David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.
In Romans 4, Paul gave the illustration of Abraham to show that salvation has always been by faith, not by works. But Paul knew if one illustration was good, then two are even better. So he also looked at the example of David.
“David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works” (4:6). David was considered by many Jews to be the greatest king in Israel, but his reign was marked by scandal. Just as you will never be able to separate Richard Nixon from Watergate, David was remembered for his night of passion with Bathsheba. Not only was he guilty of adultery, but in the cover-up, David killed Bathsheba’s husband. Yet in spite of his sin, the Bible says David was a man after God’s heart. How could God be friends with a sinner like David? It all has to do with grace.
David’s life illustrates that God justifies not just godly people but ungodly people. What did Paul say about David? Paul quoted David’s psalm of confession, Psalm 32. “Blessed [happy] are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed [happy] is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Romans 4:7-8). There are three words that show what God is willing to do for us on the basis of grace through faith.
First of all, the word “forgiven.” Happy are those “whose lawless deeds have been forgiven” (4:7). That word “forgiven” in Greek is a word that means “to separate.” When God forgives us, He separates us from our sin. It does not matter what you have done; when God forgives you, He forever separates you from your sin.
Second, the word “covered.” Happy are those “whose sins have been covered” (4:7). When we sin, we often try to cover the sin ourselves. We deny that it happened. If we are caught, we try to rationalize why it happened. David tried that. For six months, he rationalized his sin. He said in Psalm 32: “For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (32:4). It was only when David was willing to confess his sin that God said He would cover his sin with the blood of His Son.
Third, the word “account.” Happy are those “whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Romans 4:8). God will never dredge up your past sin and make you account for it. God will not be like a bill collector who says, “It is time to pay up!” When God forgives, He remembers no more. That is why David did not say, How happy is the man who makes another billion dollars, or the man who conquers another kingdom, or the man who has another sexual conquest, but how happy is the man who never needs to fear the coming judgment of God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good News That Is Good but Not New” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.