Guilty - Not Guilty

Bible Book: Psalms  32 : 1-11
Subject: Guilt; Confession; Guilty Conscience

Guilty - Not Guilty

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Psalm 32 (NKJV)

"1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"

The British author who created Sherlock Holmes was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and he loved to play practical jokes on people. It is said that on one occasion, as a practical joke, he sent an anonymous telegram to twelve of his best friends. In it he sent the words, "Flee at once, all has been discovered." Within 24 hours all twelve had left the country. Apparently all of them had committed acts which they feared had become known and threatened them in some way.

The most miserable person in the world is one who is bearing guilt for that which he or she cannot find peace. Notice in Psalm 32 that we find a man who was full of guilt, but who found out how to be forgiven and how to experience real, lasting peace.

I. The Results of His Sin

David committed a multi-level sin, and he added to the problem by concealing it. Of course we all sin, but there are sins which are grieveous and cause us to bear a weight that presses down upon our minds, bodies and souls. David had committed such sin and God was giving Him no peace concerning it. Look at how it affected David.

A. The Physical Results

David states that his "bones waxed old" - his sin dissipated his strength.

In Psalm 51:8 David spoke of the physical toll upon him as feeling like his bones were broken. Sin took from him the energy he needed for life, love and work, and left him as weak as an injured man. That is what sin does. It can literally break a person physically, and it is especially hard on a Christian.

B. The Emotional Results

It disturbed his soul. David's guilt bore down upon the very seat of God's activity in his life. It changed his emotions and feelings - it left him feeling sad and defeated. The joy of God's love and presence were no longer real to him.

C. The Spiritual Results

David's sin drained him in his spirit. We see this most clearly in Psalm 51. Reading Psalm 51 carefully reveals the devastating results of sin that is not dealt with properly before God.

  • Sin is Caustic to the body
  • Sin is Catastrophic to relationships
  • Sin is Calamitous to one's walk with God

But there is something we can do about our sin. Note next ...

II. The Repentance for His Sin

David wisely repented from his sin. To repent means to turn from our sin, to turn to God, and to go in a new, correct, and proper direction. We read in verse 5 that David wrote ...

"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid."

David repenting and changed his direction.

For over a year David hid his sin - well, I guess you could say he hid it. Actually, God knew he had sinned, Bathsheba knew he had sinned, and Nathan knew he had sinned. And, it is believed that the rumors were everywhere in the kingdom that David had sinned greatly. But, thankfully, there came a time when David fell before God as a broken man and said, "I will hide my sin no longer."

What is repentance and what does it involve?

A. Repentance involves Conviction

David felt the pressing hand of God on his heart - that is what conviction is. It is not just feeling bad about a wrong we have done, it is being close enough to God to sense and feel His conviction in our hearts and minds. Repentance means to come clean with God, because He has convicted us of our wrongdoing.

B. Repentance involves Confidence

Repentance is possible only when we have enough confidence in God's love and grace to know that His plan and way is right, and to agree to alter our behavior or attitude. We must know that repentance is the best,  and that coming before God with an open heart of honesty and confidence is the right thing for everyone involved, including ourselves.

C. Repentance involves Confession

David came clean, we might say. He confessed his sin before God and others. First and foremost, sin is against God - this is very important for us to understand. God is holy and expects us to be holy. Repentance is admitting just how unholy we are, how unholy we have been, and that we are ready to change. Repentance is specific - it calls sin exactly what God calls it.

If our sin has become public, our confession must be public. No, it is not necessary to confess before everyone when we sin, unless the sin in the life of the Christian is public. I know many Christians who have lived improperly but their deeds were known only to God, to a few people, or perhaps only to one or two others. Telling everyone of your failure is unnecessary - in fact, public confession of private sin can be very harmful. It's been my joy to see many people overcome bad situations because they handled confession and repentance privately and properly.

D. Repentance involves Commitment

David made a commitment to God - a renewed commitment - to be the man God meant for him to be. David could not undo what he had done, but he could determine to be a different man in the future. True repentance always involves a change in one's life - a turning around of one's behavior.

Proverbs 28:13 ...

"He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy."

Notice that true repentance means to "forsake" the sin we have had a problem dealing with in the past.

Now, notice the great truth about repentance, confession and divine forgiveness ...

