Calvary Road Baptist Church


Psalm 32.1-2

Last Sunday morning it was our privilege to focus our attention on the profoundly encouraging 32nd Psalm. If the first psalm declares the blessedness, the utter delight to the soul, the sense of complete fulfillment that comes from walking with God, then the 32nd Psalm is that poem David was inspired to write that declares how sinful man can come to the place in life where a walk with God is possible. Those of you who were here last Sunday morning will remember that I read the 32nd Psalm at a moderate pace, timed myself while reading, and found that it took all of 1:30 to read the eleven verses. I then challenged each of you to spend the two minutes necessary each morning and two minutes each evening to actually read the eleven verses that deal with God’s forgiveness of a sinner’s sins. I sincerely hope you took up my challenge because I sincerely believe that God will bless your mind, your heart, and your soul for doing so. After all, the entrance of God’s Word into your mind gives light, meditating on God’s truth will then begin to affect your heart (which we understand is much slower to respond), and when God’s truth affects your heart there is no telling to what degree God will bless you.[1]

Turning to the 32nd Psalm at this time, please stand as we read this wonderful psalm again together, I will read the odd verses aloud and you will then responsively read the even verses aloud. Ready, begin:

A Psalm of David, Maschil.

1      Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2      Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3      When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

4      For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5      I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6      For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7      Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8      I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

9      Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

10     Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

11     Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

The text for today’s message from Psalm 32 will be verses 1-2:

1      Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2      Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

“Like the sermon on the mount, this Psalm begins with beatitudes. This is the second Psalm of benediction. The first Psalm describes the result of holy blessedness, the thirty-second details the cause of it. The first pictures the tree in full growth, this depicts it in its first planting and watering. He who in the first Psalm is a reader of God’s book, is here” one who has approached “God’s throne accepted and heard.”[2]

I would like for us to consider these two verses in very simple fashion. First, I would like us to understand how the two verses begin, with the pronouncement of “blessed.” Next, I would like to explain the four spiritual conditions, maladies if you will, that destroys blessedness. Finally, I would like to point out those things the LORD does to restore blessedness. It will not be possible in the time available to me to thoroughly apply what we learn today, so it will be necessary for you to think about what you will learn, to ponder and meditate upon the implications, and to then make application to your own life. It is my prayer that as you continue to read Psalm 32 morning and evening over the next couple of weeks, you will especially benefit in your understanding of verses 1 and 2 after this morning’s message from God’s Word.

Three main points to facilitate a better understanding of the blessedness that results from the LORD dealing with a sinner’s spiritual defilements, obstacles, and catastrophes:


Spurgeon writes, “The word translated ‘blessed’ is a very expressive one. The original word is plural, and it is a controverted matter whether it is an adjective or a substantive. Hence we may learn the multiplicity of the blessings which shall rest upon the man whom God hath justified, and the perfection and greatness of the blessedness he shall enjoy. We might read it, ‘Oh, the blessednesses!’ and we may well regard it . . . as a joyful acclamation of the gracious man’s” happiness. “May the like benediction rest on us!”[3]

Did you notice that blessed in both verses is plural? Again reading Spurgeon, “The word blessed is in the plural, oh, the blessednesses! the double joys, the bundles of happiness, the mountains of delight!”[4] Most professing Christians do not act like they enjoy blessednesses. Do you think something could possibly be wrong with them? A careful consideration of this word blessed reveals that the meaning of the word actually bleeds over into two distinct concepts. On one hand it is related to being the recipient of the bestowal of a blessing, especially a blessing that is graciously given, a benefit that is wholly undeserved. As well, it is related to the enjoyment of the blessing that has been received, its benefit being appreciated.

Therefore, while there are some people who have been given gracious gifts and do not understand or appreciate what they have been given, and on the other hand there are those who seem to be very happy about that which is not a true and lasting benefit, blessed properly applies to both the reception of a real and lasting benefit that is not deserved, as well as the delight and thrill to one’s soul that results from coming to appreciate what you have been given.


In Adam’s original state there was no experience of sin. He was innocent as God created him, pristine. In short, he enjoyed the blessings of intimate communion with God and was free from any cloud over his conscience. However, Adam fell. Let us take note of four spiritual plagues that contaminated the psalmist, obliterating any possibility of blessedness, understanding that the believer, too, can relapse in some fashion (seeing a resurgence of these four maladies), as was David’s experience:

First, there was transgression. This refers to a breaking loose or tearing away from God.[5] The word has the idea of rebellion.[6] This speaks of doing something that you know is wrong, that God’s Word has forbidden you to do, but you have done it despite God’s warning. God told Adam not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, yet he ate nonetheless. David knew God’s Word prohibited the numbering of the people, yet he numbered the people anyway.[7] Willful disobedience is transgression.

Next, there was sin. This is the word Moses used when rebuking Aaron about the golden calf, in Exodus 32.21: “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?” They had made a golden calf to worship while God was giving to Moses the commandment prohibiting the worship of idols atop Mount Sinai! Does David have in mind an elevated concern for some thing or for some person above the rightful place in his mind and heart that only God should occupy? You do sin when concern for God is not uppermost in your mind and heart.

Third, there was iniquity. Iniquity is moral evil. So much for the person who despite committing various sins and transgressions insists, “But I’m a good person.” No, you are not a good person. A good person does not get drunk. A good person does not get high on drugs. A good person does not steal. A good person does not lie. A good person does not engage in sexual sins. A good person does not violate the home and family of another man by enticing his daughter to betray him by having sex with someone she is not married to. The kind of person who does such things is guilty not only of lying, cheating, stealing, etc., but is also guilty of iniquity, being morally evil.

