Verse 2. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. The word blessed is in the plural, oh, the blessednesses! the double joys, the bundles of happiness, the mountains of delight! Note the three words so often used to denote our disobedience: transgression, sin, and iniquity, are the three headed dog at the gates of hell, but our glorious Lord has silenced his barkings for ever against his own believing ones. The trinity of sin is overcome by the Trinity of heaven. Non imputation is of the very essence of pardon: the believer sins, but his sin is not reckoned, not accounted to him. Certain divines froth at the mouth with rage against imputed righteousness, be it ours to see our sin not imputed, and to us may there be as Paul words it, "Righteousness imputed without works." He is blessed indeed who has a substitute to stand for him to whose account all his debts may be set down. And in whose spirit there is no guile. He who is pardoned, has in every case been taught to deal honestly with himself, his sin, and his God. Forgiveness is no sham, and the peace which it brings is not caused by playing tricks with conscience. Self deception and hypocrisy bring no blessedness, they may drug the soul into hell with pleasant dreams, but into the heaven of true peace they cannot conduct their victim. Free from guilt, free from guile. Those who are justified from fault are sanctified from falsehood. A liar is not a forgiven soul. Treachery, double dealing, chicanery, dissimulation, are lineaments of the devil's children, but he who is washed from sin is truthful, honest, simple, and childlike. There can be no blessedness to tricksters with their plans, and tricks, and shuffling, and pretending: they are too much afraid of discovery to be at ease; their house is built on the volcano's brink, and eternal destruction must be their portion. Observe the three words to describe sin, and the three words to represent pardon, weigh them well, and note their meaning. (See note at the end.)
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 1-2. See Psalms on "Psalms 32:1" for further information.
Verse 1-2,6-7. See Psalms on "Psalms 32:1" for further information.
Verse 2. Unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. Aben Ezra paraphrases it, of whose sins God does not think, does not regard them, so as to bring them into judgment, reckoning them as if they were not; ou me logizetai does not count or calculate them; does not require for them the debt of punishment. To us the remission is entirely free, our Sponsor having taken upon him the whole business of paying the ransom. His suffering is our impunity, his bond our freedom, and his chastisement our peace; and therefore the prophet says, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." Robert Leighton.
Verse 2. In whose spirit there is no guile. In the saint's trouble, conscience is full of Scripture sometimes, on which it grounds its verdict, but very ill interpreted. Oh, saith the poor soul, this place is against me! Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Here, saith he, is a description of a sincere soul, to be one in whose spirit there is no guile; but I find much guile in me, therefore I am not the sincere one. Now this is a very weak, yea, false inference. By a spirit without guile, is not meant a person that hath not the least deceitfulness and hypocrisy remaining in his heart. To be without sin, and to be without guile, in this strict sense are the same -- a prerogative here on earth peculiar to the Lord Christ 1 Peter 2:22 , "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." And therefore when we meet with the same phrase attributed to the saints, as to Levi, Malachi 2:6 ; "Iniquity was not found in his lips;" and to Nathanael, John 1:47 : "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile!" we must sense it in an inferior way, that may suit with their imperfect state here below, and not put that which was only Christ's crown on earth, and is the glorified saint's robe in heaven, on the weak Christian while militant here on earth, not only with a devil without, but with a body of sin within him. Wipe thine eyes again, poor soul, and then if thou readest such places, wherein the Spirit of God speaks so highly and hyperbolically of his saint's grace, thou shalt find he doth not assert the perfection of their grace, free from all mixture of sin, but rather to comfort poor drooping souls, and cross their misgiving hearts, which, from the presence of hypocrisy, are ready to overlook their sincerity as none at all, he expresses his high esteem of their little grace, by speaking of it as if it were perfect, and their hypocrisy none at all. William Gurnall.
Verse 2. In whose spirit there is no guile. When once pardon is realized, the believer has courage to be truthful before God: he can afford to have done with guile in the spirit. Who would not declare all his debts when they are certain to be discharged by another? Who would not declare his malady when he was sure of a cure? True faith knows not only that guile before God is impossible, but also that it is no longer necessary. The believer has nothing to conceal: he sees himself as before God, stripped, and laid open, and bare; and if he has learned to see himself as he is, so also has he learned to see God as he reveals himself. There is no guile in the spirit of one who is justified by faith; because in the act of justification truth has been established in his inward parts. There is no guile in the spirit of him who sees the truth of himself in the light of the truth of God. For the truth of God shows him at once that in Christ he is perfectly righteous before God, and in himself he is the chief of sinners. Such a one knows he is not his own, for he is bought with a price, and therefore he is to glorify God. There is no guile in the spirit of him whose real object is to glorify Christ and not himself. But when a man is not quite true to Christ, and has not quite ceased to magnify self, there may be guile, for he will be more occupied with thoughts about himself than with the honour of Christ. But if the truth, and honour, and glory of Christ be his supreme care, he may leave himself out of the question, and, like Christ, "O commit himself to him that judgeth righteously." J. W. Reeve, M.A., in "Lectures on the Thirty-second Psalm," 1860.
Verse 2. No guile. Sincerity is that property to which pardoning mercy is annexed. True, indeed, it is that Christ covers all our sins and failings; but it is only the sincere soul over which he will cast his skirt. Blessed is he whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. None will doubt this; but which is the man? The next words tell us his name; And in whose spirit there is no guile. Christ's righteousness is the garment which covers the nakedness and shame of our unrighteousness; faith the grace that puts this garment on; but what faith? None but the faith unfeigned, as Paul calls it. 2 Timothy 1:5 . "Here is water," said the eunuch, "what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Ac 8:36. Now mark Philip's answer, Acts 8:37 , "If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest;" as if he had said, Nothing but an hypocritical heart can hinder thee. It is the false heart only that finds the door of mercy shut. William Gurnall.
Verse 2. Guile. The guile of the spirit is an inward corruption in the soul of man, whereby he dealeth deceitfully with himself before God in the matter of salvation. Thomas Taylor.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1-2. The nature of sin and the modes of pardon.
Verse 2. Non imputation, a remarkable doctrine. -- Prove, explain, and improve it.
Verse 2. No guile. The honesty of heart of the pardoned man.