David: Forgiveness in the Present Tense
Forgiveness. Nothing matters more to any who have sinned—and God says all have sinned.
One moment before your last breath, one thing will matter more than anything else—whether you are dying forgiven or unforgiven.
That state (of being forgiven or unforgiven) transforms those days that lead up to that one moment before you die—to either the serenity knowing that you are forgiven or the dread of knowing that you aren’t.
Which will be yours? The choices you make have everlasting consequences.
The peace you can have one moment before you die is available on a daily basis if you understand what God has done in Christ and if you choose to respond by faith to Him.
This morning we celebrate the forgiveness that is only in Christ. Through the life of a forgiven man named David we see the truth God has recorded for us in His Word.
We are progressing through the life of David. David is the most written about man in the Bible. David gives us more material on the reality of personal forgiveness, personal assurance of cleansing and personal peace in spite of sin and failure—than anyone else in God's Word.
Open again to the song David wrote for all the world to see his confident assurance that he was forgiven! David had a present, personal assurance of his complete forgiveness—that his guilt was past and his peace was secure. This morning we will focus on the first five verses. Note the present tense of God’s forgiveness.
Psalm 32:1-5 A Psalm of David. A Contemplation. (This marks the first of a dozen of these maskils that are so titled because they give a ‘teaching’ or ‘lesson’ that need to be ‘pondered’ or ‘contemplated’). This is also the second of the seven penitential Psalms or Psalms that speak of sorrow over sin. The 4th or middle of the seven is of course the greatest and most well known—the 51st Psalm.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
David has just repented of the horrible pit of sin he had been covering up for weeks and months. That is where we find him in Psalm 32. He writes the song about what it means to return to God and receive and experience and to possess His forgiveness.
David’s awareness of the pain or his personal sin has been a struggle mankind as always faced. One of the earliest written portions of the Bible is the book of Job that revolves around the grief that comes from being so aware of sin. From the secular world has a very moving insight from the writings of a man contemporary with the Apostle Paul. Listen to this historical connection as we turn to 1st Corinthians 18.11.
- When Paul stood in Acts 18.11-17, before the seat of the Roman proconsul of Achaia, his name was Gallio.
- From history we know that this Gallio’s older brother was a brilliant philosopher and writer named Seneca (3 BC to 65AD).
- History also records that Seneca, who was the Emperor Nero’s tutor, had written one famous essay about his despair with life with this concluding thought: What humankind needs is a hand to lift them up.
Just after Paul was in
As we turn to the letter Paul wrote to the church at
Yet as Ephesians 1:7 declares—that forgiveness is offered and it is available. Twenty plus years ago…
Charles Colson told of watching Albert Speer being interviewed on “Good Morning,
Speer was the only one of the twenty-four war criminals tried at Nuremburg to admit his guilt, and he had served twenty years in a
The interviewer referred to a passage in one of Speer’s earlier writings: “You have said the guilt can never be forgiven or shouldn’t be. Do you still feel that way?”
Colson said he will never forget the look of pathos on Speer’s face as he responded, “I served a sentence of twenty years, and I could say, ‘I’m a free man, my conscience has been cleared by serving the whole time as punishment.’ But I can’t get rid of it. This new book is part of my atoning, of clearing my conscience.” The interviewer pressed the point: “You really don’t think you’ll be able to clear it totally?” Speer shook his head. “I don’t think it will be possible.”
Colson said: For thirty-five years Speer had accepted complete responsibility for his crime. His writings were filled with contrition and warnings to others to avoid his moral sin. He desperately sought expiation. All to no avail. I wanted to write Speer, to tell him about Jesus and his death on the cross, about God’s forgiveness. But there wasn’t time. The ABC interview was his last public statement; he died shortly after.
The tragedy for both Seneca and Speer is that there was, and is, a hand to lift them up — complete forgiveness of sins — though they didn’t know it.
From the Garden of Eden onward God has offered to all who come to Him—but how are we to get that forgiveness? Paul triumphantly declares that truth for us in Ephesians 1:7.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Christ's blood shed through His death on the cross purchased our redemption. Redemption was the payment of a price or ransom. For guilty sinners, the only price was Christ’s own blood, which He poured out on the Cross. All humanity is enslaved to sin and powerless to pay for their freedom, but Christ paid for all who would believe an infinite price as the Scriptures repeatedly attest:
· [Jesus came] “to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
· [Jesus] entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12b)
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18, 19)
Our redemption cost God the very life of Christ, which was an astounding mystery which puzzled the Old Testament prophets and which angels “long to look into” (cf. 1 Peter 1:10–12).
Christ's death to pay the price of our sin is so wonderful that we, the redeemed of all the ages will be joined by the angels so that together we may sing a new song, as Revelation records:
· And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:9–12)
So to see how God accomplished complete forgiveness of our sins through Christ's sacrifice—turn with me to our final destination—heaven! The Christian life is lived in the present tense. We have today in Christ the benefits of His work on the cross.
We are forgiven, we are justified (Romans 3.24), we are redeemed, we are cleansed, we are kept
This sermon will be concluded tomorrow July 1st.
 Maskil means ‘giving of instruction’. The twelve that bear this title are: Psalms 32; 42; 45; 52-55; 74; 78; 88-89; 142.
 The Penetential Psalms are: Psalms 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; and 130.
Hughes, R. Kent, Preaching the Word: Ephesians—The Mystery of the Body of Christ, (
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