Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Sin Requires Radical Transformation Published week of october 11, 2020
There are three different words for wrongdoing. First, the word “transgression” means, 'to cross a forbidden boundary,' and, 'to rebel against God’s law.' Secondly, the word “iniquity” means, 'perversity,' because if you think about it, it is perverse to think that you could sin against an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God and get away with it. Thirdly, the word “sin” literally means, 'to miss the mark.' It doesn’t just mean to miss the mark of what God wants for you, but it means to miss the mark of what is best for you.
This truth is very important. The psalmist doesn’t call sin a mistake, misfortune or a misjudgment. Rather, he calls it what God calls it—Sin. This is why the Bible uses the word “confess” in relation to our sin (e.g. 1 John 1:9) which literally means, to agree with God on what sin is and say the same thing about our sin. To be straightforward: It is not an affair - it is adultery; it isn’t fudging the figures - it is lying; it is not borrowing indefinitely - it is stealing. To get rid of sin takes radical transformation, so what does the writer of Psalm 51 request?
David asks God to blot out his transgressions. You see, sin leaves a record and the psalmist wants the record wiped clean. In this time period, if a Hebrew committed some kind of an offense, he could perform some kind of a sacrifice to pay for it, but there were two sins that no one could pay for—adultery and murder. The author of this Psalm, King David, had committed both. Think about it: is impossible to take the act of adultery back and you can’t restore the life that you took. The only thing David could do was go to the only One that could wipe the slate clean and that is God.
Then, the psalmist petitions God, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity.” Sin doesn’t just make you guilty in the eyes of God; rather it makes you dirty. Sin can take a individual's healthy conscience and make one feel filthy and contaminated. It's like the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) who wound up in the pigpen of life. This leaves the sinner wanting to take a sin shower. You want to come clean so you will be clean. David says, “Cleanse me from my sin.” The word “cleanse” means, 'to purge.' It literally means, 'de-sin me'. He is asking for a spiritual detox, because that is the only thing that will provide release from guilt. Sin causes you to miss God's best for you. However, our gracious God is always willing to receive you in your sin, forgive you, clean you up, and restore you to righteousness so that you may live in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
Heavenly Father, I confess my sins to you today. In doing so, through Jesus, I ask that You wipe them away and blot them out. Please cleanse me from my sin and its penalty. Lord I want to be controlled by Your Holy Spirit so that He helps me put these sins behind me in order that I may live more fully for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.