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Sermon #43 — Romans Series


      Title:                                 Who is blessed?


      Text:                                  Romans 4:6-8

      Subject:               The Blessedness of Faith in Christ

      Reading: Psalm 32:1-11



To be blessed, in the sense that the word “blessed” is used in Holy Scripture, is to be fortunate, well-off, and happy. But the fact is, many who appear to be blessed, and think themselves blessed, are cursed; and many who appear to be cursed and even think themselves cursed are blessed. — Who is blessed? — That is my subject. — Who is blessed?


The Blessed


The Word of God specifically identifies some people in this world as people who are blessed of God, people who are in a perpetual and everlasting state of blessedness, people who are extremely well-off, supremely fortunate, and highly exalted by God.


Psalm 1:1-3 (1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


This blessed One is, of course, our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only man who fits the description of the blessed man in Psalm 1. But there are others who are blessed in him, because of him, from him, and with him.


Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.


Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.


Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.


Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.


Psalm 84:4-5 (4) Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. (5) Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.


Psalm 84:12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.


In his Sermon on the Mount, our Savior identifies those who are numbered among the blessed. Look at Matthew 5, and you will see that those who are blessed of God, fortunate, well-off, and happy, commonly appear to be anything but blessed.


Matthew 5:1-12 (1) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: (2) And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


The People Blessed


According to this Book, there are some people in this world who are truly blessed, blessed of God, blessed from eternity, blessed now, and blessed forever in Christ, blessed with all the blessings of grace here and all the blessings of everlasting glory hereafter (Ephesians 1:3). There are some sons and daughters of Adam who truly are blessed of God. Who are they? That is the question I want to answer in this message. — Who Is Blessed of God?


  • Those who Trust the Lord (Jeremiah 17:7; Luke 11:27-28).
  • Those who Fear the Lord (Psalm 128:1).
  • Those who are Not Offended by Christ (Luke 7:23).
  • Those who Endure Temptation (James 1:12).


There really are some in this world who are blessed of God. My question is this: – Are you among these blessed ones? Am I? You will find my text in the fourth chapter of Romans, verses 6-8 — Romans 4:6-8.


Romans 4:6-8 (6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


By Faith Alone


The apostle asks, How was Abraham justified? He answers, “By believing.” Then he asks, How was David justified? And he answers, “By believing.” In both cases by the “righteousness of God,” a righteousness “without works,” a righteousness “without law,” a righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets, a righteousness in accordance with all the Old Testament Scriptures, is set before us as a righteousness for the unrighteous, righteousness for sinners.


Paul’s question in our text is — What makes a blessed man? He is here he referring to David’s announcement of the blessedness he obtained from the Lord God in Psalm 32:1-2. There David is talking about the blessedness of forgiveness, the blessed non-imputation of sin. But David doesn’t say a word (specifically) about faith.


Psalm 32:1-2 (1) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.


Paul, writing by the same Spirit of Inspiration, interprets David’s words to speak of “the righteousness of God” freely imputed to sinners without works, by faith in Christ, “the righteousness of faith.”


Romans 4:6-8 (6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


The blessed man is the man to whom “God imputeth righteousness without works.” To a sinner this is absolutely essential. It is indispensable. There can be no blessedness in any other way. After the imputation has taken place, there are innumerable sources of blessedness, all pouring in their joy and peace; but this is the beginning. There can be no blessedness without this divine reckoning of righteousness. So, a sinner’s blessedness commences with faith in Christ. Heaven is begun within when we believe on the Son of God. — “In his favor is life” (Psalm 3:5).


Proposition: There is a blessedness to be enjoyed by sinners like us on earth — true blessedness — that which God calls blessedness, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


In spite of weariness, sorrow, conflict, cares, fears, and burdens, there is such a thing as blessedness. And this blessedness God freely gives to every poor, miserable, sorrowful, burdened, weary, thirsty, hungry, and heavy-laden sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, without money and without price.


The apostle, in quoting the words of David, prefaces and interprets them: — “David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”


Righteousness without works was that which David enjoyed. He obtained righteousness without working for it at all. Simply taking it from Christ, David called it his own.


We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God. We cannot be accepted of God and cannot worship God without perfect righteousness. God must deal with us, and we must deal with God, on the footing of righteousness, by grace reigning through righteousness, because the Lord our God is the righteous as well as the gracious God. When we go to him we must do so with righteousness in our hand — the righteousness of Christ, “the righteousness of faith,” the very “righteousness of God.


Our transactions with God must be righteous transactions; dealings between a righteous God and men who are, at the same moment, both righteous and unrighteous, and therefore needing both grace and righteousness.


No Works


Personal righteousness on our part is an impossibility. We cannot work for it; and we cannot get it by working. In going to God we must begin, not with works of righteousness, but with faith in Christ, who is our Righteousness. Only by believing Christ can we please God. We cannot come to God but by him, the Lord our Righteousness, whose righteousness alone satisfies both God and our own consciences. I repeat, only the righteousness of another can do this, “righteousness without works;” righteousness which does not depend on our doing, or feeling, or praying, or repenting, but righteousness which comes to us freely, as the gift of God, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”


·      The prodigal son did not work for the “best robe,” but got it all ready-made from his father’s hands.

·      Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his father’s love.

·      Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him.

