Relief Afforded by Confession
Psalm 32:5
I acknowledge my sin to you, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD…

I. THE PSALMIST HAD KEPT SILENCE. In this he was wrong. Sin had been committed, and the fruits were fermenting and fomenting in his bosom, gendering turmoil and breeding corruption. So sin will dwell in our souls, and we fondle and turn it into a means of enjoyment. We have not the courage to look at these sins as sins, and to cast them out from what ought to be the temple of the Lord. We try as far as possible not even to notice them. We prefer thinking of our supposed excellences, of the good deeds we have done, of our talents, courage, prowess, generosity, and roll these as a sweet morsel under our tongue. We decline thinking on the abuse made of the gifts bestowed on us, — on our ingratitude, ungodliness, our lusts cherished, our envy, our evil temper, our selfishness. There will be times, indeed, when these iniquities are forced upon our attention by the accusations of conscience or the reproaches of our fellow men, or by the troubles into which they bring us. But on these occasions we put ourselves on the defensive and parry off the attack; and when these weapons of defence are wrested from us, then we bring excuses and urge palliations referring to extenuating circumstances, or pleading seductions, or pointing to the fairer side of the offence, to the pleasure it gave, or the kindness or frankness which characterized it. Under such pretexts as these we keep silence when we should speak out, when we should confess the sin and acknowledge the transgression, cast them out from our hearts and slay them before the Lord.

II. WHEN HE KEPT SILENCE HE WAS TROUBLED. God speaks. He speaks in the conscience, saying, this deed, this thought was evil. He speaks in the Word, saying, "The wages of sin is death." He speaks to us by His Spirit, striving to subdue the resistance. But the ear is stopped, that it may not hear; or when the voice is so loud that it cannot but be heard, no attention is paid to it, or it is openly disobeyed. There is now a terrible conflict. There is a voice commanding, but there is a determined effort to drown it, as loud and dismal as the sound of the gong which was used in Mexico to drown the cry of the tortured and bleeding human victims on the altar. What earnestness in the voice demanding, the voice entreating! but there is equal earnestness in the struggles resisting, and the hatred resenting. No wonder that "the moisture is turned into the drought of summer." The terrible heat, exceeding that of a tropical sun, burns up every living thing. The soul is left as an arid waste, without a scrap of vegetation.


IV. THE PSALMIST HAD HIS SINS FORGIVEN. We are not to understand that the confession can merit the forgiveness. The confession can no more merit the forgiveness than the forgiveness can merit the confession. Both are gifts of God, and so bound together that you cannot have the one without the other. An old author represents Christ as coming to us with a gift in each hand. In the one hand He holds out forgiveness, free forgiveness; in the other hand He holds out repentance and confession. If we begin to say, "We are very willing to take the one of these; we know we have sinned, and are most anxious to have the forgiveness; but as to this wringing repentance and its proper fruit, a humbling confession, we wish to avoid them," then Christ will give us neither. But if in simple faith we will only take both, we shall receive both "without money and without price." At the same instant that we break silence and cry in faith for mercy, Heaven also breaks the awful silence, and the mercy is bestowed and received. And now the crowded bosom finds relief; the confined soul experiences enlargement; the fettered spirit is free; the prison doors are thrown open, and the soul walks at liberty and expatiates abroad, on before untrodden ground, and gazes on new and lovely scenes. New affections are called forth, and new-born feelings spring up. The evil burnouts have been let out, and the body feels health returning, and, with health, motive and activity.

(J. McCosh.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: I acknowledged my sin to you. I didn't hide my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Penitential Confession of Sin
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