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Cleansed by the Blood: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 18, 2021 7:00 am

Cleansed by the Blood: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 18, 2021 7:00 am

Have you ever messed up or done something you thought was unforgiveable? Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll study the first half of Psalm 51, where David has done some pretty terrible things. He’s sinned against God and man, and he knows that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. What can David’s story teach us about the mercy, love and compassion of God?

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Have you ever messed up or done something you thought was unforgivable today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce were studying Psalm 51 where David is done some pretty terrible things.

He sinned against God and man and he knows that he doesn't deserve forgiveness. What can David story teach us about the mercy love and compassion of God. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Although David is facing the darkest moments of his life due to nothing but the consequences of his own sin. Psalm 51 opens with him crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness. How is David able to come before God and why should God extend mercy to David. If you have your Bible turn to Psalm 51 verses one through nine. If you had any experience at all trying to teach the Bible you know that the best known passages are difficult to teach somebody doesn't have that experience with sire.

Well must be easy to prepare a message on John 316 for all everybody knows latter the 23rd Psalm are the Christmas story that should be easy.

Actually, the opposite is the case, the reason of course is that those well-known passages are well-known for a reason or profound.

On the one hand, and then on the other hand, everybody is talked about them so often in almost everything significant has been said, you gotta be almost a genius make any original contribution to sort of situation we come to when we come to Psalm 51 Derek Gartner says this is the fourth and surely the greatest of the penitential song stroke, but how are you going to expound a song that is as great as this one, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great prince of expositors probably the most able expositor of his time in one of the greatest expositors of all time. He could get more out of a single verse of Scripture, and do it accurately and helpfully than anybody I've ever read or heard and yet when Spurgeon came to the Psalm he confessed that he was baffled by we have his studies of the Psalms in three volumes today. Originally they were in six volumes. So in the first great volume in the second half of that. The preface comes therefore in the middle of the block. He talks about the experience he had when he came to the Solomon kind of interesting.

The way he writes about it. They confesses that she was working his way through the Psalms again to the Psalm sat down at his desk and he did that for weeks and got up again without ever having written a line. Here's what he said Spurgeon is eloquent even when he is not eloquent, and here's what he said it is a burning bush burning with fire, yet not consumed and out of the voice seem to cry out to be drawn not by Heather put off thy shoes from off life. Each song that is very human, its cries and salts are of one born of woman. But it is freighted with an inspiration all divine, as if the great father were putting words into his child's mouth.

Psalm may be wept over, absorbed into the soul and exhaled again and devotion, but commented on where is he having attempted it can do anything other than blush at his feet while I'm in a take two weeks to talk about things we can say about the Psalm as we began few simple things.

First of all, it's the first of a new series of Psalms, or by David the first book of the Psalter. We had a lot of songs by David and thus far in the second book of the Psalms. We haven't had any Psalms by David.

This is the first of a new series from this point on all of the Psalms in the second book of the Psalter into the 70s or by David except for four.

Three of the Martin name and therefore they could be by David although there's name name given to the ones by Solomon. So this is a significant Psalm that stands at the beginning of another significant section of the Psalter and secondly, this has been a favorite Psalm of many well known historical personages especially when they were dying or facing death in the days of Henry VIII. Sir Thomas more was executed on the scaffold knows that well-known heroic figure of English history was led to the scaffold. That is what he recited just before the acts fell and he was killed he knew it totally Lady Jane Grey young Queen for nine days to was executed at the age of 22 also recited that from the scaffold.

She died when Henry V was dying. He had it read to him when he lay on his deathbed and William carry a great missionary to India when he thought he was dying asked that this be that the text of his funeral sermon actually carried surviving the 50 more years, but I presume that people remember what he asked for priest on the sermon that very significant Psalm you say when you're facing the prospect of death. Nothing we can say is that the outline of it is very simple. There are six very easily recognizable sections. First of all, there is the opening which is the psalmist's approach to God. It's a cry to God for help verses one and two.

Secondly, there is a confession of sin versus 3 to 6 heard a cry for cleansing from the center from which I have gotten title of this message verses seven through nine. The fourth part is that prayer for renewal within find that in verses 10 through 12 verses 13 through 17 had to do with the psalmist testimony having been forgiven is said and cleansed with NEI wants to tell sinners where he found grace. That's a long section and finally, at the very end verses 18 and 19, there is that prayer for the blessing of God upon Jerusalem. Natural thing working David to sign out the background as you well know, is David's great sin is sin with Bathsheba that adultery with her and then his attempts to cover that up by having her Hittite husband Uriah killed had Uriah sent into the forefront of the battle and Joab the commander of the troops was given instructions to pull back so that when the enemy shot fell upon the troops in the forefront of the battle was with her would be killed. Uriah was killed. That was great sin. It was the blackest moment in David's life and yet it was out of that great black moment that David found the grace of God and of course, is what is make the Psalm so appealing to so many people.

