Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 587 · 8 months ago

A Lesson on Repentance

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Psalm 32

Your son, that we might have rested in his name, that we might come as sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore, and find everything that we need in him. We asked that you would impress these truths on our heart now, as we come to the reading and preaching of your word, and that as and that your blessing might fill it, that we might be called blessed, that we might enjoy these benefits that come to us through Christ. We pray this in his name. Men well, please remain standing if you're able, and let's turn our attention to psalm thirty two. I'm feel free to listen as I read or turn in your own scriptures to Psalm thirty two. Psalm thirty two, blessed is the one who's 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 if the iniquity of my sin. Therefore, let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found. Surely, in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me. You preserved me from trouble. You surround me with shouts of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be Not like a horse or a mule without understanding, which must be curbed with a bit or a broughten bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts the Lord. Be Glad in the Lord and rejoice so righteous and shout for Joy, all you upright in heart. Amen. You may be seated. Psalm thirty two is kind of like sitting down with a friend who is going to talk from their personal experience with the Lord and then give you some advice. And this friend is very reliable, because here in Psalm thirty two. These are the inspired words of God, totally trustworthy, totally authoritative in every way. We don't need to come to Psalm thirty two and say, well, you know, that's your truth. I don't know about for me. No, this is God's truth and it comes to us in this way so that we might hear it and receive it. The lessons of it, or the desire of our friend...

...to teach us, is expressed pretty clearly in verses eight and nine. Right, imagine, you know, you're sitting at the table and your dining room or your kitchen and your friend leans in and says, I'm going to instruct you now, I'm going to teach you how you should go. I'm going to counsel you with my eyes on you. I know you, I know who you are, I know what you're like, and you need to listen to this. Okay, you're ready. Don't be like a horse or a mule without understanding. The has to be curbed with a bit and bridal. Don't be stubborn about this. Okay, this is really important and you need to hear it. On top of that, if you don't listen, many are the sorrows of the wicked the consequences of failing to live, failure to listen to this advice, are bad verse ten many are the sorrows of the wicked, but the steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Listen to me, brother, listen to me, sister. If you trust in the Lord, you are surrounded, you are protected, and I've experienced this myself, the psalmist says, and I'll say to you is your pastor. I've experienced this myself, and there are brothers and sisters all around you have experienced this themselves, generations after generations of the steadfast love of the Lord on display all throughout the Lord, person after person after person. Who can testify and sing with the Psalmist of these words? What is the words that he would have US know? What are the things that bring us safety? What are the things that, if we reject, plunge us into all kinds of trouble? Well's message all surrounds the blessing of forgiveness and of repentance. Let's look at that. Let's hear what our our friend, are our holy helper, has to say to us. The first thing he tells us is what forgiveness is like, what it likes, what it's like to be a person who's forgiven, and he uses one word and then some other descriptions to describe that. He says in verse one, blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven. In verse two, blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity. Being blessed in the scriptures is a description of of joy, of happiness, of pleasure, of peace and safety and satisfaction. blessedness at its highest form is the thing that we all want. It's the thing that we all strive after. Is the reason why the news is so anxious, because we don't have that is the reason why philosophers go into their writing sheds and caves and deserts and spend time trying to figure out how we can get that thing that we want. WHAT IS UTOPIA? How can we enter, as a not just individually, but as a society, as a people, into a place of blessedness? Our shorter catechism, one of the confessions of our Church, describes that as as glorifying God and enjoying him forever. That's what blessedness is. It's all of us together glorifying him, being in a perfect relationship with him and enjoying him. Right. It's a it's a thing that fills us with with love and pleasure, of delight and happiness. It's a state of blessing. RIGHT TO DESCRIBE IT? And there are lots...

