“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.”
— Psalm 51:1 (NRSV)
The power of the gospel message is too marvellous for human comprehension, by the fact of God’s mercy to redeem us in Christ Jesus. This prayer of David’s for the revival of the joy of his salvation in Psalm 51 is, in actuality, the perfect model prayer for the sinner in their dire straits.
Twice David asks the Lord to blot out his transgression (verse 1) and his iniquity (verse 9).
What he is really asking God for is the rewriting of his personal history, such that he would have a second chance at a godly life. It should be a great encouragement to us, that David, who had a heart so close to the Lord, struggled with some horrendous sins, notwithstanding adultery and murder.
When God Rewrites Our Personal History
I have heard my fair share of testimonies; maybe you have too. Almost nothing moves me more than hearing how God rescued a life from a living hell, which was also destined for hell. Tears of awe-soaked joy well-up within me. Many, many stories are sin-ravaged.
Then I consider my own story. I think about all the things I have reason to be ashamed about, and guilty for, and all that negative emotion has been dealt with. I can experience knowledge of my despair, to know that sin, without feeling I’m in despair. This is a marvellous reality; to not be scared of the past in any way; to accept it as part of me.
What many non-Christians don’t really get about faith in Jesus is it’s not about perfection; it’s about forgiveness and grace to be given a new life, free from a soul that disparages itself. Many non-Christians are completely unaware of the role guilt and shame plays in their lives; that they, without God, are driven (unconsciously) by fear.
The Christian has had their history rewritten in such a way as the record of those wrongs has been blotted out. Not that they deny those terrible things happened; no way! Those terrible things that happened are a sizeable part of the testimony of God’s faithfulness to journey with us, before we were saved, as he led us to himself.
So, though our histories have been rewritten, we do not deny the past, because it is power for our future, and for the evangelising of others who yet do not know their Lord.
When we experience the miracle that is God rewriting our histories we know the gospel is true. Those feelings of condemnation vanish and we can look people in the eye and are finally able to love without conditions.
God is in the business of turning lives around and rewriting our histories. No matter what we have done or where we have been, God has a new history for each one of us. It’s part of his Divine Plan.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.