“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'” Romans 4:5-8
At first glance, Paul/David is merely reiterating how greatly blessed we are when we are forgiven by our Holy God – that we are forgiven, forgiven, forgiven.
But, as I looked deeper into this passage, I studied the three ways in which we are specifically forgiven. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds/sins are:
- FORGIVEN – aphiemi – let go, left, sent away (as in divorced, 1 Corinthians 7:11-13)
- COVERED – epikalypto – covered, hidden, veiled
- (not) COUNTED – logizomai – reckoned, counted, imputed, numbered among, to account (as in “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”)
These are three specific ways our sins are forgiven us in Christ.
- Christ takes our sin away from us – casting it away, separating it from us – like our record of sin being thrown away into an out-of-sight trash bin. Like Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
- Christ covers over our sin by His blood, hiding our record of sin from the sight of the Father.
- Christ takes our sin off our account, placing it onto His own, imputing onto our account His righteousness, in place of our own sinfulness.
How is it, specifically, according to David in Psalm 32, that we receive this abundant tri-fold forgiveness? Without question this is by faith, by believing God, by following Jesus in the obedience of faith, like Abraham rather than by any good work because as sinful people we are unable to deserve, merit or earn righteousness. This is evident from Romans 3:20.
Yet, true faith will include what David writes in Psalm 32:5:
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
The way I see it is this is not merely a situation of us not being forgiven if we sin, but don’t confess it. Rather, as David also wrote in Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” We must not hold deceit in our spirit, being like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle as David continues in Psalm 32.
By faith we turn to Christ, agreeing with Him of the gravity of our sin, casting these burdens on Him and by faith trusting Him to forgive our sin, covering it by His blood and imputing Christ’s righteousness onto our account. Thank You, Jesus, for forgiving me and justifying me by your grace as a gift. I’m not worthy, but YOU ARE!