The Bible is filled with words of comfort for God’s people. Psalm 32:1-2 is one of them: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
Here David describes a “blessed man.” The word “blessed” in Hebrew means “happy.” Moreover, the word is in the plural: “Blessedness.” It conveys mountains of delight or an exclamation of joy. It is a celebration of an observation: “blessed is the man” and “blessed is the one.”
Why is this man happy? Because of how God deals with his sin. David uses three verbs – forgiven, covered, and count – to describe God’s forgiveness.
In Hebrew, the word “forgiven” means “to lift,” “to carry” or “to bear.” It is the exact word used on the day of atonement when the scapegoat would bear the sins of God’s people and carry them away from the camp into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
“Covered” means to “hide.” It conveys the idea of God putting something out of his sight. In relation to sin, “covered” expresses a similar meaning to when God “blots out sin” or “casts sin into the depths of the sea.”
“Count” means “to think,” “to account,” and “to record.” It is a financial term used for debt. However, David says that God does not count iniquity, meaning He will no longer keep a record of his sin.
The first two verbs (forgiven, covered) describe what God does, and the last verb (count) describes what God does not do.
Why is this a comfort? Because these three verbs describe the extent and perfection of God’s forgiveness. It is a divine picture of the breadth, width, depth, height, and beauty of God’s forgiveness.
We learn that God does not forgive 50% of sin. Nor does God forgive 99% of sin. We do not even learn that God forgives 100% of past and present sins but continues to keep account of future sin.
Instead, we learn that when God forgives, he lifts sin (past, present, and future) and removes it as far as the east is from the west, seeing nor remembering it anymore, never to be seen or brought back to use against you.
It is unfathomable forgiveness. In fact, it is hard to believe because we neither give nor have ever received such forgiveness. Therefore, we doubt in our minds such forgiveness exists. But we are mistaken.
God forgives perfectly because He is perfect. He can forgive no other way. There is no sin too heavy for him to lift; no sin too wide for him to cover; and no sin too offensive that He cannot forgive. The blessed man not only receives God’s forgiveness but knows it. It is why he is happy.
Dear Christian, you are the blessed man of Psalm 32. Paul tells us in Romans 4:5-8: “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’” (emphasis added).
What Paul is saying is this: “Christian, you have received God’s forgiveness because of your faith in Christ. Your sins are carried away. Your sin is thrown into the depth of the sea. God will never keep a record of your sin. You are forgiven. You are the blessed man of Psalm 32.”
Julio Rodriguez is a pastoral intern for Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Houston (PCA) and is completing his M. Div at Reformed Theological Seminary, Houston.
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