1 O blessed is the man to whom
is freely pardoned
All the transgression he hath done,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessèd is the man to whom the Lord
imputeth not his sin,
And in whose sp'rit there is no guile,
nor fraud is found therein. (Psalm 32 from the Scottish Metrical Psalter 1650)
Unconditional forgiveness from the heart of a Father who sees you as His beloved child, is the cause of blessedness, of joy and delight (Romans 4:6-8). Sin of any kind brings nothing but misery but when you confess your sin and unreservedly repent, you experience the grace of God and happiness for you know that not one of your sins remain, that you are covered by the blood of Jesus, that you wear the righteousness of Jesus ever after.
Repentance and real unreserved forgiveness brings you into right standing with God. With this relationship comes an intimacy that means that your joy will be complete. “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24 emphasis mine).
So forgiveness brings us joy in this life AND joy for eternity in the age to come.
But, I am asked, what if I don’t feel joyful?
You actually don’t have a choice! I know that sounds strange but we have an interesting episode in the days of Nehemiah that gives us a glimpse of forgiveness and joy that was to come under Christ.
When the people of Israel heard the requirements of the Law for the first time they were mortified at their failures and wept in repentance and remorse. Fair enough! But then Nehemiah and his religious leaders commanded the people to NOT weep but be joyful (Neh. 8:9-13).
So the message to us is that if you can’t be joyful in knowing you have been forgiven and are saved, you fake it until you make it! Apparently, the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are well-rooted in the Bible! If you start generating an attitude of joy, eventually that attitude will be a part of your personality.
So take heed to these words today: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).
(NKJV used throughout).