Anybody who has any knowledge of their own heart at all knows that we have gone through times individually.

Just like that, it may not be Davidson.

We all have our own sentence, but we have gone through them and find cleansing and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ is the discovery above all discoveries.

All of our long life. Nothing we won't ever find or learn or no experience in all our lives corresponds to this great discovery of forgiveness through Christ for our sins.

David found that the express that in wonderful language.

One of the commentators calls attention to the fact that there were two sins in the Mosaic law for which there was no forgiveness. One was adultery, and the other was murder that makes it a serious matter and say David found that there was one way back to God. He knew what it was through the blood and he came in he found it and this makes the Psalm. Such a blessing to many people as I say falls into two parts. The first three parts of that six part outline. I gave lead up to the experience of cleansing from sin, forgiveness, and then second part, beginning with verse 10 has to do with the creation of a new spirit within. So David is looking for pardon in the first place impurity in the second he talks about the first of the first half of the Psalm in the second and the second we begin with his cry for help. He begins by approaching God. That's what we have to do and yet it's no simple approach is a profound one on the more we study of the more profound.

It seems a profound in the first place. As he begins by clinging almost desperately as it were, to the mercy of God say that's profound because that's the only way any of us have any hope of coming to him as sinners and sinners.

We are all kinds of attributes of God. We can talk about. We can talk about the justice of God.

But we don't dare come to God and the basis of his justice.

It's his justice and will condemn us. There is no comfort there. God comes to judge our natural instinct is to flee from them. Like Adam and Eve did when God came to them in the garden. We don't come to God, hopefully on the basis of his wisdom is all lies God. We stand all of his wisdom and power. We look at the creation and we say what a wise, powerful God, it must be created in finance and beautiful world like this doesn't encourage us to come to a member, sinners. The Lord is his omniscience is on the presence of his power, certainly not his wrath.

The only thing that encourages us to, the only basis upon which we can come hopefully is our belief or conviction that God is merciful out of his great mercy and compassion sinners. He is provided a way to save them for their sin. We say where we learned that about God. You don't learn it in creation or in the God is all wise and creation perhaps and certainly all-powerful, and that he exists in most things you don't find.

However, the God is a loving, all merciful God in creation. The only place you find that is in the Scripture because that is the point at which God reveals this characteristic to us who need it so badly in the book of Exodus there is a story which I am certain, was known to David in which he was probably thinking about seat composed the song people had just sent in that great sin of making the golden calf after they come out of Egypt and they all bowed down without breaking all of the laws that God was giving at that very moment on Mount Sinai.

There'd been a judgment in the restoration and after that is passing the next chapter. Chapter of Exodus, Moses has requested God, he realizes how fallible he is and how sinful he and the people are and he's afraid of. They go on like this color ever going to serve the holy God. And so he prays to God, show me your glory.

Once that no God personal and Deep Way, God replies to Moses he can't show in his face.

He said no one can see my face lit up and I'll do this up what you in the cleft of the rock will cover you with my hand and then I'll pass by and select what God does. He passes by and as he passes by.

He says this. I'm going to cause all my goodness to pass in front of you as I do I will proclaim my name Lord, in your presence here is this is what God proclaimed as he passed by Moses hidden in the cleft of the rock I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion is a great revelation you say because according to that revelation what God is saying is my very essence of my being is mercy center who understands that his David certainly did because he certainly meditated on that story would've been known to center who understands that comes to God.

On that basis, appealing to him on the basis of his mercy.

David begins this way and emphasizes that because he uses three different works for God's mercy or love in these verses talks about mercy in verse one, have mercy on me.

Oh God, he talks about unfailing love.

In the second half of that verse. According to your unfailing love, and then very he talks about compassion and mercy denotes God's loving assistance to the pitiful unfailing love points to the continuing operation is mercy, compassion teaches that God feels our infirmities. That's the basis upon which you, the second striking thing about this opening is that over against that awareness of the mercy of God's true nature. David puts his sin going to see as we study this Psalm has a threefold or triple repetition of things in parallel construction.

