February 17, 2021
Psalm 51 (NIV)
To the tune of “Amazing Grace” (C.M.) Sing it at seedbed.com/soundtrack
1 From Your unfailing love, O God,
Have mercy upon me;
Blot out transgressions, cleanse from sin,
2 Purge my iniquity.
3 For my transgressions and my sin
are always in Your sight;
4 ’Gainst You alone, I’ve evil done,
And turned from what is right.
So You are right when You do speak
and judge me from within;
5 For from the time I was conceived,
I have been trapped in sin.
6 For truth is what You call us to,
Formed in our inward parts;
You teach me wisdom day by day,
In the depths of my heart.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, make me clean;
Wash me—I’ll be as snow;
8 Let me hear joy, let bones rejoice
which You once crushed below.
9 O hide Your face from all my sins,
Blot out iniquity;
10 Create in me a pure heart, God;
Renew Your life in me.
Renew my steadfast spirit, God,
11 And cast me not from You;
Don’t take Your Holy Spirit, Lord,
From me; Your Spirit true.
12 Restore to me salvation’s joy,
And grant, O Lord, to me
a spirit willing to praise You
and then sustained I’ll be.
13 Then I’ll teach sinners of Your ways
and they will turn to You;
14 Save me from bloodguilt, Savior God;
My tongue will sing Your truth.
15 Lord, open up my lips, my mouth
will Your great praise declare;
16 You don’t delight in sacrifice,
Or I would bring it there.
17 The sacrifices You require
are broken, contrite hearts;
O God, You won’t despise these if
they’re from our inward parts.
18 With pleasure, prosper Zion, Lord,
Build up Jerusalem;
19 Then righteous off’rings will be made;
And You’ll delight in them.
Can you remember your first real sin? I remember mine. I stole twenty dollars from my mother’s wallet, and to make it okay, I went out into the backyard, wadded up the money, threw it on the ground, and walked away about ten yards. Then I turned back around and walked back over to—surprisingly and delightfully—find a twenty-dollar bill wadded up on the ground. Someone must have dropped it! Brilliant! Then I invoked the “finders keepers” rule. Next, I made the ill-fated decision to run and tell my mom of my good fortune. How long do you think it took her to do the math on that one? Exactly.
That’s the junior version of stealing someone else’s wife, getting her pregnant, and then arranging her husband’s death. Song 51 was David’s confession in response to his treacherous sin.
I used to think I became a real sinner on that ill-fated day in the backyard. Now I know better. I used to think I was a sinner because I sinned. This Song tells me the hard truth: I was born this way. I was born into the corrupted lineage of the human race. I am not a sinner because I sin. I sin because I am a sinner. Major difference!
There are bigger questions afoot here: Am I destined to always sin? Am I forever stuck in the broken category of “sinner”? Can this cancer be cured, or is managing the size of the tumor the best we can hope for? If I was born this way, what are the implications of being born again?
Though a far, far cry from it today, the Methodist movement believed in and experienced a cure. They used the old-fashioned biblical term for it: sanctification. They believed a person could become so infused with the holiness of the love of God that sin would actually lose its hold on them. Another way of saying this is these men and women took the gospel at its word.
In a letter he wrote to a Mr. Walter Churchey, John Wesley put into words what he saw happening:
Entire sanctification, or Christian perfection, is neither more nor less than pure love; love expelling sin, and governing both the heart and life of a child of God. The Refiner’s fire purges out all that is contrary to love, and that many times by a pleasing smart. Leave all this to Him that does all things well, and that loves you better than you do yourself.
Do you believe this is possible? Your answer will be determinative of your future.
Song 51 is the beginning of the cure.
Ask Yourself. Share with Another.
Do you believe it is possible to grow so full of the love of God that sin as you know it loses its power over you? Why or why not?
For the Awakening,