Reading Psalm 51 this morning is a reminder of the power and pervasiveness of sin. And of the grace of forgiveness.
We do well to meditate on both, as Thomas Watson exhorted in The Christian on the Mount:
Meditate upon the FILTH of sin. Not only is the guilt of Adam’s sin imputed, but the poison of his nature is disseminated to us! Our virgin nature is defiled! If the heart is spotted—how then can the actions be pure? If the water in the well is foul—it cannot be clean in the bucket! Isaiah 64:6, “We are all as an unclean thing.” We are like a patient under the physician’s care—who has no sound part in him, his head is bruised, his liver is swelled, his lungs are gasping, his blood is infected, his feet are gangrened. Thus is it with us before saving grace comes! In the mind there is darkness! In the memory there is slipperiness! In the heart there is hardness! In the will there is stubborness! “You are sick from head to foot—covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—without any ointments or bandages!” Isaiah 1:6. A sinner befilthied with sin, is no better than a devil in man’s shape!
And which is sadly to be laid to heart–is the adherency of this sin. Sin is natural to us. The apostle calls it, “the sin that so easily ensnares us!” Heb. 12:1. Sin is not easily cast off. A man may as well shake off the skin of his body—as the sin of his soul! There is no shaking off this viper until death!
Oh, often meditate on this contagion of sin. How strong is that poison—a drop whereof is able to poison a whole sea? How venomous and malignant was that apple—a taste of which poisoned all mankind! Meditate sadly on this. Meditation on sin would make the plumes of pride fall off! If our knowledge makes us proud—that is sin enough to make us humble. The best saint alive who is taken out of the grave of sin—yet has the smell of the grave-clothes still upon him!
And having meditated on the evidences and extent of our sin, we do well to meditate in like manner on the sufficiency of God’s grace:
[Meditate on the] Promises of REMISSION. “I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins,” Isaiah 43:25. Whereas the poor sinner may say, “Alas, I am deep in debt with God, I fear I have not filled his bottle with my tears—but I have filled his book with my debts!” Well, but meditate on his promise, “I am he who blots out,” etc. The word there in the original to blot out, is a metaphor alluding to a merchant, who when his debtor has paid him, he blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance. So says God, “I will blot out your sin, I will cross out the debt-book!” In the Hebrew it is, “I am blotting out your transgressions.” “I have taken my pen, and am crossing out your debt!” Oh, but may the sinner say, “There is no reason God should do thus for me.” Well, but acts of grace do not go by reason, “I will blot out your sins—for my name’s sake.” Oh, but says the sinner, “Will not the Lord call my sins again to remembrance?” No, he promises to send them into oblivion; “I will not upbraid you with your sins—I will remember your sins no more.” Here is a sweet promise to meditate upon; it is a hive full of the honey of the gospel.