Three words for mercy. Three words were simply great statements in the next section, three things that he wants God to do with them in order to cleanse them from us that we already had three words for mercy, mercy, unfailing love and compassion that we begin to talk about his sin and he talks about using three terms first is that word transgressions have their translation of the Hebrew word for shop and it refers to crossing the forbidden boundary with the implication that if you cross the forbidden boundary your it will or are in rebellion against the ones boundary. It is going in the forbidden territory. You know I'm short from the annals of Julius Caesar, how the time came in his military career when he stood on the banks of the Rubicon. The northern portion of Italy and he had been forbidden across the Rubicon and enter into the territory to the south was ruled by the Roman Senate on Wednesday was on the north side of that boundary was all right. He was the commander of the northern forces he could come and go as he pleased. Once he crossed the Rubicon. He was at war that legislative body, and you know the story, Caesar decided to crossing did he cried out, Ali. I got to ask. The die is cast and Civil War was the result. Now that is the nature of our sin to use that illustration. We have crossed the boundary of God's moral law that puts us little or the holy and just God and David understood that understood that he was a rebel, so he needed mercy of the sovereign, whom if he did not show mercy, but certainly question percent. The second word he uses is iniquity Hebrew word for that is how opponent means perversion refers to what we mean when we talk about Original Sin depravity of our nature significant that a little bit later on in verse five. This is the word for sin that he uses in the phrase sinner from birth, is talking about is this deficiency or depravity of our nature that makes the sin we are sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners and that's what David is confessing and then there's 1/3 word for senates that Hebrew word Choctaw and it means falling short are missing the mark. God's righteousness is a mark that were obliged a map because were his creatures, we have to operate according to his laws in his universe that we fall short of that.

It's like shooting an arrow. It's very word was used for that same in Hebrew language.

Also in the Greek language that word was used for shooting a target for falling short of it, not quite making or to use a very contemporary illustration. It's like trying to kick a 56 yard field goal into the wind missing that is falling short of the mark. Now we we do that with God's moral law as well. These three words incidentally occur again. Later on in the song we find them in verses three, four, five, nine and 13. All of the report of a personal failure on David's part must we miss that you say. At the very beginning he talks not about transgressions in general, as if to say all Lord we are all sinners. He says my transgressions by iniquity of my sin. Let me say we could spend a lot of time just talking about those two verses. That's why the Psalm is so profound to see those two things always go together.

An awareness of God and his true nature and awareness of ourselves and our sin. I pointed out that when that tax collector prayed his prayer and found forgiveness and justification. According to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the story it was with that kind of an awareness is that God be merciful to me a sinner because he was aware of God and God really was that he knew he was a sinner and because he knew he was a sinner.

He knew he needed the mercy of Almighty God, that's exactly what we find here in the 51st law is there hope for David Estes over David, but not because of anything and David because of the nature of God himself. That's the first part I might point out, by the way, that in Psalm 32, which is the first of the penitential Psalms and solver you find those same three words for sin very close connection between those two salts. The 32nd Psalm seems to have been written later than this one this one seems to have the tone of being written shortly after the transgression of the forgiveness that he found in the 32nd Psalm is described as a musky all and that word probably means were uncertain about some of those Hebrew words but it probably means instruction that's the case what David is doing there is fulfilling what he says is going to do and verse 13 of the song he says after I found cleansing in a new heart, then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.

So he seems to have written Psalm 32 is a fulfillment of the body makes here and that ties the two songs together. They can be studied together profitably while he approaches God. The second thing he does is confess that I said you have a repetition of threes and saw that three words for God's mercy three words for David sin. Now you have three strong statements about except the first is this verse three can be paraphrased by saying I am aware of my sin. I know I'm a sinner, he was there was not self-evident provided about that. This is a Psalm of confession. If you don't know your sinner, you don't confess if you're confessing well you know you're a sinner. Yes or sent perfectly obvious, but I probably was exactly at that point we really don't believe that we are sinners. Remember Becky Peppard saying once when she was teaching here. That's our problem in dealing with other people. We approach other people is that we are righteous people and were afraid to make a mistake or are afraid to be known as a sinner and so we appear is Chris other people. Actually, we should simply appear before the sinners were saved by grace and can confess to it and do it honestly and openly. That's what David Darcy speaks about it openly. Here he was very much aware of his sin to because if you go to the 32nd Psalm, which I mentioned a moment to go find him speaking there is state of mind when he was aware of his sin before he found the assurance of his forgiveness and he said he was wasting away and groaning all the day long.

