“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” – Psalm 51:1-2
Throughout my twenty-five years of ministry, countless people have told me that, if God knew what they had done, he would not want anything to do with them. If I am honest, I have entertained similar thoughts about myself. When we allow God’s light to shine into our lives, we see all of the messes hidden behind our many facades. But those sins and dirty little secrets were never hidden from the Lord. He has always known and will always know everything about us, and still, he chooses to offer us abundant mercy through his Son. In his steadfast love, he welcomes sinners into his perfect embrace.
The Bible is full of stories about people who received God’s grace and steadfast love, despite committing some fairly spectacular sins. Moses was a murderer. Saul viciously persecuted the Christians before his conversion. King David is another prime example. First, he had an affair with another man’s wife. Not only did he lure Bathsheba into adultery, but then he had her husband, a righteous man, killed on the battlefield to hide her pregnancy. King David was a royal failure! While he tried to conceal his sins, the Lord confronted him through the prophet Nathan. Nothing is hidden from the eyes of God.
Although the Lord confronted King David about his sin, he did not turn away from him. Isn’t that beautiful and amazing? He continued to love David, to forgive him, and to use him for his purposes. What an awesome demonstration of God’s grace, steadfast love, and redemption! While David would experience the consequences of his sin, the Lord stayed close and continued to work in his life.
Human beings are inclined toward extremes. Some people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge their sin at all. They know it exists, and it might even eat away at their conscience, but they do not want to shine a light into those dark places. At the other end of the spectrum are people who see their sin and choose to wallow in their failure. They allow their flaws and mistakes to define them and prevent them from accepting Christ’s salvation. But the Lord convicts us of sin so that we can see it, acknowledge it, and then turn from it. That is the process of repentance. After receiving Jesus’ forgiveness, we are to move on, knowing those sins have been washed clean. Paul says we are new creations in Christ; the old is gone and the new is come (2 Corinthians 5:17). That new creation is a one-time experience of justification and an ongoing experience of sanctification. Sin is never to define us or hold us back, for the grace of Jesus Christ has set us free from that bondage.
If a man anointed to be the king of Israel could fall to such depths of sin and receive God’s abundant mercy and forgiveness, so can we. Will we allow God to reveal our sin? Will we acknowledge it? And once we turn from that sin, will we fully embrace the mercy and forgiveness he offers? There is nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39)! You cannot out-sin God’s grace! His mercy is abundant, as is his steadfast love. May you come before him ready to be cleansed, healed, forgiven, and redeemed. And may you rejoice that his mercy and love will always be there when you stumble or falter. He is ready to receive you today, tomorrow and every day until you see him face to face.
Reflect and Respond:
Spend some time praying David’s beautiful and heartfelt words. What does the Lord want you to know about your sin and his mercy and love? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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