Kia ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
Yesterday I went for a walk to the Blue Spring just outside Putaruru. The spring is so clear it’s like looking through glass that has just been cleaned. You can watch trout swimming in the water and even though they are metres under water you feel like you can just reach out and grab them because the water is so pure.
Today, I have been mediating on Psalm 51 which talks about sin. Sin pollutes the well spring of our lives, just as untreated effluent from the nearby farms would sully and pollute the pristine beauty of the Blue Spring if it was allowed to drain unchecked into the spring.
When we sin, we feel its murky stain on our lives, its insidiousness and shame, and we long to have our purity and cleanliness before God restored. In the verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 51 the palmist, David longs for God to blot out his sin. He says, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin".
In this Psalm David displays not only a marvelous understanding of the nature of sin, but also of God’s character and the forgiveness he offers. There are three things David asks for. First, he understands that sin is like a crime. If criminals are to be delivered from the effects of their crime, they do not need justice but mercy. Sin is an illegal act, a violation of justice, and an act of lawlessness and rebellion and therefore requires mercy.
Then he says, “blot out my transgressions”, revealing that he understands sin is like a debt. It is something owed, an account that has accumulated and needs to be erased.
Finally, he cries, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin”. He understands that sin is like an ugly stain, a defilement upon the soul. Even though the act fades into the past, the dirty defiling stain remains a stigma upon the heart the well spring of our lives. So, he cries out and asks to be delivered from these things.
Notice that David understands well the basis for forgiveness. He asks on the basis of two things: first, according to God’s unfailing love. He understands that he himself deserves nothing from God. Some people are never able to realise the significance of forgiveness because they think they deserve it, that God owes it to them. But David knows better. He realises that only because of God's love may he even approach God to ask. On the basis of that unqualified acceptance, that marvelous continuing love towards us, he says to God, I am coming to you and asking now for this.
Second, as David appeals to God according to His great compassion, he again indicates his understanding of the character of God. God is not a penny pincher; He does not dole out bits of mercy, drop by drop. No, He pours it out. When God forgives, He forgives beyond our utmost imaginings. Two figures of speech that are used in the Old Testament depict the forgiveness of God. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). How far is that? Well, how far do you have to go east before you start going west? You never come to west. Then God says He will hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). What relief comes when we begin to understand this fullness of God's forgiveness. We also have God’s promise in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins that he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
So, if you if you’re tired of feeling the stain of sin on your life, why not follow David’s example and ask God to blot out your sin and bask in the purity of God’s forgiveness.
Father, thank you that I can come to You with my sin and cry out for mercy and love and on the basis of your Son’s sacrifice you will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.