I confess that his sin sapped his strength as in the heat of summer. That's David's experience. The second statement he makes in these verses is that he says again if I can paraphrase that he knows that his sin is sin. Now, in my judgment, that is the meaning of this much discussed phrase against you. You only have I sinned on this evil in your sight. Some people commented upon that signal.

How could they would say such a thing against you only are my sin when, as a matter of fact it sinned against Bathsheba and certainly against her husband, Uriah, and even against the nation suffered eventually as a result, because of David sent some scholars say because of that person. David couldn't written us all on the plight of that situation may have other arguments as well. All of them fallacious in my judgment, I think there's a very good answer to that is so matter-of-fact you can answer it on several levels. First of all sin by its very definition sin against God is what sin is. If I do something wrong to another human being.

That's an offense against humanity. If, in so doing, I also break the law of the state in which I live. It becomes a crime is not a sin until it breaks the moral law of God, you can have actions which are crimes against the states, but are not sin. And you can have actions that are sin that are not crimes against the state. When you break the moral law of God that is sent. Now that is what David is saying you would said to David well David you wrong that she may want to set a date. I did, you committed a crime and the murder of Uriah. Indeed, I've done that to say what he had done most of all the sin against the moral law of God.

One of the commentators pronounces is also another sense in which this is sin, and it's this all wrong done to our neighbor's wrong done to one created in the image of God.

What that means is, unless you bring God in the picture. It's really not a wrong even on the human level sale as God has made my neighbor and made him or her in his image so that I deserve the respect that person because of what God is done then in the analysis that neighbor deserves no more for me than an animal or an object which I'm perfectly free to use for my pleasure, my convenience if I'm strong enough to do it. That of course is why people behave in such a bistro matter when they forget God pushed God out of the picture and that you end up using people you don't treat them as made in the image of God see God has made people and therefore sin against people is sin against God.

Will David was aware of all of this and here he is confessing it openly did it at the time set course because when Nathan the prophet came to induce exposes what we may have been trying to cover it over earlier he didn't do it when thing was made, not what he said on that occasion was, I have sinned against the Lord is exactly what he says here is 1/3 thing. He also confesses that sin springs from his evil nature. I said earlier, this is what we mean when we are talking about the doctrine of original sin.

David says I have been a sinner from birth and send my mother conceive me. You understand, of course, it is not casting any blame for sin upon his mother humming the song lead you to think that is quite the opposite of what he saying here is was never a moment in my existence that I was in the center so I can go around saying that some people do. Well, I would've been all right that bad influence the game in the my life. The case of Bathsheba well she'd be tempted me to do. After a while, it was a weak moment because I had indigestion. I wasn't feeling up to my normal self, or something of that nature. David's not saying anything like that saying the reason I sinned is because I'm a sinner and I've been a sinner all my life before my physical birth of the very moment of my conception. I'm a sinner for six by the way, provides that parallel truth to this, says surely you desire truth in the inner parts you teach me wisdom of the inmost place. Saying variously is that God desires inner purity, as well as outright moral conduct reason David didn't have the outright moral conduct is a didn't have the inner purity, so the song deals with both forgiveness for the former and the creation of a new heart within the latter brings us to the third part of the six part outline and this is the part which I want to in here. He has approaching God on the basis of his confession and asked God to remove the guilt of his sin and again he does in three ways is three words for. First of all, he says cleanse me with hyssop verse seven. Secondly, in the latter half of the same verse, wash me and then finally, in verse nine blot out all my iniquity. These verbs are repeated from verses one and two. Now it is cleanse me, cleanse means perch based upon the words for sin already seen at workshop and translated literally what it really means is decent me and wanted to have the sin stripped away so much so that he would stand pure in God's sight.

Did Mina have even a stain of this sin remain second word is washing that's an obvious one. It refers to the lustration's of the law was to be washed as white as snow. Once all stainless scarlet stain of sin to be gone later. Isaiah was going to write at the very beginning of his prophecy of promise from God. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow they be red like crimson shall be as wool done for us by the blood of Jesus Christ about the wonderful promise that's what David wanted. He wanted to be washed as white as snow. And then the third word is the word blot out refers to removing writing from a book.

Perhaps what he has in mind here is an indictment written down in the book of God. David said he was going to block that out and what he's praying for is the exact opposite of what Pilate said at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. Remember when he put that notice about the prosecutors wanted to take that down in Pilate's reply was what I have written my written set written.