...of ways we could describe it. From one place, we might look as Psalm one, if you want to turn there with me, or at least listen. Psalm one describes another person who is blessed. That Psalm begins that way. Blessed is the man, and then it describes him in verse three. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. Now we know something about this, living in the desert. Right, if you if you go up high, let's say you are go on a trip and you take off from the airport and you look down right on our city, you can see really fast where the water is right without ever seeing any water, because you just look at the trees and wherever you see big patches of green, that's where. That's where the water is right, that happy tree right just being what it's supposed to be. It's not trying to be anything else, it's not striving to turn itself into anything else. It just is and it's resting there and it's happy there and it's just drinks up the water. It drinks it up and it and it is satisfied, it finds pleasure, it's it's happy, it's blessed, it's productive. Other pictures of trees in the state and the scriptures describe birds resting in their branches, people enjoying their shade and their fruit. There's this way in which these these happy trees in this picture of blessedness not only are satisfied in themselves, they have all that they need, but then they also are productive and provide for others as well. This s state of blessedness is is wonderful. The opposite helps us to understand what blessedness is. Psalm one has some of these descriptions, and Soda Psalm Thirty two. In Psalm one we have an inverse for the contrast. The wicked are not so. They're like chaff that the wind drives away. Chaff is waste material, it's it's very light. Right. For a while, while I was roasting my own coffee and then there'd be chaff left over right. And to be careful, because if you roasted this in the House, I don get everywhere because it just blows away so easily. But if you take it outside and you blow on it and it's gone, you don't really care where it goes, what happens to it. It's just. It doesn't matter, it's not important. It's gone. You want it gone. This is this is like this. The chaff is just it's gone. Worse than that. In verse five of Psalm One, it says the wicked will not stand in the judgment. It's not just that they disappear, but the wicked, those who have sinned, come under the judgment of God and they perish, they are destroyed. Psalm too goes on to describe some of that. It describes the wicked plotting in vain, sneaking around, whispering, scoffing at the Lord, and the Lord just laughs at them. The Lord laughs at them. In verse four, He who sits in heavens this is psalm to laughs and holds them in derision. He will speak to them in his wrath, he will terrify them in his fury, saying, as for me, I have set my King on Zion, my Holy Hill. He then says in verse nine, of this son of his, you shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a Potter's vessel. Have you ever dropped a dish or a glass, some sort of vessel in the kitchen?...

You're moving around and it just it's dramatic right, it just shatters million pieces all over. It's like that's the description of what the Lord will do to those who in who sin against him, who don't glorify him, who don't enjoy him but instead fight against him, disobey him, hate him. It says he will take his rod of iron and smash them. It's a picture of judgment in Psalm thirty two. In Psalm thirty two, this is why David says, or the Psalmist says, yes, David, in verse ten. Many are the sorrows of the wicked. It's a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of a living God whom you have been sinning against, whom you have been fighting against. And if you're going down the road and you're going too fast and you see the lights in your ear of your mirror, you you say, oh no, you might get a ticket. Can you imagine what it might be like if, your entire life, from the moment of your conception, you have been sinning not against a temporal authority but against the very one who made you? Can you imagine what the punishment would be like if if God took every single thought, action, word intension and said, all right, let's tally it up, moment by moment, day by day, let's list them out, let's see what it all adds up to. One sin is enough to earn us God's wrath, for his perfect holiness is perfect righteousness. One sin is enough to bar us from that place of perfection. His presence is heaven, his kingdom. When we hope in Utopia, when we hope in the Kingdom of God, when we hope and blessedness, how much sin do we want there? My Dad always used to say, how much of a cockroach do you want in your milkshake? None, Hey, not a little bit, not not a little leg, not a little antenna, it's not big. None. None, was the point that he would impress upon us. It's like that when we want this for ourselves, when we think about blessedness. How much of your blessedness. And how much of your perfected, glorious state do you want infected by sin? How much do you want? You want a little bit of betrayal, a little bit of anger, maybe just one murder every now and then? Of course, none is the answer. That's a whole point about perfect blessedness, perfect and glory, being perfectly in the presence of the Lord. It's it's perfect. We are perfectly who God made us to be, this destiny that he called US toward with no more sin. And so when we sin, we automatically bar ourselves from that, and it couldn't be anything less than that. And so we not only bar ourselves from that, but we come under God's righteous wrath. We are expelled, we are kicked out, we are put into a place that is deserving for us as sinners. Jesus describes hell as a place of terror, of Wrath, of punishment, of pain and suffering that is eternal. It is the exact opposite of this position of blessedness.

