Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)
This seems counterintuitive to our proud sinful nature. The upward path to forgiveness and freedom and joyful worship is found by going downward in honest and earnest confession. Charles Simeon, a pastor and professor in Cambridge in the late 1700s and early 1800s, came to understand this and even delight in it.
“There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel while he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humble and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Savior continually.”
In the Gospel of Luke this week, we will see Jesus interact with two people on either end of this spectrum. One is blind to the vileness of his sin and his desperate need for forgiveness and presents a clean public image. The other sees her vileness all too clearly (as apparently everyone else in town does, too), makes no attempt to cover it up, and instead falls at Jesus’ feet with tears of love and worship because, as Jesus points out, “her sins which were many are forgiven (Luke 7:47).”
Erik Thoennes will be preaching this Sunday and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? And let’s pray that, like this precious woman who came to Jesus, we wouldn’t let “the disease keep us from the remedy,” that our guilt would not hold us back from fully embracing and resting in God’s grace. And let’s also pray that we wouldn’t let “the remedy keep us from feeling the disease,” that the once-for-all finished work of redemption would not blunt our sorrow over our sin and cheapen God’s grace, but lead us to be “zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).”
May God humble us in thankfulness this Sunday, helping us all grow more and more downward, because “a broken and contrite heart” He will not despise.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Lord Have Mercy by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa
For what we have done and left undone
We fall on Your countless mercies
For sins that are known and those unknown
We call on Your name so holy
For envy and pride, for closing our eyes
For scorning our very neighbor
In thought, word, and deed, we’ve failed You, our King
How deeply we need a Savior