I have sat in my sin. The same sin I regurgitated time and time again. It varies in the type of sin. Sometimes it’s gluttony. Often it’s pride. Sometimes it’s despair. Often it’s laziness. My soul cycles through sin again and again and again… My soul while it wallows in sin, expecting to find boundless joy and delight, instead gleans dry bitterness and misery.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”
I desperately needed salvation. And the beautiful gift is that joy is inextricably linked to my neediness. So often I think of joy being rooted in my self-sufficiency or amazingness. But here I see that joy is rooted in desperate neediness. Only those in need require salvation.
“And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
David sinned grossly. He committed murder and adultery. These are sins that time has not softened and culture has not minimized. But here, in this moment of confession, David acknowledges God’s generosity towards him as a sinner. Let’s not forget that, as a result of David’s sin, God had already taken the life of David’s baby. In addition, He promised that the sword would not depart from David’s house. Turmoil and anarchy would characterize the remainder of David’s reign. Yet David speaks of joy in God and God’s “generous” Spirit
Too often we cheapen grace by forgetting that sin always has a price-tag. Yet, when God disciplines us to keep us from sin’s destructive path, that action is grace—undeserved. God could just wipe us out, but instead “He disciplines those He loves.”
“And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,”
But some of us struggle with “grace” in a different way. We sit there and say, “Please God bring on the punishment. I’m a worthless worm. I’m going to sit here and wallow in shame until your lightning bolts strike me!”
To this person, these verses offer a second perspective on grace.
David says that God has the ability to turn his egregious sins into opportunities to proclaim God’s generosity to everyone—so much so that people will be converted! David says, “You have turned my sin around so graciously that I’ve now got an amazing story to share! It’s so amazing that people will hear it and run to you, because you are so gracious and amazing!”
It is tempting to take our sin and sweep it under the rug. I don’t naturally want to tell you that my biggest battle is healthy eating. I don’t want you to know the battle that French fries cause, and I certainly don’t want to tell you when I’ve stumbled, fallen, and indulged my flesh rather than served my Savior. I want to cover that up. Food seems like such a stupid reason to scorn my salvation. But then again, any sort of sin: arrogance, elicit sex, worry, idolatry… they all seem so bitter and disgusting when shown in the light of the cross. We cringe and wish we could hide our insufficiency, but here the psalmist drags it into the light. These sins serve a greater purpose: they whisper our failings, yes, but they shout the beauty of our God’s salvation.
Don’t cheapen grace. Remember that discipline is part of grace. Jesus paid sin’s price tag, but our loving Father still won’t let us get joy out of sin. It will always cost so that we run back to Him. And for those of us who think we’re too repulsive for grace to touch, remember that God has the ability to turn traitors into teachers, and iniquities into instruction for others.
“And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.”
Those who shout the loudest in joy, are those who are most aware of how far they fell, and how great their rescue truly was. So, sing your redemption, proclaim the lessons of past sin. And delight in a God who ransoms the ugly and transforms it to joy.