Of the Justification of a Poor Sinner.
A psalm of David, Maschil, a contemplation, written probably after David had been restored to the grace of God, a little more than a year after his great sin with Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11, 21. The psalm pictures sin in the fullness of its terror and shows that no man may be just before God in his own person, being dependent entirely upon the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus. V. 1. Blessed is he, literally, ďO the blessings of him,Ē those which he possesses, whose transgression is forgiven, not condoned, but taken away, whose sin is covered, so that the just and holy God no longer sees it, as it were. In what sense this is possible is shown in the next verse. V. 2. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, does not regard him as having committed the transgression, although sin in every form and manifestation cannot be undone, and in whose spirit there is no guile, no deceit and insincerity, which tries to cover up the wickedness, to excuse the transgression. Forgiveness of sins means that sin has lost its character as a debt and guilt still lying upon man by the fact that it was imputed to another, to the Redeemer. This remission of sins is here rightly called a blessing, for it is the greatest gift of God to sinful man. At the same time it should be noted that a full and free confession of sin does not merit forgiveness, but is a condition of remission in the sense that a denial of guilt shuts a person out from justification on the part of God. V. 3. When I kept silence, during that long year when he was conscious of his sin, but refused to acknowledge it, my bones waxed old, wasting away, withering like a flower during the time of drought, through my roaring all the day long, the howling and whining which went on in his inmost heart as the voice of his conscience drove him to despair. V. 4. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me, as long as he refused to turn to the Lord in true repentance; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer, all his vitality having left him. As long as sin is unforgiven, it devours the very marrow of the bones and kills all joy of life, like a canker or blight. Selah. Such is the condition of the unrepentant: the wrath of God rests upon them, giving them a foretaste of the terrible punishment which will strike them in hell. But all this finally had its effect upon David. V. 5. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, in a full and free confession, and mine iniquity have I not hid. He had finally realized the guilt and damnableness of his crime; he had become conscious of the fact that he had transgressed against the great God in heaven. This sorrow of his heart he then made known. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, openly acknowledging his iniquity, this state of mind being brought about by the visit of the prophet Nathan, 2 Sam. 12, 13; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin, the guilt which he had heaped upon himself by his transgression. As soon as the first evidences of divine sorrow are present in the heart, forgiveness of sins is immediately dispensed by the Lord. He that is truly repentant longs for forgiveness and receives the forgiveness, as it has been gained for all men, with a believing heart. The comfort of forgiveness is eagerly accepted by a broken heart. Selah. David now sings a Song of praise in honor of God for the forgiveness he has experienced, in which he now lives. V. 6. For this shall every one that is godly, every true believer, as a saint in the eyes of God, pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; for all repentant, believing sinners constantly entreat the Lord to grant them His grace. Surely in the floods of great waters, when God in His anger dispenses His judgments, they shall not come nigh unto him, the righteous being spared such manifestations of Godís anger, all their tribulations being mere merciful chastisements in the hand of God. With this assurance, David, and every believer with him, prays, v. 7. Thou art my hiding-place, Godís mercy being the protection against the anger which strikes the unrepentant; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble, from all terror and fear of damnation; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance; because his soul is saved by the mercy of God, the believer sings songs of joy and exultation. Selah. The Lord now, on the basis of Davidís experience, gives some earnest advice to all whom His words can reach, especially to all sinners who have accepted His grace and are trying to walk in His ways. V. 8. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go, the eye of the Lord being directed upon every believer; I will guide thee with Mine eye, counseling him with His eye upon him. That is a consequence of the sinnerís justification, the new obedience, his willingness to walk in the ways of the Lord. V. 9. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, irrational brutes, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee, that is, without the aid of such means, without force, it is impossible to control and direct brute animals. The obedience of the believers, repentant sinners as they are, is a ready and willing obedience. V. 10. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, who are continually opposing the will of the Lord; but he that trusteth in the Lord, relying upon Him and following His guidance readily, mercy shall compass him about, the loving kindness of Jehovah surrounding him on all sides and showing itself in many deeds of goodness, as wonderful pledges of His mercy. V. 11. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, ye righteous, the grace of God which they have experienced being the motive for continual joy; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart, thanking the Lord for all the blessings of His favor and compassion, as shown in the forgiveness of sins. Thus the entire life of the believers is spent in thanking the Lord for His grace and mercy, in humble preparation for the eternal rejoicing in heaven.