Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight.
Psalm 51 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon.
A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in
me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
David, the psalmist says: Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight. It is important to note that David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. He was complicit in the death of her husband, ordering him to be sent to the front lines of the battle. His actions led to the death of the child born from his union with Bathsheba. Yet with all who were affected by his actions, he says: Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight. We too need to realize that we do not sin against other people. We do not sin against the culture or the society. People may be affected by our transgressions, but sin is against God and God only. Like David, we too need to recognize that it is God and God only who can forgive us of our sins; who can blot out our transgressions, wash and cleanse from our iniquity. We can be forgiven of the hurts and offenses we cause other people, but only God can forgive sin. Our appeal to have our sin forgiven, like David, is not based on our own merit; it does not come through our justification of our actions, but rather through the acknowledgment of our sin. 1 John 1:8-9 says: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Again it is not based on our own merit. We do not earn forgiveness or offset our sin with good works. As David says, our forgiveness is afforded us because of God’s grace, His loving kindness and compassion. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We are forgiven because of God’s love and grace, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Acts 4:12 says: There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Jeremiah 17:9 says: The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Human philosophy and human tendency is to not only try to understand our deceitful desperately sick hearts, but also to justify why we do what we do. In the garden, both Adam and Eve tried to pass the blame for their disobedience; Adam to Eve and Eve to the serpent. In our culture and society, rather than acknowledging our sins, psychology shifts the blame for our actions to our circumstances and our experience. The argument that I was born this way is perhaps the only one that is valid, because we all were born as sinners with deceitful hearts. David says: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. The answer is not to justify our actions, it is to allow God to create a new heart in us; to renew us and restore us. God not only cleanses us from our sin, but He gives the Holy Spirit; His steadfast, willing Spirit so that we can be restored to what He intended for us. In Genesis 1:26 God said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” That is what we are restored to, the image and likeness of God. That is the joy of our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins through Christ.
Look at David’s response to what God will do. He says: Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. Like David, rather than trying to justify our sin, we need to respond to God’s forgiveness with thanksgiving, with joy and with faithfulness to teach others of the way to forgiveness. Our response to the love of God demonstrated in the cross of Christ should be that we love Him. 1 John 4:19 says: We love because He first loved us. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In Matthew 28:18-20 He says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Like David, our response to the forgiveness of God; our response to His love, His grace and His compassion should be thankfulness, faithfulness and obedience. We too should teach others all that Jesus commanded.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for Your love, Your grace and Your compassion. Thank You that although I was born
a sinner with a sick and deceitful heart, You have redeemed me from sin, You have given me a new heart and You have restored me to all that You intended for me. Holy Spirit, in response to the love and grace of God, in response to His forgiveness of my sin,
help me to walk in faithfulness and obedience, teaching others the way of God; the way of forgiveness; through Jesus Christ and the cross. Against You only have I sinned and by You only I am redeemed. Amen.