Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
How often do you confess your sins? Every day? Once a week? Once a month? Never? Regular confession of sin is a good Christian discipline. It keeps us humble and reminds us that we are sinners who have been saved by grace.
The book of Psalms began with the pronouncement of blessing on the righteous person who does not participate in the sins of the ungodly (1:1). Sadly, God's people sometimes fail, and now, David pronounces another blessing: blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
David does not provide us with any details of the sin that prompted this heartfelt psalm of repentance. For a while, though, he tried to hide the sin from God (Psalm 32:3). Unconfessed sin can impact our mental, emotional, and physical well-being (vv. 3-4). Only confession, and then knowing the joy of full forgiveness, can bring healing and restoration (v. 5).
While we, like David, rejoice in God's forgiveness, we must never forget the price God paid. Our sins aren't counted against us (v. 2) because they were counted against Jesus in our place. That is why Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 in his letter to the Romans to prove that salvation is by faith in Christ alone, and not works (Romans 4:4-8).
In the rest of the psalm David tells us, when we sin, to follow his example and pray to God, ″while you may be found″ (Psalm 32:6). Only a stubborn mule would ignore God's Word, which teaches us the way of obedience and the remedy for sin. God's forgiven people don't experience His wrath; instead, they are surrounded by ″the Lord's unfailing love″ (v. 10).
Godly believers still sin, but confess their sin. Faithful Christians find wisdom for living in God's Word. Whenever we open the Bible, God says to us: ″I will counsel you with my loving eye on you″ (v. 8). The righteous sing songs of joy, and their greatest song is in praise of sins forgiven (v. 11).
Psalm 32 was one of church father St. Augustine's favourite psalms. It's been said that he couldn't read it without tears in his eyes, and before he died he had the words of the psalm written on the wall by his bed. It would be a wonderful psalm to keep close to us as well.
How have you seen or experienced the damage that unconfessed sin can do to people?
What does David mean when he tells us to pray to God, ″while you may be found″ (Psalm 32:6)? Is there a warning here for us, as well as a promise?