By Brooke Holt
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1–2)
One of my favorite hymns is “Blessed Assurance.” In the third stanza, we sing, “I in my Savior am happy and blessed.” What do you think when you see those two words together? More than popular hashtags on social media, happy and blessed are used throughout Scripture to describe those who walk by faith.
First, the word blessed is used throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and the New. The book of Psalms starts with this description of faith: “Blessed is the man…” (Psalm 1:1). And when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, he began each line with “Blessed are...” (Matthew 5:1–12). The words of Jesus in this sermon are challenging, if not downright confusing. Why would the poor in spirit, those who are mourning, the meek—why would these people be considered blessed?
To make it even more perplexing, this term blessed is understood to mean favored or even happy. Happy are the poor in spirit; happy are those who mourn. Or, according to David, happy are those whose sin is forgiven. Is this how you view your sin, brokenness, and forgiveness—as the means to experience God’s favor and happiness?
As Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Happiness comes through understanding this truth. You do sin; you do fall short of the glory of God. But there is complete forgiveness for your every sin. There is healing and restoration available to you when you see your sin, confess that sin, and turn to the Lord to receive his forgiveness. What sweet relief it is to know God’s abundant mercy and grace!
Blessed assurance is the invitation of the Christian life. And the season of Lent is a time for honest reflection, a time to allow the Lord to search you and know you. As you allow him to reveal your sin to you, the Holy Spirit within you draws you to repent of those sins and experience the fullness of God’s grace. As his grace abounds, your joy abounds. In Christ, you are forgiven of every transgression. In Christ, you are happy and blessed.
Are you living in the happiness of repentance and forgiveness? Take time this week to spend time with God in prayer. Ask him to forgive your sins and fill you with joy in him. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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