Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
1 “‘What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?’ 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 ’Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.’”
In verse 6, Paul mentions King David. Paul used David’s words from Psalm 32 to bolster his argument about justification apart from works.
Psalm 32 focuses on the theme of forgiveness and the blessings that spring from God’s gracious relationship with his people. One commentary’s opening line concerning this psalm stated, “Happiness is to be forgiven!”
“Blessed” is the most frequently used word in the Old Testament. When it’s applied to God, it has a sense of praise. When used of man, it is in reference to happiness. This happiness—this blessedness—found in this psalm is not because of a person’s own righteousness, but instead because of the forgiven status of the sinner.
So on what basis was David forgiven? He’s not forgiven because of any works he may have done. We can’t forget what David’s sins were: he committed adultery with Bathsheba and plotted the death of Uriah. To make it even worse, he steadfastly refused to confess his sin; He tried to sweep it under the rug. David knew the weight of his own sin; there was nothing he could do on his own to make things right with the LORD. It was not until everything came crashing down on him that he called out to God for forgiveness.
David was forgiven because he didn’t hide his sin from the Lord, but rather made a full and frank confession. This psalm bolsters Paul’s argument that there is nothing a person can do to justify themselves before God and it shows us what happens when a person experiences God’s divine grace, the removal of a burden (“forgiven”) followed by the covering and the remission of debt.
The key point in what David said in Psalm 32 and what Paul wrote to us about Abraham: it is that the people who are blessed are not those who have earned something from God, they are the ones who have received something from Him!
So this leads us to a personal question: Are you trying to do something on your own to get rid of your guilt? The Good News for us is that we can experience the same joy and forgiveness that David experienced. How do we do this? First, stop denying guilt and recognize your sin. Second, admit that guilt to God and ask Him for His forgiveness. Finally, let go of your guilt and believe that God has forgiven you. Don’t think that any of your sins are too great for Him to cover. Remember what 1 John 1:9 says, “9 But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.”
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible; The Bible Readers Companion.