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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC Weekly, 2006-01-29

Text: Psalm 32

Whenever a New Year begins this is what everyone will wish one another: "Happy New Year" or "Blessed New Year." But what exactly constitutes this happiness or blessedness that we wish one another? Is it merely having a good feeling the whole year round? No. Happiness or blessedness is obviously more than that. It has to do with having the right circumstances which bring satisfaction to a person. 

To many people that would mean being free from life's problems and enjoying life's pleasures. Hence the greeting 'Happy New Year' is commonly understood in terms of the absence of bad things like sickness, sorrow and pain, and the abundance of good things like health, wealth, success and prosperity. 

Dear Reader, is that your concept of real happiness or blessedness? One that is based only on outward circumstances? If it is, then you can never really have a happy or blessed New Year. At times things may go well for you during the year, but at times, things will not go well. Can anyone ever have 365 good trouble-free days a year? At best, this is only wishful thinking, but at worst it is a deceitful delusion! 

But if your concept of real happiness or blessedness is based not on your outward circumstances that keep on changing, but on your inward state or disposition, then it is possible to have this blessedness at any time and in any place, no matter what happens to you. 

As today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, it would be good for us to consider one very wonderful inward source of blessedness that we should always seek for the blessedness that comes from being forgiven. 

King David, who wrote Psalm 32, had experienced this blessedness. He probably wrote this after he had confessed his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. David's confession of this sin is recorded in Psalm 51. Psalm 32 may be regarded as a sequel to Psalm 51 to describe his joy in experiencing God's forgiveness. The first five verses are as follows:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 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."

Here we can see a sharp contrast between the time before David's sin was confessed, and the time after it was confessed. Before David confessed his sin to the Lord, what was his condition? Using figurative speech he tells how he felt so restless, weak and depressed because of the guilt of his sin. There was no peace in his heart, because He had no peace with God. Then, when he finally confessed his transgressions to the Lord, what happened? God forgave him! 

The drought of summer was then dispelled from David's soul as cool refreshing streams of God's love began to flow freely again. The heavy hand of God was lifted up from David, and that same hand now lifted David's spirit up to offer profuse praise and thanks to God! His youthfulness was restored, as the guilt of his sin was removed and his soul was at peace with God once again. All this is why David began the psalm by exclaiming, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven!"

What a great and wonderful change David experienced here. Dear Reader, have you experienced this blessedness in your own life? It comes only from knowing God's wonderful promise in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The key to experiencing this blessedness then, is to keep confessing all your sins to God. Do not keep any unconfessed sins in your life. Keep short accounts with God! Peace with God cannot be restored in any other way than this.

Whenever people commit sin, they try to deal with it in various ways: Some try to ignore it and pretend that it had never happened, hoping that it will just go away, but it doesn't. As sure as the blood of Abel cried out from the ground (Genesis 4:10) the sin will demand attention. Others try to excuse themselves, and say "I just couldn't help it. Anyone would have done the same thing I did." Some people try to reduce the sinfulness of the sin by saying, "Well, what I did is not as bad as what others have done. In fact, maybe some good may come out of it." Others try to shift the blame to someone else, and say, "That person made me do it," or when there is no one else to blame, "The Devil made me do it." 

But all these ways of dealing with sin will never work. There is only one right way to deal with sin that can bring the blessed relief, comfort and peace that your heart and mind needs - Confess your sin to God immediately! This means saying, "I did it and what I did was wrong. I am the one to be blamed for it and no one else. I am so sorry that I have sinned against You and caused you so much pain. Please forgive me." 

Here we need to define what constitutes a true confession of one's sin. Not every confession is true confession, and therefore not every confession will bring about the blessedness of being forgiven. In v.5 David said, "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid." 

The basic element in every confession of sin is agreement. There must be full agreement with God about your sin. As long as the slightest disagreement exists, and you keep trying to justify what you have done, you are not viewing your sin the way that God views it. God views your sin with deep sorrow. It is an abomination to Him. Do you feel the same sorrow for the sins that you confess?

