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God Forgives the Penitent

(Psalm 32)

Lesson 3 -- second quarter 2010
March 21, 2010

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2010

Introductory questions to chew

Am I more disposed to repent or to excuse myself?

Does my definition of repentance match God's?

Which (if any) sin am I still trying to hide from God?

What do I know about hiding in God?

Must I have a bridle or can God guide me with His eye?

That mercy compassing me about -- do others get some from me?

What's my song today?


That word signaled the musicians to do one of two things: play more loudly or play on alone while the singers stop.

I can feature the singers stopping when they got to the end of this verse:

"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah" (Psalm 32:5).

The song wasn't over but this was such a tremendous truth that the singing itself stopped so people could give focused thought on what they had just heard.

I won't try to hide my sin and wrongdoing. I will say to God, "I did it. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. And help me not to do it again."

Then God forgives! Wow!

Selah for sure -- be sure you think about that, Mark.

Now you may continue singing.

Why does God forgive us?

God made us as the crowning glory of His Creation. He designed us for fellowship with Him. He formed us for the praise of His glory. He created us to exercise dominion over the beautiful planet He made. He brought us into being so that we might help, bless, and encourage one another.

Consider the state of the human race today. We could hardly say that we are corporately functioning according to the Creator's designs and purposes. As a race we have become utterly unprofitable, contaminated through and through by sin and death. Why should God forgive anyone?

Consider your own spiritual state. If it at all resembles mine, we are both a long way from Adam's pristine condition back in the Garden of Eden. While we may be functioning better than other individuals we know of, we still fall short of what we were intended to be. Why should God forgive either one of us?

Because we need it.

For myself, I tend to be more conditioned to think in terms of what people deserve. But I praise the Lord that He hasn't given me what I deserve! Instead He has given me what I need -- forgiveness, redemption, restoration, fellowship, and hope. He could have insisted that somehow I earn what I need, but He knew I could never achieve success in such a venture. So He forgave me because I needed it and couldn't possibly expect to earn it on my own. But as wonderful as this reality is, in my mind it doesn't compare with the fact that He forgives us . . .

Because He wants to.

Wow! Imagine that! Forgiveness is not a burdensome experience for God. I don't know what all God loves to do, but I do know that He loves to forgive. And His infinite heart has an inexhaustible supply of this marvelous attribute. (A good thing, too, because we need huge and repeated dosages of it!) To think that the forgiveness I have I enjoy because of His choice!

Micah exclaimed, "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Who indeed! Then we have David and Daniel contributing their tributes, saying, "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" and "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him" (Psalm 86:5 and Daniel 9:9).

Why should I forgive?

It seems incongruous to ask such a question after writing and reading that first section. Nonetheless, it is a very practical question because many of us struggle with forgiving those who wrong us.

So why should I forgive? Well, the section above gives me two possible answers: I should forgive because the offender needs it and because I want to. The problem is, when I am in the throes of hurt and anger because of the offense, I don't much (want to) care about the needs of the offender. Thus, it impossible for me to want to forgive.

That's when I need to look again at my own condition before God. I need to humbly accept the privilege and responsibility of Ephesians 4:32 -- "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" The privilege is this: I get to relate to another the way God relates to me!

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: Commitment to a New Community.

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