Sin and Forgiveness
Psalm 32:1-7
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.…


1. The word translated "transgression" seems literally to signify separation, or rending apart, or departure; and hence comes to express the notion of apostasy and rebellion. So, then, here is this thought, all sin is a going away. From what? Rather the question should be — from whom? All sin is a departure from God. And that is its deepest and darkest characteristic. And it is the one that needs to be most urged, for it is the one that we are most apt to forget. The great type of all wrongdoers is in that figure of the Prodigal Son, and the essence of his fault was, first, that he selfishly demanded for his own his father's goods; and, second, that he went away into a far country. Your sins have separated between you and God.

2. Then another aspect of the same foul thing rises before the psalmist's mind. This evil which he has done, which I suppose was the sin in the matter of Bath-sheba, was not only rebellion against God, but it was, according to our version, in the second clause, "a sin," by which is meant literally missing an aim.

(1) "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever;" and whosoever in all his successes fails to realize that end is a failure through and through, in whatever smaller matters he may seem to himself and to others to succeed. He only strikes the target in the bull's-eye who lets his arrows be deflected by no gusts of passion, nor aimed wrong by any obliquity of vision, but with firm hand and clear eye seeks and secures the absolute conformity of his will to the Father's will, and makes God his aim and end in all things.

(2) But there is another aspect of this same thought, and that is that every piece of evil misses its own shabby mark. "A rogue is a round-about fool." No man ever gets, in doing wrong, the thing that he did the wrong for, or, if he gets it, he gets something else along with it that takes all the sweet taste out of it. All sin, big or little, is a blunder, and missing of the mark.

3. Yet another aspect of the ugly thing rises before the psalmist's eye. In reference to God evil is separation and rebellion; in reference to myself, it is an error and missing of my true goal; and in reference to the straight standard and law of duty, it is, according to the last of the three words for sin in the text, "iniquity," or, literally, something twisted or distorted. It is thus brought into contrast with the right line of the plain straight path in which we ought to walk. The path to God is a right line, the shortest road from earth to heaven is absolutely straight. The Czar of Russia, when railways were introduced into that country, was asked to determine the line between St. Petersburg and Moscow. He took a ruler, and drew a straight line across the map, and said, "There!" Our autocrat has drawn a line as straight, as the road from earth to heaven; and by the side of it are the crooked wandering ways in which we live.

II. THE BLESSED PICTURE OF THE REMOVAL OF THE SIN. It is "forgiven," "covered," "not imputed." The accumulation of synonyms not only sets forth various aspects of pardon, but triumphantly celebrates the completeness and certainty of the gift. As to the first, it means literally to lift and bear away a load or burden. As to the second, it means plainly enough to cover over, as one might do some foul thing, that it may no longer offend She eye or smell rank to heaven. And so a man's sin is covered over and ceases to be in evidence, as it were, before the Divine Eye that sees all things. He Himself casts a merciful veil over it and hides it from Himself. A similar idea, though with a modification in metaphor, is included in that last word, the sin is not reckoned. God does not write it down in His great book on the debit side of the man's account. And these three things, the lifting up and carrying away of the load, the covering over of the obscene and ugly thing, the non-reckoning in the account of the evil deed; these three things, taken together, do set forth before us the great and blessed truth that a man's transgressions may become, in so far as the Divine heart and the Divine dealings with him are concerned, as if non-existent.


1. The blessedness of deliverance from sullen remorse and the dreadful pangs of an accusing conscience.

2. The blessedness of a close clinging to God in peaceful trust, which will ensure security in the midst of all trials and a hiding-place against every storm. Only through forgiveness do we come into that close communion with God which ensures safety in all disasters.

3. The blessedness of a gentle guidance and of a loving obedience. "Thou shalt guide me with Thine eye." No need for force, no need for bit and bridle, no need for anything but the glance of the Father, which the child delights to obey.

4. The blessedness of exuberant gladness; the joy that comes from the sorrow according to God is a joy that will last. All other delights, in their nature., are perishable. The deeper the penitence the surer the rebound into gladness.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Psalm of David, Maschil.} Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

WEB: Blessed is he whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Persuasions to Seek After the Blessedness of Pardon
Top of Page
Top of Page