“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and donethis evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:2–4).
David had developed a sensitive heart toward sin. He experienced the misery of separation from God (Psalm 32:3,4), which drove him to repentance and confession, as we see in our text, and “thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (v.5). The third verse of the beautiful hymn, “All My Sins Have Been Forgiven,” reminds us of David’s, and our, inner turmoil.
How my countless sins depressed me, Gave me sorrow, shame and tearsHow His wrath and anger crushed me, Filled my heart with doubts and fears.But my soul cried out in anguish, Called for mercy and for grace, Jesus heard my supplication, granted pardon, and release.
The Creator placed within each person a conscience (Romans 2:15). Unless this is seared and made ineffective by the constant practice of willful sin, it convicts, and “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (II Corinthians 7:10). Our sin places us at “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7), and even if we only “offend in one point, [we are] guilty of all” (James 2:10). Sin exposes our lack of “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
The estranged son, who after rejecting what he knew was right, returned and said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21). He deserved nothing, but was granted his Father’s restored favor. “How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11) including forgiveness and restoration.
As with the forgiven David we can respond in thankfulness. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, . . . the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity” (Psalm 32:1,2). JDM