not enough

but that something else is needed as well

is a most enormous blasphemy against God—

for it then would follow

that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior.

 

Summary


The common and recurring misconception that so many people have about God's Law is that if something makes you happy, it must be sinful. But that's certainly not an idea you'll find in the Bible! Quite the opposite, actually. Over and over, the Psalms point us to a blessed life - quite literally, a happy life. The key to a happy life, David beautifully writes here, is the freedom that comes from forgiveness.


The NIV we read says just that: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven. This is certainly a good translation, but I've come to appreciate aspects of the Lexham English Bible (LEB), especially for Hebrew texts like the Psalms. It renders this opening line this way: Happy is he whose transgression is taken away...


This is what our Confession is getting at when it says that "he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely." When we understand that through Christ our sins are forgiven, we don't just mean that God ignores them, or even worse that somehow our sins are made acceptable. It means that Christ became incarnate, and came to take our sins away, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).


Jesus could do this because, as David writes here, He covered our sin. This doesn't mean He concealed or hid them from the Father's presence, but rather that He fully paid the penalty they had accrued, so that the LORD no longer counts this sin against us (v2). This nuance is captured in the New English Translation (NET): How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned!



Dig Deeper


These first two verses of Psalm 32 make the claim that happiness (blessedness) comes as the result of salvation. So it stands to reason that those of us who have complete salvation in Christ ought to be the happiest people in the world! But if you've been a Christian for longer than a day or two, you know that our lives often don't seem any 'happier' than anyone else's; in fact, the people of the world often seem much happier than we do!


There's lots of reasons for this, but a big one is that so often we keep trying (and mostly failing) to find happiness the same way the rest of the world does. But if the source of our happiness/blessedness is completely different than the world's source (self-fulfillment), than the way to experience this happiness will look quite different as well.


David goes on in Psalm 32 to provide four practical steps to live in the blessedness Christ's salvation has provided:


  • v3-5 - Stop trying to cover up your iniquity and instead confess your transgressions to the LORD;

  • v6-7 - Pray to the LORD and making Him your hiding place;

  • v8-10 - Instruct and teach others in the way they should go; The more you teach others about the LORD's unfailing love, the more you will be blessed by it yourself.

  • v11 - Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who does not count sin against those who are in Christ;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will confess, pray, instruct and rejoice;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Luke 7

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