The Joy of Forgiveness

“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright
in heart! – Psalm 32:10‭-‬11

These two verses, penned by King David, conclude a wonderful psalm that teaches us about the joy of the grace of God’s forgiveness. In fact, these verses make a beautiful bookend to the psalm as David begins the psalm speaking of the blessedness of those whom God forgives. He writes in vv. 1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Indeed, forgiven sinners, those whose sins are covered and paid for by the blood of Christ, those who sins were imputed to Christ and his righteousness imputed to them, are truly and eternally blessed. Praise the Lord!

Further, those who have been blessed by God in salvation in Christ have had their eyes and understanding opened by the Spirit to grasp their own depravity, as well as the depth and great work of divine mercy. This was very true for David. We see the fruit of it clearly in his words as he describes the consequences of him sitting in his sins, instead of seeking the Lord, confessing his sin, and repenting of them promptly (vv. 3-4). Can you relate to David in this? And yet, in time God was gracious to him, as He drew David to repentance. Beautifully, David confessed his sin and was fully forgiven by his Lord (v. 5). These words among others make this psalm such a wonderful comfort to see the work of mercy, confession, and forgiveness and consider that in our own lives. These words teach us what we must not do (sit in unrepented sin), and what we must do (promptly go to Jesus for mercy, forgiveness, and restoration).

In contrast to the present sorrows that lead to the joy of forgiveness in Christ, David speaks in our focus text of the wicked and their sorrows. Notice those sorrows are in the future tense. All sin has sorrow. If it isn’t repented of, in the Judgment it will become much eternal sorrow. David speaks to this elsewhere in Psalm 16:4, “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips.”

The Apostle Paul describes the consequences of sin and the judgment of God in Romans 2:6-9 as he says, “who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;” This is all the more reason that the Gospel must proceed freely from our lips, so that many may turn by the grace and will of God from the wrath and many sorrows to come!”

Yet, similar to David’s words about God surrounding him with “songs of deliverance” in verse Psalm 32:7, see how contrary to the sorrows of the wicked, God’s mercy, His covenant loyalty and love, will surround those who trust in Him. Meditate on this today, Beloved. Divine mercy encompasses God’s people so that we are kept by Him and will never leave or be taken away from Him. Praise the Lord!

Because this is true, we are commanded to rejoice and be glad in our God. We are called to shout in joyful praise and thanksgiving! We really can’t but do this when we know the all surrounding mercy and sure forgiveness of the living God, in Christ. May our joy be so full that we not only continually praise God, but are also eager to share the gospel of forgiveness with our family and others so that they too can, by God’s grace, hear the Word, live accordingly, and have this joy in their lives.