If the YouTube video above is not available, here are two other ways to view:
David – And I Shall Be Clean
When David stood at the other end of Nathan’s boney finger, pointed directly in his face—he was guilty, and he knew it. David had broken every law in the book, God’s Book.
DAVID BROKE ALL TEN
In reality, David had broken all of the Ten Commandments when he sinned with Bathsheba. How had he broken them all? In two ways; first by his actions he broke them all. And secondly, by God’s standards he broke them all.
1: “No other gods…”—David allowed his lust to be the god to which he bowed in obedience.
2: “Not take the Name…”—David took the Holy Name of God in vain as he said he was God’s man and lived like the devil.
3: “Not make a graven image…”—David engraved the image of naked Bathsheba as she bathed so deeply on his lustful soul, that he forgot even the God he loved for that moment of sin.
4: “Remember the Sabbath…”—David didn’t keep the Sabbath or any other day holy for God once he allowed lust to rule.
5: “Honor thy father and mother…”—David dishonored them and all his family as he sank into such wicked and premeditated sin.
6: “Not kill…”—David sent the murder request to Joab, so it was not his sword but the arrows of others that David used–but it was his desire that Uriah be killed.
7: “Not commit adultery…”—that was the clearest of all David’s law breaking.
8: “Not steal…”—David stole the wife of his neighbor and trusted friend Uriah as Nathan clearly pointed out in the story of the lamb.
9: “Not lie…”—David’s false response was a lie when the messenger came with the ghastly news of Uriah’s death; and even more, every day David lived in sin was a lie that he deceptively covered.
10: “Not covet…”—David broke this law as he so coveted his neighbors wife that he would steal her and kill her husband to lie in sexual sin with her.
SO HAVE WE
So David was a guilty sinner. He broke them all. But in reality, so have every one of us. We all by God’s standards have become guilty of breaking them all. Listen to the very first New Testament letter, written by the very first New Testament local church pastor named James.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
The good news is that Jesus died for all of us who are guilty sinners. As we read the rest of this Psalm and see how David asked for the sacrificial death of another to be counted for him (purge me with hyssop)—we can see why Christ’s death for us sinners is so precious, and so powerful.
As sinners we are defiled internally v. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
He says I am so aware of my utter filthiness on the inside compared with God’s holiness. Compare myself with God and see what we really are. And that’s what he does, he says purify me, I see myself, I see my character-
o As sinners we need cleansing v. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Purge me with hyssop. Sprinkle Christ’s atoning blood upon me. Give me the reality which ceremonies symbolize. Nothing but His blood can take away my bloodstains; nothing but His cleansing can cleanse me.
This verse should also be read as the voice of faith: “Thou wilt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” There is such power in Christ’s sacrifice, my sin will vanish away. I will be accepted back into the assembly of God’s people—and by grace into God’s Holy Presence.
Wash me. But not just ceremonially clean, I also need real spiritual purification of soul and spirit, my deepest parts. And I shall be whiter than snow. Snow stays white only briefly, soon it gathers dirt, smoke and dust, then it melts and disappears in a muddy mess; but God offers to me an endlessly kept purity. He has promised to ‘save to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Back in the Old Testament hyssop was used for three purposes
First, when God took the children of Israel out of Egypt, He said, “There is one thing you must do at Passover. You are to take a lamb, slay it, and take its blood in a basin out to the front door. Then use bunches of hyssop to apply the blood to the doorposts and to the lintel.” Hyssop portrayed the application of Christ’s blood to shield from God’s wrath.
Second, when God was giving instructions for cleansing a leper, He told about taking a live bird brushed with hyssop dipped in the blood of a slain bird, and then letting it fly away. Hyssop portrayed the death and resurrection of Christ.
Third, when the children of Israel were on the wilderness march and one of them sinned, they couldn’t stop and put up the tabernacle and offer a sacrifice. So provision was made for purification of sin by killing a red heifer, burning it along with hyssop, gathering the ashes, and taking them along on the wilderness march. When a man sinned, the ashes were put in water, then hyssop was used to sprinkle them on him. What a tremendous message! Hyssop portrayed the reception of Christ’s sacrifice that brought forgiveness.
