Psalm 32:1-2 “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
The term “blessed” simply refers to the happy state of the person who enjoys something good. That is what we are seeking, and we think we are going to find, each time we turn to sin. We expect our little indulgence to make us happy in some way or another. We think that sin is going to be a blessing. It’s been that way ever since the very first one.
But the very words that David uses to describe sin provide vivid pictures that show us why sin can never be a blessing. Sin is transgression. The word David originally used describes a rebellion. A rebellion is never a really happy state to be in, is it? It flows from great anger and resentment. It’s based on the belief that we have been deprived or denied. There is tension with the one who is in authority over us. There is no peace. That’s not a happy way to live. Is the rebellious teen a happy person? Isn’t he sullen and angry? Are rebel soldiers enjoying a happy existence? They fear for their lives, don’t they?
Sin itself is a word that means we miss the mark. We fall short of the standard. We are failures at loving God and loving others. I have known people who have chosen the path of failure before. But I have never really known them to be happy to be failures.
The second time sin is mentioned in these verses, the Hebrew word behind it specifically refers to something that has been twisted. So often sin takes God’s good gifts and twists them, misusing them so that they don’t work right anymore, or don’t serve the purpose for which God gave them. If you want an illustration, think of “Sid” from the movie Toy Story taking his toys apart, and putting the wrong parts on the wrong toys to make some sort of twisted “monster” toys. All he succeeds in doing is turning perfectly good toys into worthless junk. That is what sexual perversion does to God’s gift of sex, or drunkenness does to God’s gift of wine, or selfish ambition does to God’s gift of work. It twists God’s good gifts into worthless junk. There is a twisted pleasure some people may take in doing such things, but it is not happiness. There is no blessing there.
Rebellion, failure, perversion, and deceit bring us no real happiness now. They put us under God’s judgment. That is why real happiness is found where these things are not, in the absolution that delivers us from God’s judgment. Again David’s pictures to describe this forgiveness are vivid.
First God lifts the rebellion up and off our shoulders. We are no longer responsible for it. When he sets it down, he sets it squarely on the shoulders of his Son, who dies as a rebel instead of us. It is a happy thing not to face execution for our spiritual treason.
At the same time, our sinful failures have been covered and hidden from sight. God is not intent on keeping a neat file on our failings so that he can refer to them in the future. The blood of Jesus his Son has been spilled all over the file. It is impossible to read anymore. Every sin has been covered completely, every trace of our sinful past hidden. When we know that the only record of sin has been rendered unreadable, we don’t have to fear judgment and we can live a happy life.
Finally, the Lord does not count our twisting of his good gifts against us. We don’t get the credit for our dirty work. That has been given to Jesus, too, and he has suffered the full consequences in our place. This is one time we are happy not to get the credit for our work.
Because the forgiveness of our sins delivers us from God’s judgment like this, we are blessed. Whether or not we are wealthy, healthy, or having fun, we are happy to have a Savior who makes such an escape from what we deserve a reality. That’s not just a possibility. That’s a promise.