Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 ESV
Sin is the great downfall of mankind. From the moment of Adam’s first sin, we have been perpetually under the wicked influence of this monster. Since sin is truly treason against the Divine, we should have nothing more to expect from God, other than judgment. Yet that is not the story of the Bible. Instead, the Bible is concerned with how God intends to redeem His people from their sin, while also maintaining His goodness and justice. Thus, the Bible has much to say about the effects of sin, and here is one of the greatest examples.
David writes this psalm after having committed adultery with another man’s wife and then having that man killed. Murder and adultery were the sins of the man who was said to be of God’s own heart. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult to read David’s words in this verse. He pleas for a clean heart. God had given to him a distinction unlike any other, and David soiled the heart that God gave to him. Thus, he longs and yearns to have a clean heart before God.
Now, of course, we all know what it means to have a filthy heart. Each of us has committed a whole host sins. So, the question must be asked: how can people of such wicked sin have their heart’s cleaned? Is there some sort of special washing that we must do or some sort of ritual that we must attend?
No, David pleads for God to create the clean heart within him. David realizes that the effects of his sin are far too great for him to fix. He cannot undo the devastation that he created, not even in his own heart. Thus, he comes before God, begging the Sovereign One to create a new, clean heart inside of him.
Christian, is this not the work of Christ? Like David, our sins are so severe that we cannot simply be cleaned up; instead, we must be created anew. This is the doctrine of the new creation, and o’ how sweet it should be on our lips, hearts and minds! We cannot repair ourselves back to what we should have been, but God, through Jesus Christ, has initiated a second creating of the world, that begins with our hearts! Believer, God is in the midst of recreating all of creation, and He has begun with our hearts. O’ that we would be able to comprehend the beauty of Christ’s atoning work that God’s own Son has created within us the clean hearts that David so vehemently prayed for!