There are times when a person is confronted with his sin, and he feels sorry about it, but his sorrow does not mean that he agrees with God about his sin. He feels sorry only because he was caught, and his sin was unfortunately discovered and he now has to 'face the music' and bear the shame of being punished for it. In his heart he wishes that his sin could have remained hidden and never been discovered. 

This kind of sorrow leads only to resentment and bitterness. It does not lead to the blessedness of being forgiven that David speaks of in Psalm 32. Godly sorrow is not so much mourning about the shame that one has to bear for sin, but mourning about the damage and hurt that one has caused to God and to others. And when there is a true confession of our sins, there will also be a sense of horror at the sins which have been committed. Such a revulsion for sin may be enhanced by considering the terrible things that sin has wrought.

Sin Caused Death

Genesis 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." This was the command that our first parents disobeyed, and it brought themselves as well as the whole human race into a state of spiritual death. It also brought sickness, pain and physical death into our experience and brought all nature under a curse. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death" 

In the case of David's own sin of adultery - it brought about the death of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. It also caused the death of the child that was born out of the adulterous relationship. These deaths may have increased the horror that David felt when he confessed his sin to God. Whenever we think of the awfulness of death, the loss, grief and pain that it causes in taking away people we love, please think also of the awfulness of your sin! 

Sin Poisons our Relationships

1 Corinthians 1:10-11 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you."

Sin is the ultimate cause of all selfish hatred, strife, division and all the wars and fighting that have been going on since the dawn of history. In the case of David, sin altered his relationship with Uriah the Hittite, who was actually his good friend and loyal soldier - he was one of the 37 fearless comrades who had fought together with David (2 Samuel 23:39). And yet, David wished him dead! 

Today, sin continues to damage relationships between family members. Divorce, broken homes, battered wives and battered children - all these are tragic reminders to us of how awful sin is! And when it is our sins that are the cause of such problems, surely we should mourn and weep in true repentance for what we have done. But we also need to mourn with sorrow even if our sins do not cause great damage to others. Because there is someone who is always very hurt whenever we sin, and that someone is God.

Sin Grieves God

Genesis 6:5-6 "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Can you imagine the pain and sorrow that God felt when men sinned? It was so great that God had to wash the whole world with a Great Flood. Perhaps one may liken the waters of the Great Flood to the tears that were shed by God as He mourned deeply over the sins of the world.

In the case of David, because he was a man after God's own heart, he probably sensed the grief that he caused to God most acutely. He knew that by his sin he had hurt the God he loved grievously, and that is why he said in v.4 that day and night he felt God's hand bearing down upon him. 

Dear Reader, do you know that God is grieved every time you commit sin? Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." If you agree with God concerning your sin, then feeling the same way that He does for your sin becomes a very natural thing for you to do. And the place where the grief and pain that sin has caused to God can be seen most clearly is the Cross on which Jesus died.

Sin Made Christ Suffer on the Cross

1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" Thinking of the agony that our Lord Jesus went through on the cross to make an atonement for our sins, must surely make us regret that we have caused Him such pain. 

King David may not have known about the death of Christ as we do today, but he did write Psalm 22 in which he describes in the first person, the suffering and pain of one who has been forsaken by God and whose hands and feet have been pierced (v.16). A thousand years later, Jesus uttered the very same words that David had penned in v.1 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Thus, King David may have had some knowledge of the sufferings that the Messiah would have to suffer one day for his own sins. And as he thought about this, plus the other awful results of his sin - the deaths it caused and the relationships it has damaged - he viewed it with the same utter contempt that God has for it. This then prompted his confession. And as he poured out his heartfelt confession to God, something wonderful happened: He found the blessedness of being forgiven!

Dear Reader, when you confess your sin to God like that, you can rest assured that He will comfort you and restore to you the happiness that you lacked. God says in Jeremiah 31:13 "for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow." Jesus echoed these words in the second Beatitude which is recorded in Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." 

If you want this New Year to be a happy and blessed one, please be sure to confess your sins to God regularly!

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11