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Psalm 103:1-5; Romans 3:21-26

Psalm 103:1-5; Romans 3:21-26


I. Psalm 103 is all about God (This psalm is an inclusio)

1. The psalm contains 22 lines, the number of Hebrew alphabets

2. The Psalmist has a testimony which he probably uses whenever he goes through low morale and then uses it to encourage his fellow citizens and people of the world

(a) The psalmist was affected by a serious illness as a result of his sin
(b) This illness was so bad that he equates it to a pit/grave, sinking in it
(c) God forgave his grave sin

(d) God’s forgiveness was confirmed experientially by the psalmist in four different ways (verses 3-5)
(d1) Healing from his illness
(d2) Redemption from the pit
(d3) Restoration of his status (crowning with love and compassion)
(d4) Filling him with life and vitality that brought him to more productive life that he began to feel young

(e) This experience transformed the psalmist’s theology in which he recounts not only his own life experience, but life of his nation (vv. 6-18)
(f) And then the psalmist asks the entire universe to “bless” God (vv. 19-22)
(g) The psalmist sees God as Sovereign over the entire universe
(h) The psalmist past experience gives him confidence for the present and future
(i) In verses 1-3, the psalmist speaks to himself, who probably has a short memory, consequently going through a low morale

3. Let’s get back to verse 3 “God forgives all your sins”

II. General question about “forgiveness”

1. What is forgiveness?

(a) Dictionary definition: “Write off,” “cover it,” “forget and never remember” the mistake

(b) In Greek there are two words aphiemi and charizomi to mean “to send away,” “to let go,” or “to show favor” (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:7, 10; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13)

(c) In verse 3, the Hebrew word “salah” is used always for “God’s forgiveness”

(d) It is an act of grace whereby God pardons an offender, so that he or she no longer faces condemnation for their offense and their offenses are not counted against them

(e) In a normal sense, forgiveness often seems a gross violation of justice, in which an offender is left free from paying for the corresponding punishment

(f) God’s forgiveness of the offenders appears to go against His own words
(f1) Exodus 23:7: I will not acquit the guilty
(f2) Nahum 1:3: The LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished
(f3) Rom 1:18: God’s wrath is revealed . . . against all ungodliness and unrighteousness
(f4) Psalm 7:11: God is angry with the wicked every day
(f5) Psalm 5:5: He hates those who do iniquity
(g) God’s justice must be satisfied by the punishment of every violation of His law
(h) Nothing that a person offers to God could possibly atone for his offense/sin

(i) The Questions
(i1) How does God grant such forgiveness without compromising His own standard of justice?
(i2) How can He justify sinners without rendering Himself unjust?
(i3) How can He forgive sinners without breaking His own Word, having already sworn that He will punish every transgression?

(j) The Answer
(j1) Romans 3:25-26: God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus
(j2) God takes care of His justice without damning the sinner
(j3) God both fulfills His promise of vengeance against sin and forgives sinners
(j4) And God remains just while forgiving the ungodly

(k) God fulfilled the demands of justice by pouring out His wrath on a substitute

III. In light of Psalm 103:1-5, how does God’s forgiveness happen?

1. God’s forgiveness of a sinner is both an act and a process
2. In other words, God’s act of forgiveness is not a final act
3. In fact, it is only the beginning of a lot more to come
4. In other words, for God “forgiveness is not just “writing it off,” but bringing a person to a complete personhood

IV. Principles to think about

1. Forgiveness is to contain revengeful thoughts against the offender(s)
2. Forgiveness is to replace revengeful thoughts with love, compassion, and charity
3. Forgiveness is to imitate God-Jesus who forgave His offenders and Judas
4. Forgiveness is not forgetting, which is not possible

V. Take Away

1. Receive God’s forgiveness for all your offenses
2. Forgive a person who offended you
3. If possible, work in the life of the offender and restore him/her to a complete relationship

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at