Thomas J. Jones (1896-1970) was a dynamic British preacher and Bible teacher, much in demand by American congregations. He taught at North Central Bible Institute in Minneapolis, MN, for 21 years (while there, he was my dad’s professor) and was known as a man who could make the Old Testament come to life. The following excerpts are from his article, “The Blessedness of Salvation”, in the Pentecostal Evangel dated June 20, 1942.
(Psalm 32) is the Penitent’s Psalm. It was written by David after he had gotten right with God. You remember his grievous sin, don’t you? For a period of time – about twelve months – he kept it to himself and, in this Psalm, he tells the experience he had while he did so. “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long,” he says. “For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (v3-4). How typical was his experience!
Notice that there are three words used to describe evil: transgression, sin, and iniquity (vv1-2). Likewise, there are three terms used to describe God’s method of dealing with evil: forgiven, covered, and imputed not.
I suppose that if there were ten thousand words to describe all the varied forms of evil, there would be ten thousand other words used to describe God’s all-sufficient remedy for every phase of evil. Why do I say that? Because where sin abounded, grace superabounded. Don’t say, “much more abounded.” That is merely comparative. Go to the superlative and say “superabounded.” Where sin abounded, grace reached to the top until it couldn’t reach any higher.
I am glad we have a gospel that can deal with transgressions, sins, and iniquities. The three words are not synonyms. God does not use words merely to sound nice. They are God-breathed. God is in them. The Bible is different from every other book. You can take every word and, the more minutely you examine it, the more wonderful it seems. Why? Because it is the Word of God.
1. Transgression. Trans means “across”; gression means “stepping.” A transgressor is one who steps across – one who willfully, defiantly crossed the line into forbidden territory and does what he ought not to do.…(He) is a willful, defiant rebel against the authority of God.
2. Sin. All people do not join the group of willful sinners. But all are guilty of sin….To sin is to miss the mark. God says we must measure up to a certain standard. A sinner is one who fails to measure up to that standard, one who comes short of the glory of God, one who misses the mark.
3. Iniquity. This word is the opposite of “equity.” Equity means “justice, straightness, perfect rectitude.” Iniquity means perversion, twistedness, distortion. It is a word used to describe the inward depravity of the human heart.
But we have a gospel that is indeed “good news.” It is glad tidings. The message is that, although we are transgressors, although we are sinners, although our hearts are iniquitous, God has provided a way to deal with every phase of evil. Hallelujah!
1. “Transgression is forgiven.” In Hebrew the word means that the burden that is upon that one is taken off, put on a substitute, and carried away. Oh the blessedness of the man whose transgression has been lifted off, laid on a substitute, and carried away.
2. “Sin is covered.” The Hebrew word for “covered!” comes from the same root word from which comes “mercy seat.” The Hebrew mercy seat had a golden lid that exactly covered the two stones of the law. The New Testament says that Jesus is our Mercy Seat. He is the covering lid that makes it possible for a poor broken-hearted, failing sinner to come to his God so that, instead of Sinai’s thunder and lightning causing him to tremble, God’s smile and blessing and forgiveness come upon him.
3. “The Lord imputeth not iniquity.” The word “impute” means to reckon, to count. It is a bookkeeping term. There is a big sheet of my iniquities…. The iniquities are all charged to me. They are put down on my account. But this blessed verse speaks of Jehovah imputing no iniquity. Why? Because the account has been canceled. Someone else has paid the bill, and written across the account, “Canceled.” Jehovah caused to fall on Him the iniquities of us all. The damnable debt was transferred to Him, and my iniquities are no longer imputed to me.
Why don’t you let this blessedness, this benediction of heaven, cover your poor heart? Our Lord Jesus is the mighty, all-prevailing answer to every problem that sin has brought into a human life. We have a Saviour that covers our failures.
This Sunday, July 23, we will continue our teaching series, “Summer in the Psalms”, with Psalm 32, "How blessed is the one whose sin is Forgiven!" Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday at 10:35am to both locations.
The "Celebration of Life" service for Margaret Draper will be here on Thursday, July 20, at 10am, to be followed by lunch.
Aloha ke Akua!