Fourth, there was guile. Guile is a matter of the mind and heart. It is dishonesty, with others as well as with yourself. It is deceitfulness and a willingness to clear yourself of wrongdoing when you are guilty, and an effort to misguide others so they will not arrive at an accurate conclusion about your character, about the condition of your heart, or about your blame-worthiness. In short, it is excuse making instead of openness about your shortcomings and faults. It is insisting, “I am innocent,” when you are not in any way innocent of wrongdoing, wrong thinking, or defilement of the heart and soul. These are four descriptions of spiritual maladies that merit punishment, that provoke God’s wrath, and that stand in the way of God’s blessings, because they are wrongs committed against God. How serious are these maladies? Consider that what deprives you of the greatest good is the greatest evil. Since these maladies deprive sinners of the greatest good that is communion and a walk with God, nothing is worse than these, as David recognized in Psalm 51.4, when he wrote, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” Not that his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah were not terrible and tragic, but that when convicted by the Spirit of God the sinner’s concern is primarily for his offenses against the holy and righteous God.


I say restoration of blessedness because God’s gracious work in a sinner’s life involves the restoration of the sinner to the condition enjoyed by Adam before he sinned against God. Even better, God’s gracious work in a sinner’s life actually results in the sinner blessed to a degree beyond anything ever experienced or enjoyed by Adam before his tragedy. Restoration of blessedness also takes place, in a sense, when the straying believer wanders and is then restored by the LORD, as was David’s experience in this psalm.

First, with respect to transgression, it is forgiven. This means the LORD lifts it up and takes it away.[8] David had this same idea in mind in Psalm 103.12, when he wrote, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Do you think the writer to the Hebrews had this in mind when he reminded his readers, in Hebrews 8.12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”?

With respect to sin, it is covered. Imagine something so loathsome and repugnant that the only way it can be dealt with is to remove it from your sight by covering it. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God commanded that they dispose of their bodily wastes by digging in the ground and then covering it over.[9] That is what David refers to when he speaks of sin being covered. Not that sin is covered in a vain attempt to conceal it from God’s view, for God knows all and sees all. What is meant here is the proper disposal of something so offensive to God that He is no longer outraged by it because it is covered from His view.

Third, regarding your iniquity, the LORD does not impute it to you. It is a fact that you commit sins, which are shortfalls by you of what God requires, and failures to measure up. It is also a fact that you transgress, which are events wherein you overstep God’s boundaries and limitations. He prohibits, yet you do. That is transgression. Both transgressions and sins are associated with iniquity, moral failing, wickedness of mind and heart. When the LORD does not impute your iniquity to you, it means He sovereignly chooses not to account your iniquity to you, He chooses not to reckon your iniquity to you. That, my friends, is a great blessing.

Finally, there is no guile in your spirit. How can there be guile in your spirit once your transgressions are carried away, once your sins are covered, and once your iniquity is no longer imputed to you? What is left is sincerity, openness, honesty, and forthrightness of spirit.

It might be thought by some that David’s approach in the opening of this psalm is a bit confusing. He begins verse one and he begins verse two with the pronouncement of blessed, literally blessednesses. There are not only great benefits granted to the sinful person, but there is a wonderful reaction by that sinful person to God’s choice to grant those wonderful benefits to him. He has stepped over God’s moral boundaries, “No Trespassing! Violators will be prosecuted!” Yet, the LORD has forgiven him, has lifted his transgressions and cast them away as far as the East is from the West. He has sinned against God by failing to live up to God’s requirements. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” is how it is expressed in Romans 3.23. And how does the LORD deal with yet another impediment to blessing? He covers that which is repugnant to His eyes and blots it out of sight! In verse two, we find that the LORD imputes not a sinner’s iniquity. That is, He chooses to forgo logging iniquity into the sinner’s account. He chooses not to reckon it. He decides not to account it. Incredible! Furthermore, that sinner’s spirit, which was full of guile, deceit, betrayal, dishonesty to self and to God, has become a spirit in which there is no guile.

Please understand that we have not, to this point, come to understand in this psalm just how a sinner comes to be so wonderfully blessed, though we have been told that the LORD by some means we are not yet aware of has accomplished what was necessary for condemnation to be turned to blessedness, for transgression to be forgiven, for sin to be covered, for iniquity not to be imputed, and for the spirit to be without guile. Though this psalm of David was written a thousand years before, we know none of what David writes of is possible apart from some connection to the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He carried our transgressions outside the camp, washed our sins in His own shed blood, took upon Himself our iniquities, and paid the price for us to be given a new heart and a lively spirit.

This psalm does not directly refer to such things as Christ did. To this point, we are told only that the LORD does remarkable things that we might be given and know to enjoy great blessings. Therefore, especially those of you exposed much to the gospel without yet being saved, I urge you to read Psalm 32 twice each day. Only now, consider pausing and reflecting on verses 1 and 2 for just moment as you read.

That which weighs down on your soul, that burdens your heart and spirit, those transgressions, sins, and iniquities, can be remedied by the LORD! Imagine a spirit of honesty and integrity, without guilt or guile. Oh, the joy of sins forgiven. That should be the singular pursuit of everyone. What blessedness. Oh, what blessednesses!

[1] Psalm 119.130, 11

[2] Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume I, Part 2, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 81.

[3] See comment for Psalm 1.1 from Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume I, Part 2, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 1.

[4] Spurgeon, page 82.

[5] C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT, Vol 5, (Peabody, MA: reprinted by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), page 252.

[6] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), page 833.

[7] 1 Chronicles 21

[8] Keil & Delitzsch, page 252.

[9] Deuteronomy 23.13

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