Psalm 51: musings

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Psalm 51: (My life-line)

1 Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I have been thinking about deliberate sin. Which I think is transgression. i.e. sin that you know is wrong from what you have been taught and which your conscience confirms.

What is very striking about this Psalm is that it is clearly the penitence of one who already knows God. I.e he says that his sin is ever before him (so he knew what he was doing was wrong and it weighed heavy on him), and he said ‘renew’ a right spirit within me. Those are the type of prayers that I prayed when I came back to God. I confessed that I did not have control of my heart and that it ‘slips’, and asked God himself to keep me on the track – i.e for him to renew a right (or steadfast – Hebrew word also means this) spirit in me.

I then started thinking that sin is not really quantifiable. I had been questioning whether deliberate sin could be forgiven a Christian. I really have always believe it could and is. But here I’m studying the Biblical evidence for it. In terms of church discipline, there is a time when the church asks for repentance, and after comes excommunication if there is none. I had originally thought there when could be a few deliberate sins, before repentance and forgiveness. But actually, unrepentant sin (whether deceitfully justified or not) is a condition of the heart. It is going against conscience, and hardening your heart. Therefore sin is a condition of the heart. If this condition can be present in a born again Christian for a short time, it can also be present for a long time. And if it can be forgiven after a short time, it can also be forgiven after a long time.

And that is the main thing about Psalm 51. David is admitting that his heart is wrong, and asking God to fix it – to renew it to the way that it was before – really very amazing indeed!!!!

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