Nothing going to change that.

Well here's David sent written down in the book against what he wants God to blotted out to give you an illustration of that there are certain kinds of ancient Bible manuscripts are called palimpsest's technical term for a manuscript that had one text on it at one time. Then, because nobody wanted to text anymore and because the material in which it was written usually papyrus could have been developed is valuable, costly somebody blotted out the original writing and then it was papyrus.

They turn it sideways and then he write a new text on it Bible text like that and then later tax which if you remove the later text you find an earlier Bible text. What David is saying is that his sentence of been written down in the book of his life. They stand against him and one day he well realized they were going to be read out against final judgment says what I want you to do is blotted out the glory of the gospel is that that is exactly what God does.

God blots out the sins of the remembered and insight no more, and he turns the manuscript sideways any rights over at the message the gospel of his grace. See what I said at the beginning is just no message like this all the world.

There is nothing so valuable is this teaching anywhere at all. No discovering that you can ever find that equals discovery like that most of our discoveries last for a few minutes but after a few years this is something that determines our destiny for all eternity and it flows from the mercy of Almighty God. While most important thing perhaps is this phrase cleanse me with hyssop and the reason that's important is that it indicates that this forgiveness that David longs for and finds is obtained by the payment of the price.

The price of the shedding of blood. Hyssop was a little plant seems to have grown from the crannies of the walls of the ancient near East Solomon were told in one place studied all of the bonhomie of his kingdom did it from the great cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that springs from the walls of text from the Old Testament so I gives us an idea of what hyssop was like it must've been like a brush thing that had a lot of parts to it so you could dip it in something and then you could use it like a brush.

I would was used in ceremonies for the shedding of blood in the sprinkling of blood for purification very first time you come across in the Old Testament as of the Passover Jews were being led out of Egypt. There, the 12th chapter of Exodus this kind of instruction is given, take a bunch of his dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe.

Hyssop was used to applying the shed blood of the innocent victim died as a result of that when the angel of death came through the land that might angel of death passed over households where the innocent victim would already die so the firstborn among the Jews were spared. We find it again in the Old Testament when a leper had been cleansed for someone had a serious skin infection at been cleansed and that was a ceremonial cleansing leper go to the priest priest would kill an animal and dip the blood and sprinkle it up on the left.

We find it again and purification from somebody would been contaminated by coming in contact with the dead body seems always to be used in that way. Now it's picked up in the New Testament is with the author of Hebrews writes, it's a significant passage when Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people he took the blood of calves together with water, scarlet wool and branches of his and he sprinkle to scroll all the people and he said this is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you to keep the same way he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and everything used in ceremonies, Lenny says.

In fact, law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Of course, that's exactly what David understood you say did he see clearly to the coming of Jesus Christ.

Certainly look forward to when it should, because promise was made to him that one should, was of God was set up on his throne and reign forever and ever.

David understood that was a divine person because in his response to the revelation he said to God is not in the nature of a man can live on the earth and rain upon the throne forever and ever. He recognizes that had to be something supernatural of God. Nobody was coming. I guess he didn't know. Didn't know his name that we didn't know we understood the principal he understood without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. When David prays to God confessing his sin as he does so eloquently and freely and honestly solve his chief prayer is this one. Cleanse me with hyssop and then I will be clean about the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Now that's what you and I need to do as well. Forgiveness do we need a course we do were all sinners. Some in greater and more open ways. In some and lesser and more hidden ways sinners, we are one centered thousand million. However great however many, however large or small, whatever it may be one sin alone is enough.

The presence of Almighty holy God.

Forgiveness is what we need were only going to find that the place where God himself is provided that matters through the death of Jesus Christ through faith in him. Part of the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no mercy on the judgment for anyone will, on the basis of that shed blood. However great the sin may be there is not only mercy there is one didn't mercy the perfect more than adequate atonement cleansing from all arsenic spray.

Her father confess, as David did the rear sinners is nothing he has said of himself in the song that we can save ourselves and perhaps many times over. We do not stand before you as righteous men and women. We, on the basis of our righteousness which we don't have what clinging to your mercy.

Looking to the cross of Jesus, our Savior were alone, that mercy may be found. Prayer father. Sprinkle us with his blood cleanses by his sacrifice remove our sin from us as far as the east is from the last of washing's in order that in your sight whiter than snow.

So our father bring us now into your fellowship. When we die to your very presence through him in whose name we pray, pray, thankfully. Even the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our the listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888.

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