"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile" (Psalm 32:1-2).

Have you become dull in your soul of late, my reader? Are you low in spirits? Have you lost that vigour and spontaneity that those have who are rejoicing in God's favour? If so, consider afresh these words with which this Psalm of David, given for instruction, opens. If you are a Christian at all, the blessedness of which he speaks is for you, to be enjoyed by you. Oh, the blessedness of the man who knows it!

There are three words used for sin — "transgression," "sin" and "iniquity." They describe, in a threefold way, the character of the sins of which we have all been guilty. TRANSGRESSION means a going away from a definite command, a rending of oneself apart from the One who gave the command; it is a pulling away of the shoulder from the hand that is laid upon it in loving restraint. How guilty we were of that, alas! How opposed to the will of God we were, how determined to do our own wills and have none of His. Thus we rebelled and thus were we separated from the God who made us and loved us. SIN means missing the mark, for if we are lawless, and the Scriptures say, "Sin is lawlessness," we must miss the mark. If the earth broke away from the law that binds it in its orbit round the sun, how terrible would be the consequences: it would miss the mark, the whole reason for its existence, and destroy itself. And we have sinned and missed the mark. How could we be right and fulfil the purpose of our being when our vision was warped by sin, and all our aspirations were wrong? Hence nothing satisfied us — we had no real peace, we were restless and disappointed. Even what we aimed for we failed to secure, or if we did carry off the prize we got something along with it that turned it to gall and bitterness. INIQUITY means crooked, distorted — a divergence from the straight path. God's path for us was a straight one, a path of righteousness, but we all went astray from it in doing our own wills. What a mess of things we made by our sins: we pulled ourselves away from God, we failed to find any satisfaction, and all our ways were crooked, twisted ways. There was more, and worse: our sins were a challenge to God's supremacy, a rebellion against His throne; they were a dishonour to Him they called for His righteous judgment.

This threefold character of our sinning has been met by a threefold grace on God's part. The transgression is FORGIVEN. Here the word means to lift away from. The great burden is removed: it no longer weighs upon the soul and conscience before God. Oh, the relief if it! How great is the blessedness of being forgiven! The load is gone. The sin is COVERED, it is concealed, blotted out of God's sight, so as to offend Him no more. The iniquity is not IMPUTED. It is not reckoned, it no longer stands against us in God's book of remembrance. It is remembered no more. It is as though it had never been.

We know well that we could have known nothing of the blessedness of Psalm 32, if our great Saviour had not endured the sufferings of Psalm 22. It is because He was forsaken that we may be forgiven. Yes, we owe it all to the precious blood of Jesus, and so we can sing, "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God His Father. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."