How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit! I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. – Psalms 32:1-2,5
1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin
is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
4 . . . My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
Guilt and remorse for what we have done has terrible, haunting consequences. We are plagued with memories, sometimes vivid images, shame, and fear.
In his play, Macbeth, Shakespeare vividly captured the horrible emotions of a guilt-ridden conscience. Lady Macbeth convinced her husband to kill the King of Scotland, but her conscience was racked with guilt. She hallucinated and saw blood on her hands. She repeatedly describes the imaginary stains of her guilty conscience. But her incessant washing and washing is never able to remove her guilt. Eventually she goes insane.
Almost every child of the King has suffered from agonizing guilt. And no matter what we do, nothing seems to remove it. Human effort and repeated attempts to clean ourselves, are inadequate and ineffective to relieve a conscience tormented by guilt.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is this so?” The Father created physical and spiritual laws by which the material and immaterial worlds are governed. They are always at work. When we break the Father’s spiritual laws, we experience real guilt. It is unavoidable. Whatever we sow, we reap!
What is the answer? How can such a terrible, haunting, recurring sense of regret and remorse be adequately dealt with? Is freedom and relief possible? If so, where, how?
REFLECT & PRAY
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Father the guilt and dread of the past torments me. I long for release! Thank you that you sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for my sins and cleanse my conscience from guilt that I may serve You. As I freely acknowledge and confess my wrongdoings and offenses, thank You that you have promised to forgive me and wipe the slate clean once and for all.
“Confession clears our hearts spiritually and makes it possible for us once more to experience deep fellowship with God. Unconfessed sin makes us weak, discouraged, and ultimately miserable” (Stanley).
The Lord Jesus Christ died for all our sins, transgressions, and iniquities. If that were not enough, He also died for our guilt and shame. His shed blood is the Father’s answer for each of His children. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ washes away our sin and shame and cleanses our guilty consciences.
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
10 But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief, if He would render Himself as a guilt offering . . .
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge, the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.
12 He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
The Father longs that each of His children be clean and free. When the Lord Jesus Christ came, He shed His blood, and died as the ultimate sacrifice of the innocent. As a result, anyone who believes in Him will not perish because of their sins. Their sins and guilt are paid for, forgiven, and wiped clean.
But there is more!
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The Father sent the Lord Jesus to cleanse our consciences from dead works that we might serve Him with a clean and pure heart and no regrets. “That is to say, he did not only win forgiveness for past sin, he enabled men and women in the future to live godly lives” (Barclay).
It is as though each of us is like a ship loaded down with a heavy cargo of sin. Further, the ship has was firmly tethered in place by the anchor of our conscience.
The death of Christ has done more than just unload the sin we carried. He has given us the opportunity to be set truly free from the anchor of our conscience. What external rituals could not do, the Lord Jesus Christ did not inside our hearts. Our conscience is now wiped clean of the soil of sin and self. A radical transformation has occurred within. The Father has purged our conscience from its “awareness of failure” (Guthrie).
“What Jesus did puts us right with God, and what he does enables us to stay right with God. The act of the cross brings the love of God to us in a way that takes our terror of him away; the presence of the living Christ brings the power of God to us so that we can win a daily victory over sin” (Barclay).
In Psalm 32, David opens up and lays bare his soul and heart before the Father. He confesses his sin with Bathsheba, and all of the collateral damage it wrought. His decision to confess rather than to try to maintain a cover up, came after his encounter with the prophet Nathan.
Sin blocks fellowship with the Father. Without repentance, unconfessed sin prevents us from experiencing the Father’s goodness and enjoying the sweetness of His presence.
“When you find yourself discouraged because you have repeated a certain sin, turn to the Father in prayer. Ask Him to apply His forgiveness to your life and receive His mercy. He loves you and wants to enjoy your fellowship once again” (Stanley).