You have to go to Calvary to find the explanation of David’s cry to ‘purge me with hyssop’.
On the cross the Son of God said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Why did He say that? Because God cannot by any means clear the guilty. He cannot. He never will. And when the Lord Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin for us on the cross—when He was delivered for our offenses that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him—God had to treat Him as He must treat sin.
Remember that God spared Abraham’s son, but God did not spare His own Son when He had my sin and your sin upon Him. He had to slay Him, because God cannot pardon the guilty. Let’s be clear on that. God hates sin and He will punish sin. By no means will He clear the guilty.
On the cross Jesus also said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). How can He forgive them? How can He extend mercy to thousands? How can He forgive iniquity? How can He forgive David? And how can He forgive you and me? The Bible is clear on this: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
And every time you find forgiveness in the New Testament, the blood of Christ is responsible. God never forgives sin apart from the death of Christ. Never. God is not forgiving sin because He is a big-hearted old man sitting on a cloud. He forgives sin because His Son paid the penalty.
And now, with open arms, He can say to you, “I can extend mercy to you because My Son died in your place.” Oh, David knew the way into the heart of God1.
So when David said, “Purge me with hyssop,” he was crying out to God—apply Christ’s sacrificial death on me. Much like the publican of Luke 18, David was saying ‘God be merciful to me” and like the thief on the Cross ‘remember me’.
When David finished breaking all the commands (just like we all have) he was totally guilty before a Holy God (just like we all are). The Scriptures tell us that who ever breaks even one law of God—is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
- So David in God’s sight was a debtor owing an impossible debt his sins had run up against God.
- David was a guilty convict, he was legally convicted as having broken God’s law.
- Since adulterers were supposed to be stoned, David was dead as far as God was concerned in his sin.
David saw himself in Psalm 51 as God saw him—a guilty, convicted sinner. And that is why David, the man who broke all the commandments–found complete forgiveness.
We are also guilty and convicted sinners. We also have stumbled in at least one point— so we all are guilty of breaking all of God’s Law.
The good news of the Gospel is exactly this truth—Christ died for sinners. He died in the place of guilty sinners. And all who receive His gift, through His Son will confess that–
God the innocent died for me the guilty. God the offended died for me to offender. God the Holy died for me the sinful. God the Just died for me the unjust. God the perfect died for me the imperfect.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR CRITICAL NEED?
Like David, we need to see ourselves as God saw us. We like David are guilty of breaking them all. We should see ourselves as worst than we think, rather than better. Because Christ’s death is only for the guilty, only for the hopelessly stained, and only for the helplessly lost. It is in that condition—like David’s, that we find God’s grace.
All sinners (so that means all humans that have ever lived on planet earth except Jesus Christ) have seven basic Biblically described needs. Briefly summed up, a lost sinner needs forgiveness, justification, regeneration, reconciliation, adoption, redemption, and sanctification.
1. Because of our sin, like David–we are all debtors; so we need forgiveness.
So Christ died to take the hopeless debt we owe to God and pay with His own life our eternal death sin has caused us to be responsible to pay–that’s forgiveness. A Sinner stands before God as a debtor and that debt is forgotten by His payment.
Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. NKJV
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace NKJV
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the relief of knowing that all your sins, everyone of them—past, present, and future, are GONE? Your sins are paid for, and your eternal life is purchased—and you have the receipt in your hand, written in the very blood of the One who paid the price. Christ’s record of that payment is forever settled in this book the Bible!
JUSTIFICATION—CRITICAL NEED #2
2. Because of our sin, like David–we are all guilty convicts in God’s sight; so we need justification.
So Christ died to take guilty convicts and destroy any record that that ever committed a crime and takes their place in the punishment—that’s justification! A Sinner stands before God as accused and is declared righteous by His imputed righteousness.
