NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Psalm 32:1-7
- When has hearing someone else’s perspective changed your perspective?
Food for Thought by Juan Sanchez:
Anyone who has ever purchased a home knows there can be a big difference in what the buyer or seller sees and what a certified home inspector sees. We may try to look beyond the things that appeal to us, such as the layout of the house, the size of bedrooms, and so forth. Or we may see a crack in a ceiling or a door that doesn’t shut well, but the inspector doesn’t stop there. He’ll investigate why the ceiling is cracked. He’ll crawl under a house and see problems we don’t. His trained eye sees things we can’t with our limited view.
We can also have a limited view of God. For example, the way you deal with sin says a lot about what you believe about God. If you think God will forgive your sin because it’s no big deal, your view of God is too small. If you think God will not forgive your sin because He is a harsh and angry God, your view of God is too small. Let’s discover the right view of God, one that will move us to run to Him when we sin.
The message of Psalm 32 is that there’s greater joy in uncovering our sin and finding forgiveness than in trying to cover up our sin. And a right view of God allows us to do just that. But to understand and experience the joy and blessing of God’s forgiveness, we not only have to understand who God is, but we also must understand the nature of sin. David used three words that help us with this. First, transgression. This is an act of rebellion against God. It’s crossing God’s line. Second, sin. This is a term that refers to missing the mark. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, we fall short and that’s sin. Third, iniquity. Iniquity indicates crookedness, a wrong act, and a conscious twisting of God’s will.
Notice how David describes the source of his joy. Transgression was forgiven; the guilt was removed and carried away. Sin was covered; atonement was made, and the sin was dealt with. Iniquity was not counted against him; instead, he was counted righteous before our holy God. The joy and blessing of forgiveness are granted to all persons who come before God with humility, not hiding their sin. David described such an individual as one “in whose spirit is no deceit!” This person “comes clean” and confesses his sin.
Sadly, it wasn’t until the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin of adultery and murder that he confessed his sin. David’s description of the effects of unconfessed sin presents a powerful image. Covering up our sin makes us miserable — physically, mentally, and emotionally. We tend to think of sin as a spiritual issue, but sin affected David down to his bones. “When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long … my strength was drained” (vv. 3, 4b).
It’s an act of love when God’s hand is heavy on us because of our sin. The good news is that with confession and repentance comes forgiveness. In verse 5, David used the same three words he had used earlier — transgression, sin, iniquity == but in reverse order. David held nothing back in what he confessed! There is no sin that our God won’t forgive when we confess it. There is no guilt He won’t take away when we reveal it.
The great irony of Psalm 32 is that when we sin, we try to cover it. But God invites us to run to Him and uncover our sin. When we do, He covers our sin in the blood of His Son. What a glorious Gospel! God wants to do the very thing we want done: cover our sin. When we turn from our sin to Christ through repentance and faith, He forgives us and our fellowship with Him is restored.
Juan Sanchez is senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.