III. The Removal of His Sin

When true repentance is made before God, what actually happens?

A. God Cancelled His Sin

God blotted out David's sin from the divine record. This is not just an act in heaven, but is also a peace given to the soul of the one who truly confesses and repents.

A man borrowed some money for an aquaintance, but was unable to pay it back. The loaner of the money called for a meeting with the borrower. The borrower came in fear and admitted that he would never be able to repay the debt. The loaner of the money said, "I asked you here, not to berate you but to forgive the debt." The borrower wept out loud. He came to the meeting thinking he might end up in prison, but he walked away a free man because of the mercy of the loaner. That is how God deals with us when we confess our sin before Him. He forgives our debt. No wonder we as Christians have such joy; after all we owe God a perfect life, which we cannot possibly obtain. But when we acknowledged our sin, and place faith in Jesus and the payment He made for our sins at the cross, God totally, emphatically and divinely forgives us ALL our debt (sins) and gives us divine purity.

But that is not all that happens when one confesses and repents - we also note that ...

B. God Covered His Sin

Notice the latter part of verse 1 in Psalm 32 ...

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

Wow! God buries the sin of the confessing, repenting man or woman in a way that never allows it to be brought up against us again. Think of it like a buried enemy. Sure, someone could dig up the body of an enemy, but there is no way a dead enemy could every pose a problem - for the enemy is dead! Once you confess and truly repent of sin, God buries the sin record against you forever.

I read about a man that went to see a psychologist. He said, "Doc, you have got to help me with my wife." The doctor asked, "What's the matter?" The husband said, "Well, every time we get into an argument my wife becomes historical." The doctor said, "It think you mean that your wife becomes hysterical." The husband said, "No, I mean my wife becomes historical, for she drags every wrong thing I ever did in my life."

The devil likes to be historical with us and seeks to bring up all the sins from our past. But here is something I want you to understand. The Holy Spirit only convicts us unconfessed sins, and He  ever reminds you us of sins from which we have confessed and repented. It is the devil that accuses you of confessed sins. The devil always says to you, "You remember what you did! You are no good - how can God possibly love you." You see, every time God wants to bless you and use you, the devil reminds you of your past. He seeks to keep us filled with guilt. But I want to ask you something, if God forgives our sin and forgets our sin, how can that sin ever be a problem for us again? It cannot be an issue in heaven, for God has buried it for good.

Now understand this, there are some people who will never forgive or forget things we have done, no matter how sincere our confession and repentance has been. We cannot let that hinder our service and worship of the Lord. No one has a right to dig up that which God has buried.

Concerning guilt, there is one more thing I want to say. Forgiveness is a three-fold proposition.

1. There is the forgiveness from God.

2. There is the forgiveness from others.

3. There is the forgiveness of ourselves.

People can be hard and cold, but in most cases, Christian people will forgive. There is no question that God forgives completely. However, in many cases the greatest problem you will have regarding confessed sin will be the ability to fully forgive yourself.

If God has forgiven you, you can forgive yourself. If you have been forgiven by God, regardless of what others do, you can and should forgive yourself. You don't have to live filled with guilt. If God has forgiven you of your sin, then rejoice because your sin has been truly, eternally, and completely forgiven.


On the Island of Trinidad there is a crater in an extinct volcano which is completely filled with pitch. This asphalt pitch is hard enough for people to walk on, even though here and there gas escapes in bubbles from its surface. Train loads full of asphalt are dug from this tar-like lake and used to pave roads all over the world. It is said that no matter how large a hole of asphalt is dug out and hauled away, more asphalt from beneath the pit fills it back up within 72 hours. For over 100 years they have been taking shiploads of asphalt out of this crater, yet it remains full. Workers have gone down to a level of 280 feet and still found this black, gum-like asphalt substance bubbling up.

On an even greater level, God's grace and forgiveness is bottomless. It never runs out and never diminishes. No matter how terrible the sin, there is grace and forgiveness sufficient for you and for me - aren't we glad.

Perhaps this very day someone here needs God's grace and forgiveness. I can tell you this, every Christian in this room has admitted that need - for no one is saved without repenting (turning from sin) and confessing the need for the forgiveness only available through Jesus Christ.

In Jesus the GUILTY are pronounced NOT GUILTY. What a Savior!