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. Selah. Psalm 32:5—NKJV

Have you ever noticed something was poorly named? Names of companies such as Amigone Funeral Home, Sidewalk Pizza, Blouen Motors, or Fellon’s Jewelers are real names but they better not be selling what they are called. The Athlete’s Foot shoe store is probably hoping you assume all you are bringing home is a pair of running shoes.

Sins are not immune to being misnamed in our society. We tend to think of sin as some sort of indiscretion easily remedied or a mere dabble in something which none should mention again. We call sin’s many outward manifestations a “disease” or “normal” human behavior, and in so doing attempt to minimize negative feelings. We paint lies white, and in our kinder moments we act upon the “ideal” that the end justifies the means (something God can never bless).

God has a reason for naming sin with precise accuracy. Our text will show that until we name sin as God does, true repentance escapes us and the effectual remedy to sin cannot be applied.

Our text uses three words for sin, which serve to identify three categories of sin. The first is translated “sin” and means, “to miss the mark” as in to miss the target and so fail to succeed and win the prize, to misstep, fail, and to forfeit. Sins need to be “acknowledged” or better translated “made known.” We have a crying need to be humbled before our God, and fully knowing what we have done in falling short of the perfect target of God is necessary to a healthy humbling of the soul. We need to make known to Him our failures and forfeits.

The Second word is “iniquity” and is indicative of the perverse tendency of the heart. It applies to being declared guilty before our holy God and fully deserving the sentence of death which comes with it. Iniquity turns something that was right into something that is wrong. We were turned away from the image of God to a perversion of His truth. It is a twisting and turning aside or to the wrong way, a distortion of what was pure and true. Our usual response is to cover and hide our guilty behaviors with further acts meant to divert attention away. We seek to bury and cloak the stench of our sin. David enjoins us to not cover up our guilt.

The third term is “transgressions,” referring to the rebel’s heart which resides within each of us. Left to ourselves, we are rebellious and desire to break loose and tear away in our disloyalty to our heavenly Master. The broken response of the humbled rebel heart is to confess all rebellions to Jehovah, to acknowledge and forsake the rebel’s cause, and renew your allegiance to the Covenant Keeping God.

The final phrase states, “You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Iniquity of my sin speaks to the shattering effect of sin upon your relationship with God, your fellow man and upon your own heart. Open confession and forsaking what God identifies as sin is required of those who will have their sins taken away by the blood of the Lamb. Proverbs 28:13 states, “He that covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” David did not experience relief of guilt until he had recognized sin for what it was and confessed it as such.

What sins do you need to identify, confess, and forsake in your life? What have you done to miss God’s perfect standard, twist His perfect law, and rebel against His love? Do you experientially know the blessings described in Psalm 32:1–2 because your sin has been removed by the Lord Jesus Christ? Trust and obey.