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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 32

 

 

Verses 1-11

Psalms 32

Proper Psalm for Ash Wednesday (Morning).

Psalms 32-34 = Day 6 (Evening).


Verse 3-4

THE COMFORT OF REPENTANCE

‘For while I held my tongue: my bones consumed away through my daily complaining. For Thy hand is heavy upon me day and night: and my moisture is like the drought in summer.’

Psalms 32:3-4 (Prayer Book Version)

We all of us know that repentance of our sins is necessary for us, if we hope to be saved in the next world. True repentance is the path, the only path, of forgiveness, of restoration to God’s favour, of becoming good and holy. But—

I. What is repentance?—It is the breaking off with our sins. It is not merely being sorry for them; not merely looking them in the face and admitting the truth when conscience convinces us that we have done wrong. All this is very necessary; confession of sin is part of repentance; it is the beginning, and without it there can be no true repentance. But it is not the whole; sorrow and self-reproach, the broken and humbled heart, is a part of repentance, but it may stop short of repentance itself. Only when we break off from our sin is repentance fulfilled in earnest. There are several points which we might consider in connection with repentance; there is the benefit of repentance; its necessity. Here we will consider only—

II. Its comfort.—Besides all the other good things there are in repentance, there is great and solid comfort. There is a comfort in the feeling sorry for our sins, however deep and sharp the pain may be which goes with it; but this sort of comfort by itself is not abiding, and will not profit us much. There is a better and truer comfort, in being able honestly to confess our sins. As long as the Psalmist tried to hide from himself that he was doing wrong he was miserable; as long as he tried to shelter himself under vain excuses, as long as he was too proud to own his sin, there was a load on his heart. Then he resolved to be bold and honest to own his sin. And then came comfort, the comfortable sense of being at peace with the Father, Who forgives the sins of His children when they own their sin. But this comfort is not to be depended upon, and will not last unless something more follow. People can confess their wrong-doings, and yet make no real attempt to put an end to them. If we rest on the comfort of confession alone, it may become a very dangerous delusion. Seeing, feeling, owning, confessing, all this will not of itself mend our condition or relieve our conscience. There is only one way—breaking off for good what is wrong. Repentance is, after we have seen and felt and confessed and bewailed our misdeeds, really giving them up. This will not only bring us safety, forgiveness, the favour of God, the hope of everlasting rest; it will bring us, beside this, comfort. We can bear much when we are at peace within. Repentance, with its trials, its sacrifices, its self-denials, has also comfort, which outweighs them all—the comfort of being at peace not only with God, but with our own hearts.

The beginning of repentance may be with clouds and storms, with perplexity and distress of heart; but let it be in earnest, the honest breaking off from what is evil, and the clouds will soon give way to calm and sunshine, and it will be to us the path leading us, through peace and contentment here, to the rest of glory in God’s kingdom in heaven.

—Dean Church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 32:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/psalms-32.html. 1876.

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