Psalm 51:3-4 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. NKJV
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. NKJV
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the peace of justification, all guilt removed, all punishment forever taken away from God’s sight?
REGENERATION—CRITICAL NEED #3
3. Because of our sin, like David–we are all dead in our trespasses and sin; so we need regeneration.
So Christ died to take dead and rotting spiritual corpses and make them vibrant, full of endless life and brand new—that’s regeneration!
Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, NKJV
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. NKJV
Hebrews 7:16b …but according to the power of an endless life. NKJV;
Have you like David, experienced the power of an endless life, and every day partaking of the powerful presence within of the very Lord God Almighty?
RECONCILIATION—CRITICAL NEED #4
4. Because of our sin, like David–we are all enemies of God; so we need reconciliation.
So Christ died to take enemies and make them friends—that’s reconciliation! A Sinner stands before God as an enemy and is made a friend by His peace.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. NKJV
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. NKJV; John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the wonder of friendship with God?
ADOPTION—CRITICAL NEED #5
5. Because of our sin, like David–we are all strangers to God; so we need adoption.
So Christ died to take strangers and make them part of the family—that’s adoption! A Sinner stands before God as a stranger and is called a Son by His choice.
Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. NASB
Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the joy of being adopted into Christ’s family?
6. Because of our sin, like David–we are all slaves to unrighteousness; so we need redemption.
So Christ died to take slaves and make them freed forever—that’s redemption! A Sinner stands before God as a slave and is granted freedom by His ransom.
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. NASB
John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the thrill of being liberated, set free, rescued by God forever?
SANCTIFICATION—CRITICAL NEED #7
7. Because of our sin, like David–we are all defiled; so we need sanctification.
So Christ died to take our soiled and spotted lives that always get wasted and make them clean, focused and fruitful—that’s sanctification! Just before we read Romans 6:13b, may I again remind you of the two sides of the coin of salvation. To best understand what God has done, let me contrast and explain justification and sanctification. Because we are saved (justified) this is how we should live (sanctified).
- Justification is what Christ did for me on the cross–sanctification is what Christ is doing in me because of the cross.
- Justification is immediate and was completely finished in me the instant I was saved—sanctification is an ongoing process never completed on earth until I meet Jesus face to face at death or His coming.
- Justification is activated the moment I trust in the Person of Christ Jesus and His finished sacrifice of the cross—sanctification grows with each obedient choice I make empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- Justification is my position declared right in God’s sight—sanctification is my practice made right by becoming more conformed to His image.
Romans 6:13b …but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. NKJV
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. NKJV
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. NKJV
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV
Have you like David, experienced the stability of coming under new management? Do you know the thrill of looking at your life and sensing His control? Do you see your hands as extensions of His? Your voice as a channel for Him to speak? Your days as no longer belonging to you but to be lived unto Him who loved you and gave Himself for you?
So that is what David asked and received in Psalm 51. Mercy and grace from the Cross. Christ died to save sinners from their sins and to rescue them from death, destruction, despair and doom.
I am guilty; I have sinned against You alone.
Purge me by the cleansing power of Christ’s death—who gave Himself for me!
An incredible worship song that captures what the Lord does when He removed our sins was written during the Civil War years here in America by Charitie Bancroft. This great hymn has been set to new music and has seen a revival in recent days.
The message is so powerful to all of us who like David have had our sins “pulled off” by Christ’s work on the cross for us.
BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE (Words: Charitie Bancroft, 1863)
Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea. A great high Priest whose Name is Love Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart. I know that while in Heaven He stands No tongue can bid me thence depart. (2x)
When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within, Upward I look and see Him there Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died My sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied To look on Him and pardon me. (2x)
Behold Him there the risen Lamb, My perfect spotless righteousness, The great unchangeable I AM, The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die. My soul is purchased by His blood, My life is hid with Christ on high, With Christ my Savior and my God! (2x)
1 McGee, J. Vernon, David: A Man After God’s Own Heart, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.) 2001, c2000.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, David’s Spiritual Secret here.
Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.