This anti picture is experienced in a way, a kind of many hell, a foretaste of hell, is what David experiences and describes in verse three. He says when I kept silent and I didn't confess my sins. My bones wasted away through my groaning all day long, for day and night. Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength is dried up, as by the heat of summer. You get a sense of this, this anti picture, instead of this tree that is healthy and alive, that is full and productive and active. You know the picture of a man who's wasted away because he's kept his sins to himself, because he thinks he can hide them from the Lord and from others, because he's going to keep silent and handle things on his own. He's exhausted. Have you ever gone on a long hike or been playing sports out in the sun or something like that and you've not been good enough water and you just like you dizzy, you can't catch your breath and you're you're feeling off and maybe you throw up and it's just like you're wasting away, you're falling apart. This is what David describes this kind of heat exhaustion, not because of a physical heat, although he's experiencing this in his body. It's a spiritual cause for these physical things, right, he says, I kept silent and then I felt like this right. It reminds us of how our bodies and our on, our souls are very interconnected. They affect each other, where whole creatures made. I'm in this way. And when he kept silent, he be he ex feerience these things not only in his heart and in his emotions and it, but in his body as well. He was wasting away, he was dried up, his strength was gone. It was awful, he says, he, he says he was groaning all day long. And I know that you all have experienced this as well, because you, like me, have sinned and you know what it's like to keep things hidden, to keep things on your conscience, to not express them, to not and not just express them, but confess them, to tell them to the Lord, to seek for His forgiveness or the forgiveness of others that we've harmed. And it just it's it's black, it's dark, it covers us at it holds us down, it makes us feel terrible and we cry and we mourn. It gets it gets into our into our bones. Maybe some of you are experiencing that even now, feeling the weight of your sin, feeling no relief, feeling in your very body is the the shakiness and the frustration and the dangers even holding on to your sin, when you tell yourself, well, maybe later, all confess it someday or when the time is right, or all take care of it first, or I'll handle it, or it's not so bad. But you know these are just lies and you know it's just getting worse and worse worse. That's not blessedness. That's a kind of many hell. It's a it's a feeling and a foretaste of the worst things that are to come. If you do not confess, if you don't find forgiveness, if you don't find relief, if you don't come into the state of blessedness, you will stay in this spot and it will get worse and worse. If David experiences this in his life...

...at this moment in time, can you imagine what it will be like for all eternity to have God's hand heavy upon you for your sins? That is the anti picture of blessedness and it's not just a picture, it's a reality. It's the experience here of our friend WHO's trying to help us, who's trying to say you have to confess your sins. You must forget, confess your sins, and when you do, you will be blessed, you will be happy, you will be at peace. Don't hold on to them any longer. So that's the condition that we receive. This is the the the what it's like when we are forgiven and what it's like when we are not. We are blessed. This is the place to be, this is the thing that you want to be blessed. Well, how do we receive that? What is the nature of our forgiveness? First of all, what does it mean to be forgiven? Why does it bring us into this state of blessedness? Well, David describes it in this way. He says Transgression is forgiven, sin is covered. In verse two, he says blessed is the man against the whom, against whom the Lord counts no iniquity. This is a judgment. Right. To not count iniquity against a person means to not hold them liable for the things that they have done. Right, imagine that you owe money to someone and the person comes to you and says, I want you to know the debt is forgiven. I am not going to hold you liable for this amount. You don't have to pay it back because you're not liable to it anymore. I'm not going to count it against you. Or imagine you do something at work that really was something you should not have done, and you come into your annual job review or something like that, and your manager sits down with you and says, Hey, you know, I had it. We got you got written up for this and for this and for this. I want to tell you that I'm not going to hold it against you, I'm not going to count it against you. What a relief, right, what a wonderful thing to expect and to know that you deserve punishment, to deserve, know that you deserve to have the consequences, to pay the debt or whatever it is. But the Lord will count no iniquity. He is going to remove the debt that you owe, he is going to cover it up, he's going to take care of it, and what that means is that in his eyes, you are no longer a guilty person, even though you sinned. Might Imagine, for example, you got a traffic ticket or something like that, and then, let's say the government for some reason decided to expunge all records of traffic tickets for a year. It was a hard year. Everything's forgiven, all right. And then you imagine you come back the next year into the court to pay your ticket. Right. You say, I'm here, I got a ticket on such and such a day. I was speeding. I'm here to pay the ticket. What would the court say? The say you owe nothing. You're like, but yeah, I know, but I at this ticket. I was there...

