Summary: To explain what happens when one is forgiven their sin
PSALMS 103: 1-5
THREE TENSES OF FORGIVENESS
In Psalm 103 David lists a number of benefits God make available to any and all that will avail themselves of the opportunity they offer. Listen to his words as you read them and let them sink down into your heart and find a permanent dwelling place there. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowned thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies, who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles.” (Verses 1-5)
I think David was an old man, maybe in the sunset of life, sitting one day reminiscing about where he had been and where he was now, realizing it was God who brought him to his present position. As he remembered all the wonderful things God had done for him, he exclaimed the words of this beautiful Psalm. I think as he began to ponder them in his mind I think he began to shout out loud, “Bless the Lord O my soul… and forget not all His benefits.” (V 1-2)
Please note that the very first benefit David mentions is forgiveness of sin, “Who forgiveth all thy iniquities.” I want to center our thoughts on forgiveness which is the act of forgiving or pardoning. These two verbs mean to refrain from imposing punishment on an offender or demanding satisfaction for an offense. The word pardon is stronger than forgiveness as it implies release from the liability for or penalty entailed by an offense without fault and without demanding punishment or redress. This is the way David perceived the forgiving grace and mercy of God.
I want us to look at the three tenses of forgiveness. They are A FORGOTTEN PAST, A CHANGED PRESENT AND AN ASSURED FUTURE. Let’s look at them one at a time.
FIRST A FORGOTTEN PAST
This is suggested in verses 8-14 where David talks of the mercy and loving-kindness of God. Verse 12 is the strongest of these verses that suggests when God forgives us our sin He forgets them. Notice how the Psalmist describes it, “As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” This suggest that God puts our confessed sins in a place He cannot remember them anymore. Someone wrote a song that beautifully displays this thought of God not remembering our sins any more.
I remember the days when I was bent low with the burdens of sin and strife
Then Jesus came in and rescued me and gave me a brand new life.
Now as I thank Him day after day for washing my sins away,
It seems I can almost hear the voice of the blessed Savior say.
What sins are you talking about
I don't remember them anymore.
From the Book of Life they've all been torn out
I don't remember them anymore.
When the flesh becomes weak, it's then I can speak to the Savior who's with me each day.
"Oh, Father, forgive me, hear my plea," and He washes my sins away.