When US president Calvin Coolidge came home from church one Sunday, his wife asked him what the preacher had talked about. “He preached about sin,” Coolidge told her. “What did he say about sin?” she asked. Silent Cal replied, “He was against it.”
Most of us are relatively comfortable with our sin until something or someone makes us aware of it. In Psalm 51, David describes his inner struggle after the prophet Nathan accused him of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:1–14). Being sorry for his sin did not seem to come to David immediately or easily. He was reluctant to admit his guilt and had a difficult time seeing himself in the parable Nathan told.
Yet, when God opened David’s eyes, he realized how deep a problem his sin really was. There is more to sin than wrong choices and evil actions. Sin is a part of our nature. Like David, we were “sinful at birth” (v. 5). David also realized that he had done more than sin against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. His sin was ultimately against God (v. 4). Bathsheba and her husband Uriah were both victims. God is not a victim of our sin. Rather, He is our Judge and Redeemer.
God was the only One able to rescue David from his sin. Hyssop is mentioned in verse 7 because it was a plant used to sprinkle water and the blood of sacrifice—an image of cleansing. But it was not sacrifices or offerings that David ultimately looked to for help. David’s hope was in God. God alone could redeem him.
>> As we begin our study on sin and righteousness, come before God with an open heart. Ask Him to help you understand both your sin and His righteousness. Sin is an offense against God. And Jesus Christ is its only answer: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Lord, we may not welcome the topic of sin, but it leads us to rejoice when we consider the true value of Your grace. How can we understand what You have given unless we grasp what You have forgiven?