...on the day. The officer handed it to me, told me how much I was speeding and it was all true. I did it. I'm ready to pay. There's nothing to pay. We your debt was forgiven. There's nothing here. You can leave now, please leave now, right right. They they wouldn't understand you being there. It wouldn't make sense because the iniquity had been forgiven. You are no longer guilty. No one's coming after you know, there's no threat of of not paying. And it's just like that with the Lord. When he forgives our sins, when he covers them up, when he takes care of them, there's nothing that needs to remain in our minds as say, what if he changes his mind? What if he comes again? Or what if he he decides that he is going to hold. No, no, the Lord's not a liar. He said your sin is forgiven. He said your iniquity is not counted against you. It's over, it's done. This is the life we live as Christians. We live as forgiven people. Because we're forgiven people, we can confess to the things that we've done, and we should confess to the things we've done. We don't hide them or blanket over them or pretend like they're not there. We say, yeah, I did it, but also I've been forgiven of it. We are in a new state, we're in a new position. We are those who were guilty and in fact do those things, but against whom that is no longer counted against us. That's the nature of this benefit and it's so comprehensive. The scriptures tell us that when God forgives our sins, it's everything, everything that we could do past, present in future. And if you have any doubt about that, you can just look at some of the examples of scripture. Think about David himself, murder, adultery. Think about Peter Denying the Lord three times after saying he wouldn't, on the very night Jesus was crucified, after saying he would never do this and would you know, die for him. The Lord forgave it. The Lord Forgave Paul after persecuting his church, after persecuting him, is how Jesus put it. He forgave Paul. Can you imagine somebody who is essentially a terrorist to the church all of a sudden becoming one of the leaders in the church? How does that happen? Through the forgiveness of God. In these examples, of many others. We could think about the thief on the Cross right I'm was running out for this man. He is actively dying a tortuous death next to Jesus. He didn't ask for forgiveness. You know, five years back this was the last moment, the last opportunity, and he took it and he believed in Jesus said to him today, you will be with me in paradise. There's no history too long, no sins so awful that the Lord won't forgive this. There's no thing that you have done that he can't take and cleanse it away, forgive it and bring you out of the death and the misery and the the the wrath and the judgment into this happy, blessed state...

