Thursday, March 08, 2007


How does God clean us? This is the question that lingers in my mind this morning after reading Psalm 51. Surely it has something to do with my sacrifices, doesn't it? That makes sense...I think. When I am "dirty" with sin, my sacrifices somehow cleanse me and pacify God's wrath against me. Blood has to be shed when there is sin, so sacrifice is a necessity. That is what I normally might think.

But I read about something different in David's Psalm here. Sin is doubt about it. David wants mercy. He wants to be washed. He wants joy and gladness. David wants to be clean.
So, how does he get clean? I see David appealing to God's character. It is because God is an unfailing-love kind of God. It is because he is a compassionate God. It is because God is the one who saves. God cleans us because God is all these things. He cleans us by being all the things. God's character is powerful enough to bring cleanliness to us.

Well, surely we have to do something, don't we?

Yes, but it is not burnt offerings. And it is only in response to his cleaning us.

Well, what do we do?

According to this Psalm, we fall down in humility. Our sacrifice is a broken spirit, a contrite heart. There is nothing we can do, but appeal to God in true humility. Any justifying of my actions that happens shows that true humility is not yet present. I must know and recognize that I am sinful...period.

I also notice that we teach others, but only afterwards. David says that he will teach transgressors God's ways and sinners will turn back to God. It is only after God cleanses us that we are able to tell others about what God has done. This brings glory to God and God alone.

So, God cleans us by his being God. We are cleansed in our humility before the God who was and is and is to come. Let us fall before the throne of the one who is highly exalted above all gods. Amen!

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