·      So is it with the sinner coming to God by faith in Christ. — “Righteousness without works” is given us, put upon us as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit us for drawing near to God. — The Wedding Garment!


Illustration: Our Lord Jesus is that man who fulfilled the commandment of God by John the Baptist. — “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none” (Luke 3:11). — Christ has a coat of Divine Righteousness as God and a coat of righteousness as the God-man, “the righteousness of God,” “everlasting righteousness,” which he gives to sinners who have none.


Five things are spoken of by David, which make up this blessedness, five things vital to its existence.




First, righteousness must be imputed. This is what Paul declares throughout this portion of Holy Scripture (Romans 3:20-5:21). — The Scriptures speak of three acts of imputation

·      Adam’s Sin Imputed to All

·      The Sins of God’s Elect Imputed to Christ

·      Christ’s Righteousness Imputed to Sinners




Second, our iniquities must be forgiven, consciously forgiven, before we know anything of this blessedness.

·      Iniquities

·      Transgressions

·      Sin


The word “forgiven” means lifted up, sent forth, laid aside, cast off, taken away. That is what God does with our sins by the sacrifice of Christ. — Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree, and bore them away!


Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.


Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.


Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.


In the sweet experience of his grace, as soon as a poor, guilty soul, looking to Christ, confesses his sins, the Spirit of God lifts them from his conscience and casts them away!


Illustration: The Scapegoat


1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Psalm 32:1-11 (1) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

(5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

(6) For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. (7) Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

(8) I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (9) Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. (10) Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. (11) Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.


Psalm 51:1-11 (1) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (5) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (6) Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. (7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (8) Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (9) Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. (10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (11) Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.


There is forgiveness with God, that he may be feared; a complete, free, divine forgiveness, such as God delights to give and sinners rejoice to receive. — “He forgiveth all our iniquities!” He forgives without reserve, or stint, or uncertainty. He removes our iniquities from us as far as east is from the west. He retains not one. He blots out all.


Micah 7:18-20 (18) Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. (19) He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (20) Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.




Third, our sins must be covered. This covering speaks of atonement by the sin-atoning blood of Christ, by which our sins are covered…

·      From the Eye of God

·      Never Seen Again

·      Never Again Brought Up by God


Illustration: The Mercy-Seat

                                                                                                             Noah pitched the ark.


It is God who covers, not man. He covers by means of the blood of atonement. He covers by burying it in the grave of Christ. Thus our sins are completely covered, hidden, forgiven. They are first borne and then buried. Could any words more completely express forgiveness?




Fourth, if we would enjoy blessedness, true blessedness, we must have from God the blessed assurance of the non-imputation of our sins.


Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


There is absolutely no sense in which those who trust Christ shall ever be made to pay for their sins!

·      Our sins were imputed to Christ and shall never be imputed to us again (Romans 4:8).

·      Christ paid our debt to God’s law and justice; and God will never require us to pay.

·      God, who has blotted out our transgressions, will never write them again.

·      He who covered our sins will never uncover them!


No Guile


Fifth, if you will go back to Psalm 32, you will see a fifth thing essential to the blessedness of God’s salvation in Christ. — Only those in whom there is no guile, no deceit, no double-mindedness, no cunning craftiness, only those who are holy, enjoy this blessedness.


Psalm 32:1-2 (1) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.


In other words, if we are to enjoy this sweet blessedness of grace, we must be born again, we must be made new creatures in Christ, we must have a new man created in us, we must be made “partakers of the divine nature.

·      There is much guile in the old man.

·      There is no guile in the new man, created in righteousness and true holiness.


Turn to Isaiah 63. I want to show you something — Isaiah 63:7-9.


Isaiah 63:7-9 (7) I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. (8) For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. (9) In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.


Notice what God says about his children in verse 8. — “Surely they are my people, children that will not lie!” Here Lord Jesus assures us that those who are saved by his grace are “children that will not lie.” You may think, “That is not me;” and you are right, if you look at yourself in Adam. From the womb we went astray, speaking lies, and our hearts are altogether deceitful. The man in the pulpit and those in the pews are all liars, all the time. There are no exceptions.


What, then, are we to understand by these words, “Children that will not lie”? We are not to look at these children as they appear in union with Adam, or when left to themselves, but as they stand in blessed union with him who is “The Truth,” and as they are guided by the Spirit of Truth into communion with the God of Truth. They are “children that will not lie,” as they bow before him, confess what sinners they are, owning the sovereignty of his grace who plucked them as brands from the burning, and gave them a place among his children, freely confessing the efficacy of his blood that has put away their sin, and the perfection of his righteousness that makes them “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” That is exactly what the Holy Spirit declares in 1 John 1:7-10. Every heaven born soul walks in the light and will not lie before God. It is written…


“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


Therefore, because he has declared, “Surely they are my people, children that will not lie,” we read, “so he was their Savior.”


But there is more. — The new man, created in righteousness and true holiness is Christ in you; and that new man cannot lie (1 John 3:5-10).


1 John 3:5-10 (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.


Who is blessed?

·      All who are made the righteousness of God in Christ.

·      All whose iniquities are forgiven.

·       All whose sins are covered.

·      All whose sins will never be imputed to them.

·      All who are born of God.

·      All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


Salvation by grace is the blessedness of grace and the blessedness of life eternal. Oh, may God make it yours, for Christ’s sake!


Ephesians 1:3-6 (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.





Don Fortner








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