April 18, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It is recorded in II Samuel 12:13 that King David confessed to Nathan “I have sinned against the LORD.” This was after the prophet had challenged him concerning his sin involving adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah to cover it up. This short confession was the condensed version of what David later wrote in Psalm 51. We are studying this psalm because it is perhaps the greatest model of godly confession and repentance ever penned. Today we will consider verses 3 through 6:
For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against
You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — that You may
be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was
brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You
desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to
Why does this section start with “For…”? Because it is linked back to the preceding thought in verses 1 and 2: “…blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” For the believer, cleansing from sin to restore fellowship – not relationship – with the Father is conditional upon confessing that sin to Him! I John 1:9 says this very thing: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So David acknowledged his transgressions.
And, unless your conscience is hardened by continuous living in unconfessed sin, you will experience what David did, “…my sin is ever before me.” Thank God He doesn’t let us off the hook easily! Our conscience will keep that sin before us until we tell Him all about it! That way, we can get back to enjoying the close presence of our Heavenly Father.
The next phrase of David’s confession is, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight….” Wait! Didn’t he grievously sin against Bathsheba, Uriah, and the whole Israelite nation over which he ruled and set a kingly example? Yes, he did! But primarily, all sin is against God, first and foremost! God is totally holy and just – “…just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” And we must first answer to Him! So – while we should make restitution to others against whom we transgress – we must deal primarily with God!
Some people have had trouble with the next statement: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” They find here what is construed to teach sex is sinful! That’s not what David is saying! He is putting forth the idea of total depravity! As Paul wrote in Romans 3:10 through 18:
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who
understands, there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of
the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does
good, no, not one….Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they
have practiced deceit…the poison of asps is under their lips….Whose mouth
is full of cursing and bitterness….Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruc-
tion and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known
….There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
It’s not a pretty picture of humankind! And it does not say every person has manifested all these traits! But humanity – taken together – surely has! We are born with a sin nature. And we will all sin before God! This is what David is expressing.
So we all are shot through and through with sin! But what does God want instead? “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” And He has made the way to replace our sin nature with a righteous one. It is called being “…born again.” (John 3:3 and 7; I Peter 1:23). When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior – trusting in His blood, His sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins – He, by His Holy Spirit, brings new life – actually a new creation – into our being! (see II Corinthians 5:17). We then have the capacity to live out our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit and not in slavery to sin!
I want this kind of truth – this kind of wisdom – in my life! Don’t you?