The problem that leads to our sin is not the most serious problem. What happens in our heart after our sin should be most feared.
Am I willing to be undone? If not, a heart of rebellion is growing. In Greg Gilbert's book, What Is The Gospel?, he teaches that sin is ultimately not about what I may have done or not done but rather my refusal to submit to God's sovereign right to rule over my life. Sin is rebellion. Sin is my saying to God that I will do what I want. Sin is allowing my heart to exist in a place of delusion...to feel as though I have the right to rule myself. Becoming undone keeps my heart moving toward submission to God and moving away from its natural inclination for self rule.
If ever there was a Psalm written for us when we are in that precarious place of having sinned (violated our sense of right and wrong in regards to something moral, maybe a matter of conscience, or even failing to forego a liberty all of which are found in Romans 14 and let's not forget failing to do the good we should which is found in James 4:17) we have Psalm 51. When I read Psalm 51 I read about a man who is willing to become undone.
What is being undone? Undone means I lay down all defensiveness. I make no justifications for my actions. I make no excuses. I stop trying to convince others that my situation is unique. I don't blame. I don't minimize the pain I've caused. Being undone stops looking for an excuse. Finding people who can model this for us is like a snow leopard spotting in India...will I ever see one! God most certainly did NOT choose for King David to sin but because he did, God was able to use David as a snow leopard spotting for all of humanity...let's see him together.
I begin by sharing some quotes from prominent Christians throughout history in referencing Psalm 51. Victorinus Strigenlius (1524-1569), "This Psalm is the brightest gem in the whole book, and contains instruction so large, and doctrine so precious, that the tongue of angels could not do justice the full development." Thomas Chalmers writes, " This is the most deeply affecting of all the Psalms, and I am sure the one most applicable to me." William S. Plumer writes, "This Psalm is often and fitly called the sinner's guide. It is the first used to reference "The Spirit" as the Holy Ghost, was a favorite of Athanasius, and Luther himself wrote no other Psalm was more often sung or prayed in churches." But I only need the history of my own life to realize the preciousness and wisdom of these words.
Verse 3 (NLT) is where you and I should start reading, "For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night." Then and only then can we receive from God the mercy, compassion, and cleansing He so freely gives that is promised in verses 1 and 2. Look at how verse 4 follows the thought I shared about about sin. "Against you, and you alone, have I sinned..." Have we probably sinned against others too? Sure! But if we had not rebelled against God first in our hearts then there would have been no harm inflicted on others.
Verse 5 is not very encouraging on one hand but a reality we must embrace. You and I were born sinners. I believe through the power of Christ living inside me I always have a choice (1 Corinthians 10:13) but because I was born a sinner, I will face sin choices all my life. While verse 5 may overwhelm us, verse 6 reminds us that we do not have to be a slave to our nature! "But You desire honesty from he womb, teaching me wisdom even there."
Verses 7 through 12 remind us of the prize of being undone: purification, cleansing, joy, a clean heart, Holy Spirit presence, restoration, salvation, desire for obedience. Wow! Who doesn't want that? Then be willing to be undone.
Verses 13 through 15 are also deeply important! God wants to use my sin, my story, my failures as a road sign warning others. Being undone means being public about our brokenness! Now are there limits? Sure there are, especially when your sin involves others and your being public may unnecessarily violate their privacy. We all need mature, wise people to know the right way to let our story become a lesson for others. But be willing...be undone!
Verses 16 through 19 is a combination of returning to the theme of being undone but brings in this beautiful metaphor of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. God always desires for us to be built up. Being undone feels like being torn down but only so something beautiful can be created.
What have you done? What sins are you hiding? What excuses are you making? Find someone you trust, someone who further along in their journey of Jesus maturity than you are and ask them to help you become undone.
Pride says you can do it alone. Pride says you don't owe anyone anything. Pride is a liar.