...that's the nature of this forgiveness that we receive. It's life changing in every way. It changes our eternal life as well. It's why, as Christians, everything centers around this. It's not just this aspect that sort of we incorporate into our lives. It is at the very center. Well, how does it come to us? Well, all, it comes to us through the Lord himself. Notice the Lord's work and all of this in the Psalm. This is my third of four points. The Lord says it is his work. First of all, it is he who counts no iniquity. You can even ask where does this repentance come from, and you can point to the Lord, whose hand was heavy upon David as he suffered. It was the Lord. Where does our change of heart come from? Where does our our our our change of attitude and and a desire to just let go of all the pain and the suffering and to give ourselves over to the Lord come from? It comes from him. It was his hand that was heavy upon him. It was the Lord who did the work of changing his heart and turning him to himself. It was the Lord who will save him, the Lord who will preserve him. Listen to verse seven. You are a hiding place for me. You preserve me from trouble, you surround me with shouts of deliverance. You ever seen a little animal or hug or something like that go into hiding? We ever tried to get one that was in hiding and it's really hard to reach like it. Can't get your fingers in there because they're all backed in and protected. It's amazing thing to be sheltered, to be preserved and protected, and that's what the Lord does for us when we come to him. The rush of great waters shall not reach him, this great flood of judgment, like like Noah or like the Egyptians in the Red Sea. No, God will protect, he will he will hold fast, he will preserve and more than that, on the other side of that there will be shouts of deliverance. This baptism through the Red Sea, which brought judgment on the Egyptians, brought salvation for Israel. And then we have Miriam and all of Israel praising God, shouts of deliverance on all sides. We don't just hunker down, we celebrate, we praise, we rejoice, we cry out. Verse Eleven. Similarly, be glad in the lawyered Lord, and rejoice, O righteous and shout for Joy, all you upright in heart again, because this is at the very center of our lives. We don't just say, well, that was a really nice thing to be forgiven of that traffic ticket. Right. All of our sins against the holy and righteous God have been forgiven. We are no longer going to hell, but we are going to be resurrected to the newness of life in the Kingdom of heaven forever to enjoy a utopia and a blessed state in the Lord, glorifying and enjoying him forever. But shout for joy, let's say our men, let's Sing Hallelujah, let's praise God with all of our hearts all of our strength, because we've been saved, we've been rescued. What a wonderful, wonderful thing it is. And this comes to us again through the Lord, through the Father, giving his only begotten Son, placing him in this world to take on human flesh, to become like one of us, to become a representative for us, so that he might die for us. If you want...

...to know what forgiveness costs, just look at the cross. If you want to know how serious are sins against God are? Just look at the Cross. Look at what God had to do to cover our sin. The son of God came into this world and lived the life that we were not able to because of our sin, and die to death we could never endure, so that you could be forgiven. Listen to how the author of Hebrews describes this in chapter two. Let me turn there and read this to you. Hebrews two, verses fourteen and fifteen. Since, therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, he, that's Jesus, himself, likewise partook of the same things, flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who, through fear of death, were subject to life long slavery. What is it like to not have the forgiveness of your sins, to not confess, to not be forgiven, to not be blessed? It is to live in a life in fear of judgment and therefore to live as one who, through that fear of death, is a slave, crouching around, cowering around, constantly hiding, constantly afraid that fear the Lord breaks, he shatters it just like that pot, by having victory through his death, over that fear, over that slavery and over the Evil One, Satan, all those who gather with him. They are those people who hide in dark places, who snicker and mock at God and who will say we can do what we want, we can break apart the Lord's bonds and his annoint and he says will really no, you're not. And when Jesus went to the cross, it was exactly that. He said, Oh no, you won't, and he died to death and then he rose again from the dead, victorious, proving himself Victor, coreous over that death, so that all who put their faith in him would have their life in him. He is the way in which it comes to us. We can have confidence in the forgiveness of our sins, because Jesus, Christ, God the Son, died to forgive you of your sins, and nothing can take that away from you. On top of all of this, the Holy Spirit is given to us and fills US and unites us with Christ to assure us of these things, to bring about this a prepenence, to bring about this faith. And that brings me to my last point. Is How do we receive this? How do we become those who are forgiven? How do we receive this, this cleansing, in this forgiveness? But David tells us. He says acknowledge your sins, confess your sins and believe that your sins are forgiven. Imagine those picture the imagine those people, picture those people on the side of the road and on the roof of the house and various places throughout Jesus's life, who recognized they are needs and called out for him to help them. It's that simple. It's that simple. Jesus doesn't say if you will be saved. Here is a the a list of like fifteen objectives that I want you to complete with...

