Today, and the rest of this week, I have little time to write so I will highlight last night’s homily. Psalm 51 is very significant for me. In verses 4 and 5 David acknowledges the greatness of his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah.
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. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:4-5)
His sin was against God – all sin no matter who it is directed toward is against God. That awareness drives David, the “man after God’s own heart,” to confess his depravity from conception. In that statement he was not excusing himself for having a nature to sin; he was owning it.
I am thankful for conviction of my sinfulness. The word "convict" means to unveil and reveal what was hidden. It is not an emotion of remorse. Remorse accompanies conviction as we see the true state of our soul, but conviction itself is the consciousness of our sin/sinfulness.
So often we settle for an unveiling of our individual transgressions in hopes of quickly making things right with God, a little adultery, one little murder, and “oh, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” David was thrust by the gravity of his sins into the realization of his deep sinful nature. He saw himself as he was, unrighteous and unacceptable to God. This unveiling of our inner wickedness comes only by the work of the Holy Spirit who searches the deep things of the human heart.
In my experience the Spirit has two special tools to pull back the curtain on our inner nature, shame and the glory of God. It was shame in David’s case. The sins he thought he had covered were fully known to God who used the prophet Nathan to surface them, “Thou art that man.” It is a gift from God when our sins are exposed. Public shame can cause us to look more deeply into the recesses of our lives to find the source of our self-delusion.
The glory of God is my preferred source of conviction. In the presence of God sin cannot survive. In His presence, all that does not belong before Him is exposed and must be dealt with. I have found that the closer I draw to God the more I want to be pleasing to Him. In His graciousness He lets me see what I need to lay aside. Often it is not anything I or others would have considered sin, just weights that hinder. But as I wrestle with letting go of minor things I am gripped with an awareness of how far I am from full surrender. I believe in entire sanctification, so much so I have had to pray through to it many times. Then just when I think I have arrived God pulls back the curtain on my soul.
Right now I am thankful for the consciousness that I need to draw close to Him, have my sins revealed to me, and die to them. “Lord, help me draw close, cover me with your hand in the cleft of the rock (yesterday’s morning sermon from Exodus) until I am clean and I hear you speak Your name into my soul. Make me acceptable in your sight, I pray.”
February 22, 2010