Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 4:6 “Even as David also describeth the
blessedness of the man, unto whom
God imputeth righteousness without
Paul has already used Abraham as a witness in behalf of justification by faith. Now David is called upon to testify. The name of David, Israel’s most honored king, would carry much weight with the Jews.
What did David think about man’s condition? How did he perceive the way God deals with sin and sinners? He understood that the blessed man was he who received righteousness apart from works.
David did not pronounce a blessing on those who were trying to earn their salvation. Self-righteous Pharisees are left out. The blessing falls on those who recognize they are lawbreakers, not on those who claim to be lawkeepers.
Here is the key to true blessedness: accept God’s verdict that you are sinful; but once you trust Jesus, accept the verdict that you are saved. If you place your total trust in Christ for salvation, the Bible assures us that you are saved. The righteousness of God belongs to you.
This is a blessedness you can know you possess. What would be the value in having an unknown blessedness? You can know it is so, and have it as a ground of comfort. A few weeks ago, after I preached a strong message on justification by faith, one of our dear church ladies came by to share with me a personal word of testimony. For 30 years she belonged to a denomination that did not preach justification by faith. All those years she did good deeds hoping, in the end, to earn her salvation. One of the problems with such doctrine is that there is always an element of doubt in it. One can never know when enough good deeds are done. This lady in my church said she could never be sure of her salvation under those conditions.. She finally became convinced that something was lacking in her spiritual life. She went to hear a Baptist preacher, listened as he spoke on salvation by grace through faith, and her heart immediately found a home. She found a peace in finally finding Biblical and genuine assurance regarding the certainty of a believer’s salvation.
Yes, you can know for sure that you are saved, but such assurance comes only through the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith.
Romans 4:7a “Saying, BLESSED ARE THEY WHOSE
INIQUITIES ARE FORGIVEN,”
David knew how sweet it was to be pardoned. He had felt the bitterness of sin deeply and darkly in his own life.
The happiest and most blessed state would of course be sinlessness, innocent perfection. But we cannot attain to that. Hence, we seek the next most blessed condition–sin forgiven by repentance.
There is no greater relief than to know that one’s own sins have been forgiven. Nothing in the world compares to being right with God. True delight consists not in beauty, fame, glamor, honor, riches, power, but rather in forgiveness of sins. Even if poor, sick, or downtrodden, a man can rejoice in this–his sins are forgiven.
The word “forgiven” refers to a burden which has been lifted and sent away. Under earthly legal systems, when a man is proven guilty of a crime, the authorities send the man away.
But for the repentant sinner, God sends away the iniquity rather than sending away the man. Instead, the man is kept in a place of security and blessedness.
God not only removes the sin–a hardhearted judge could do the same if a willing substitute were available. God removes the sin and also throws His arms around the sinner in love. Jesus clutches the forgiven sinner to His bosom.
The very hand of God which chastened the sinner, and then cast away the sin, suddenly cups itself into a hollow where the penitent finds refuge. Dear believers, we are blessed! We are sons and daughters of the King, joint-heirs with Christ.
What a blessed privilege–to be allowed to start all over again, to receive a fresh new start.
What would a convicted 31-year-old criminal give to have the chance to start all over again? It can not happen with man. The criminal record remains forever. But with God, we can begin anew and afresh every day.
Lost friend, if you will repent and turn from sin, God will let you begin anew. He will wash you white as snow. It is such a drastic new beginning that Jesus described it as being born again.
Romans 4:7b “. . . AND WHOSE SINS ARE COVERED.”
Covered, as a debt we were unable to pay; but taken care of by someone else. Covered, as an object too horrible for God to look upon. Covered, as something that leaves us naked and ashamed before God.
Sin is a filthy thing that shames us and makes our spirits embarrassed before God. Men usually realize that they need to have their sins covered. unfortunately, they try to cover it in the wrong way.
There is a human covering of sin which results in a curse. This consists in confessing it not, denying it, trying to hide or rationalized it. This effort to hide sin out of sight without sending it a way can never bring blessedness. “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (PR 28:13). The key to deliverance is confessing and forsaking sin. Your sin must be cast away upon an old rugged cross for it to be rightly covered.
Do not try to cloak sin or conceal it, as David once did (PS 32:3-4). As long as he hid his sin, his bones waxed old, and his inner moisture dried up. In other words, it ate away at his insides. His inner strength was dissipated as his conscience devoured him.
Sin is too big a stain for us to handle by ourselves. The garments of nakedness are too short and cannot cover us. We must borrow adequate covering from Jesus. Only His blood is sufficient to cover the stain. That is why we will wear robes in Heaven: to remind us that our righteousness was not something within us but rather something we received from Another, and put on as a gift.
Romans 4:8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE
LORD WILL NOT IMPUTE SIN.”
Blessed is the man of whom the Lord will not require all that his sin deserves. Sin cries out for condemnation. No sooner had Adam eaten of the fruit than he felt naked, hid himself, heard the curse, and saw the flaming sword. Sin makes us guilty. Sin deserves eternal death, but for the believer, the sentence is not carried out. The everlasting damnation is removed.
Sin is always punished in unbelievers and chastened in believers. But its everlasting consequences can be abated. The repentant sinner falls into the hand of God deserving to die. But Jesus gives instead everlasting life.
This is well-illustrated by David himself. He defiled Bathsheba, and then murdered Uriah the Hittite. David tried to hide it, but Nathan came to rebuke the king. The prophet told of a rich man who stole a poor man’s only possession–one little lamb.
David immediately went into a rage and passed this verdict–the rich man must repay the evil fourfold. Without realizing it, David had uttered his own punishment. David had to be chastened, and he was, fourfold, just as he had spoken. He paid four times for the blood of Uriah: first, Bathsheba’s baby boy died; second, first-born Amnon was killed; third, handsome Absalom died in rebellion; fourth, Adonijah was executed. God allowed four sons of David to be smitten.
The sin with Bathsheba was terrible. Had God based salvation on works, David would have never made it. However, forgivenenss and mercy flowed alongside the chastening and softened it. God allowed Bathsheba to bear the beloved son, Solomon. Also, the Lord placed her in the genealogy of Christ. And David himself was called “a man after God’s own heart.” God forgave David, but only because of grace.
David is in heaven now solely due to repentance and faith. He, too, was a sinner whose only hope was trust in the Lord for righteousness without works. He knew it. That is why he wrote the words of our text.
Dear friend, you can be saved right now. The path you are treading to destruction can be changed into a highway to Heaven. Your Hell can be changed to Heaven.
The hill of Calvary is your hill of comfort. The house of consolation is built with wood from the cross. Where misery reigned, woe triumphed; where agony reached its climax, there the soul can find its greatest delight.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling.
When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
This only then shall be my plea,
Jesus has lived and died for me.
You cannot do anything to earn your salvation. If you had a thousand years, your condition would only get worse, not better. Your only hope is the salvation provided as a gift by God.