...all of their subcategories, and once you do all of those things, then come to me and we'll check them all out, see how you've done, maybe go back, have you do them again. Then you come back again and we'll review and then, after all of that, will compare you against other people and then I'll forgive you. Let's say anything like that. What do we see? What do we see in these people who were who were helped by Jesus? They say things like Lord, help me, and he helps them. Say Lord. I've been sick for a long time, I can't get to the pool, I can't see, my ears don't work. My My, my, my relationships are broken. I've committed all of these sins. Your sins are forgiven. Stand up and walk now. You can see. That's it. It's deceptively simple and because it's so simple, and because of our pride and we want to contribute to all of this, we don't believe it. We say well, no, I'll get my you know, I'll get my sins forgiven another day. It's crazy. Can you imagine being one of these people who we who couldn't see, couldn't hear, limbs that didn't work, and then them saying, yeah, I can see that he heals, I can see that he's been healing people. I can see these people I know who have been healed. But as for me, I don't know. I just don't really like seeing. It's ridiculous right to say, well, it's been very painful and I'm hungry all the time and or the the weight of my sins and my broken relationships, that the weight on me is really heavy, but another day. You know, this is what we do, but this is not what we have to do. The Lord offers to each of us this opportunity. He calls to US and while there is time before the great judgment comes, and he says to us in this palm, confess your sins. Verse Five. I acknowledged my sin to you. I did not cover my iniquity. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. He tells to us to acknowledge our sin while there is time. This one who has the power over death, Satan, who holds us in bondage. He does not want you to confess your sins. He wants you to be worried instead and just live your life and anxiety. He wants you instead to be distracted and just sort of cover it up, in a non permanent way, but just ignoring kind of way. Just keep scrolling, don't pay attention to it, don't feel it, let it go. He wants you to replace True blessedness and true happiness with false versions of it. He brings opportunities into our lives. He tempts us with various less the say this will help you to feel better, but you all know to a purse, that it's a sham, it's a lie, it doesn't work, and we end up, when we don't confess our sins and we fall into these tricks, plunging deeper and deeper into the darkness. But what this psalm promises to all of us, but the Lord's death and resurrection promises to all of us, is that we...

...don't need to cover our sins anymore and that when we confess them, God forgives them. Why? Why would he do that? Why would he forgive the sins of people that don't deserve it, that haven't done anything for him, that have lived their lives against him? The scriptures tell us because he loved us. He loves you. He loves you before time began, he loves you when Jesus came into the world, he loves you now, and that's why he offers us to you. And so let's not be stubborn, let's not be ridiculous, let's not be hardhearted and prideful, let's not plunge ourselves deeper into sin, but instead, beloved, let's just reach out and confess our sin and receive the forgiveness that is promised. Blessed will you be let's pray, our heavenly father, as we consider this psalm and your promises to us, impress upon our hearts that there is nothing more important than this. There's no leftover task, there's no thing in our lives, eating itself, sleeping. Well, all of it is of lesser importance than finding forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. Lord, open our silent mouths, soften our stubborn hearts that we might receive from you life and life everlasting. We thank you for the trouble that you lay upon us. We thank you for your heavy hand and for your teaching and for your discipline that does not let us stay where we are, but instead helps us to feel the pains of our sins so that we might turn to you and repent and find the free forgiveness of them in Jesus Christ. Well, Holy Spirit, I asked that you would work in our hearts, that you would impress these things upon us and help us to turn with faith to Jesus, knowing that he has the power to remove, by his own work and his mediation, all of our sins, past, present in future. And as we find forgiveness in him, Lord, we ask that you would help us to experience that blessedness here and now as a foretaste of the things to come, and that even in our trials, even in our repentance, even in our struggles in our souls, that you would be at work and we would see your blessing in it, your hand upon us. You're moving us, you're guiding us, you're changing US and helping us to grow into creatures are more and more like you and less and less like the sinful selves we were once were. We also ask, Lord, that is you do these things in our hearts, that you would help us not only to keep not only to help us to not just remain silent in our confession, but help us also to express ourselves in praise, that our hearts would be filled with gladness and rejoicing, that there would be times where we would shout for joy, that we would realize and recognize until all the world that we have been saved and that salvation is possible for all who believe. We pray this in Jesus name, the author and perfector of our faith. Amend.

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