Scripture Reading: “…blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2)
Predicated upon God’s unconditional and incomprehensible love, as well as upon God’s inexhaustible and everlasting mercies, David’s prayer for forgiveness was precipitated by his need to be washed and cleansed from the stain of his sin. Sin’s stain is most corrosive, not to mention humanly unmovable. It is a soiling of the soul that is impervious to all manmade detergents and human scrubbing; that is, to the sinner’s every attempt to cleanse himself from it.
Sin is the birthmark of all sinners, as David himself declares in verse 5, “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David is not saying that he was born illegitimately, but that he was born a sinner.
Along with being an inborn blotch upon us, sin is also a stain set in our very nature. Not only are we sinners by birth, but we are sinners by nature as well. Ours is a natural proclivity to sin.
Despite the birthmark of sin and the stain of sin set in our nature, it is not until we deliberately choose to sin that we become so blemished by it that God can no longer look upon us (Habakkuk 1:13). We all come to a point in our lives when we know to do good, but deliberately choose to sin instead (James 4:17). It is then, at that age of accountability, that we become accountable to God for our sin. Afterward, we are so blemished and soiled by the stain of sin that we are incompatible with and unacceptable to a pure and perfect God.
David understood, as all sinners should, that it takes divine intervention to deliver the sinner from the fallen human condition. Only something incorruptible—divine not human—can wash and cleanse us from sin’s corruption (1 Peter 1:18-19). Furthermore, our greater need, to be justified before God, or as David puts it, to have our sins blotted out, requires nothing short of a divine miracle of immeasurable proportions.
“It took a miracle to put the stars in place;
It took a miracle to hang the world in space.
But when [God] saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!” (John W. Peterson)