Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.
Previously Paul had given Abraham as evidence from the Old Testament for justification by faith. Now he gives a quotation from Psalm 32, written by King David. The Jews respected him as their greatest king. And they knew that he was a man after God’s “own heart” (1 Samuel 13; 14).
David had committed a serious crime and concealed it for a time. But his conscience troubled him (Psalm 32, 3.4), and the Psalm continues: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD. And you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (vv. 5.6).
Through a frank confession of his guilt David obtained forgiveness. And he calls people
“blessed” who have received God's forgiveness. Their sins are “covered”. From Romans 3,
25 we know by what means their guilt is “covered”: through the blood of Jesus Christ. God no longer imputes sin to them; He will never again accuse them of it.
When Paul cites King David, he also adds the positive side that David did not mention expressly: to those who trust in God's grace and admit their guilt He “imputes righteousness apart from works”. By means of his life and the words of the Psalm that God led him to write, King David is thus a proof of justification by faith apart from works of the law.
(to be continued next Sunday)