Summary: Forgiveness brings great blessings because one is freed from guilt, granted eternal life, and restored to fellowship with God.
The Blessing of Forgiveness Psalm 32:1, 2
INTRO.: Most of us are familiar with the sin of David. The story of his adultery with Bathsheba is in the 11th chapter of II Samuel. In the 12th chapter, he is confronted by the prophet Nathan and God’s sentence is passed upon him. David paid a terrible price for his sin, but in the end found forgiveness.
We assume Psalm 32 was written after these events because it reflects the anguish of spirit David must have felt because of his sin and the relief he felt at finding forgiveness. David knew first hand the severe consequences of sin, the grief it causes, and the joy of being forgiven. So, he writes the words of our text.
As Christians, we know the same joy because God has forgiven us all our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus. Sometimes we forget the price God paid to atone for our sins and we lose our sense of joy in forgiveness. We need to be reminded.
The person whose sin is forgiven is blessed because:
I. Forgiveness means no more guilt:
A. There is a sense of guilt attached to every sin:
1. We know God has a law and holds us accountable.
2. The word "sin" means "failure" or "missing the mark." we recognize it as a bad thing.
3. If we knew of no law, there would be no guilt, but everyone knows there is law. So we feel guilt
4. Caution: just because we feel no guilt doesn’t always mean there is none. But sin usually generates guilty feelings we hate.
B. Guilt is a terrible burden:
1. Ps. 32:3, 4: David’s burden of guilt.
2. Only the most calloused sinners are not bothered by guilt feelings.
3. Sometimes we even feel inappropriate guilt and wonder, "Did I do something wrong?" when someone else behaves strangely.
C. Christ lifts the burden of guilt:
1. Israel’s High Priest symbolically sent the sins of the nation away on a "scapegoat" on the Day of Atonement. Lev. 16:20-22.
2. When Jesus came, John said, ""Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Jn. 1:29
3. Later, another John said, "he appeared so that he might take away our sins" I Jn. 3:5
4. Jesus lifts the burden of guilt from us when He forgives our sins.
5. I have heard new Christians say, "It’s like having a great load taken off my shoulders."
II. Forgiveness brings eternal life:
A. Sin brings death.
1. Adam and Eve were warned of this and learned the truth of it the hard way. Gen. 3:3
2. Old Testament sacrifices were designed to keep this thought before the people.
3. The lesson was impressed on David when his son, born of adultery died.
4. But there is a second death even more tragic - the death of the Spirit.
B. Jesus died to free us from that second death:
1. We are healed by His wounds. I Pet. 2:24, 25
2. He had no guilt. The death He suffered was ours. Heb. 2:9
3. By Christ’s death our sins are covered so God no longer sees them.
C. There is great joy in deliverance from death to life:
1. In Luke 15:22-24, Jesus illustrates this in a parable.
2. Verse 24 shows us the joy of a person returning to God is the joy of a resurrection.
3. When a sinner comes to Christ, it is time to celebrate. Someone has been raised to eternal life.
III. Forgiveness restores fellowship with God:
A. Sin destroys fellowship with God:
1. Adam and Eve were sent out of Eden after sinning.
2. Isa. 59:1, 2 explains Israel’s plight in Isaiah’s day.
3. James 4:4: "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." No neutrality.
4. Sin tends to crowd God out of our lives, but worse, He will have nothing to do with sin.
B. When God does not count ones sins against him, that is called reconciliation. II Cor. 5:18, 19
1. God loves us. Only our sin can separate us.
2. Reconciliation is when God is so close to us He lives within us. That’s close fellowship!
3. Reconciliation causes us to want to share the good news with others. "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors." II Cor. 5:20
C. Fellowship with God brings great joy:
1. We know we have a Friend Who will never leave or betray us.
2. We sing, "What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms."
3. We know we have an eternal home that can’t be taken away and we will never be separated from those we love.
CONC.: Forgiveness brings great joy because it frees from guilt, gives eternal life, and brings us into joyous fellowship with God, our Creator, for all eternity. What a blessing. Truly it can be said, "Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him"