Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. – Psalm 32:2

This is a psalm about the power of confession and the pain of deceit.  It does not say that a person is blessed because he or she is sinless but because the Lord pardons sin.  We are reminded of what Jesus said about the lost sheep, that there is more rejoicing over the one that is found than over the ninety-nine that never strayed.  It only seems unfair until we realize that “we all like sheep have gone astray”. 

I’ve known a few people, as you probably have, who were saintly if not official saints.  To us, such holy people seem to have passed beyond the possibility of any human weakness, yet I’m sure every true saint would tell us that they are often grieved by their own faults, flaws, and failures.  The difference between the saint and the sinner is not in the fallen human nature both cannot help but share. 

A sinner clings to and defends what he thinks, says, and does.  He seeks, often desperately, to justify himself, and, in doing so, deceives himself.  The path to redemption begins with honesty.  Blessed in the man … in whose spirit there is no deceit.”  The saint abandons pretense before the Lord.  He gives up any thought of self-justification, of defending his position, of making excuses for why he stumbled. 

By hiding behind carefully woven walls of exculpatory fig leaves, we may think we are safe.  As people who have been shot at know, there is a difference between cover and concealment.  Generally, fig leaves are not bulletproof.  The only person I am fooling with my elaborate but vacuous vindications is me.  Certainly, I should not insult God by thinking He does not know the truth.      

Jesus advised to us to agree with our adversary quickly.  My adversary, the devil, the accuser of the brethren, doesn’t have to make up much stuff on me.  The devil is a liar and the father of lies; nevertheless, he can tell the truth about some of us and still do his job.  I do try to make it harder for him anymore, but I don’t argue with him. 

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. Selah
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 the iniquity of my sin. Selah 
(Psalm 32:3-5)

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