To judge that David's sins of adultery and murder were heinous sins is certainly correct, but Scripture does not want us to stop there. David himself wholeheartedly declares in one of our versifications of Psalm 51:
O wash me wholly from my guilt
And make me clean within,
For my transgressions I confess,
I ever see my sin.
The words as David wrote them are, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me" Psalm 51:2,3.
It ought to be noted then that not even once does David in this Psalm cry out for escape from the punishment he deserves. The desire for this is certainly implied in his cry for mercy. But the emphasis throughout the Psalm is on the sin, not upon the punishment called for by his sin. There is no spiritual value in a mere desire to escape punishment. All sinners want that, and if this is all that we want, there will be no mercy for us. We must, as the versification expresses it, want to be made clean within. We must want sinful thoughts and desires washed out of our souls. Note that David confesses that his sin is ever before him. His sin bothers him; and from it he wants to be set free.
How is that in your life? A prayer for nothing more than escape from punishment will not be heard or fulfilled. There must be a sincere desire to be set free from the power as well as from the punishment of sin. David sets a beautiful example for us here in this Psalm. Yes, the David who committed such heinous sins, also sets a good example afterward.
Follow then in David's footsteps which are presented here. Pray for a thorough cleansing from sin in every aspect of it. It must all be there, if we are to be assured that the cross of God's Son blotted out all our guilt and that His Spirit will set us free from the power of sin. He brought salvation for the body, but also for the soul. He saves us to the uttermost.
Read: Hebrews 9
Psalter versification: 143:1
Devotions on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 126
Why not sing along??
Through the Bible in One Year
Exodus 2:11-25; Exodus 3:1-22
Quote for Reflection:
… there are various burdens which delay and impede our spiritual course, such as the love of this present life, the pleasures of the world, the lusts of the flesh, worldly cares, riches also and honors, and other things of this kind. Whosoever, then, would run in the course prescribed by Christ, must first disentangle himself from all these impediments, for we are already of ourselves more tardy than we ought to be, so no other causes of delay should be added. - John Calvin