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Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at

It’s hard for us as humans to really understand the depth of how miserable sin really is. Even given the amount of sorrow and destruction we see caused from sin, it is but a speck of the total picture that God alone sees.

It is a monumental task for frail Believers to even comprehend the affect of sin on our own life, much less other people’s lives, or all of creation. If God were to give us a glimpse of the true awfulness of sin, it would surely be unbearable. The reason why God hates sin so much and it grieves Him so deeply is because He alone has a comprehensive grasp on all that sin destroys:

  • It destroys our relationships
  • It robs us of peace and fellowship
  • It steals away potential happiness and blessing
  • It continues to hurt those who come after us
  • It draws us away from God
  • It robs Jesus of His deserved glory
  • It insults the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross

We could probably come up with a list of a hundred other ways that sin destroys but the point is that only God sees the whole picture. That’s why sin is a major topic in Scripture. Sin is THE reason that salvation is necessary. So it’s important that we take time to understand what sin is and ask God to give us a hatred for it.

In the last message (, we learned how privileged we are that God forgives us based on HIS character, not ours. Our forgiveness is not based on what we deserve (thank God!) but on God’s lovingkindness and mercy. I don’t know about you, but that is the only thing that gives me hope. If I had to earn my forgiveness in ANY way, then I would simply give up because I am too sinful, and I know it.

We have a very poor understanding of
both sin and forgiveness.
If we understood sin better, we would certainly do less of it.
If we understood forgiveness better,
we would certainly seek more of it.

David was not a novice when it came to either sin or seeking God. He was a “man after God’s own heart” who had committed grievous and destructive sin. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, King David penned the 51st Psalm to show us that God not only forgives our sin, He takes it much further.

“According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

We want forgiveness, and even more, we want God to remove our sins from existence. “Blot out” carries the idea of removing a stain. When our child spills cherry Koolaid down the front of their new Sunday-go-to-meeting shirt, we don’t just say “that’s okay”. We want the stain removed. We want God to say “I forgive you” but still yet, it is so much more, so much better, when God removes the stain of sin from our lives completely and forever. Of course this process is repeated each time we sin, but no matter how many times we sincerely seek forgiveness, the “blotting out” is just as real, and just as eternal.

  • Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (NKJV; emphasis mine)

Blotting out our sin, removing the stain of our wickedness, brings refreshing peace and comfort to our troubled souls. When the stain is gone, the burden is lifted. We may get more stains in the future, but it is impossible to ever get THAT exact stain again. It is gone forever in God’s mind, so it can be gone forever in ours. If God does not remember our sins that are blotted out, what reason do we have to remember them?

  • Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (NKJV; emphasis mine)

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity

Again, the picture is of being dirty with sin and having the dirt washed away. Not a superficial wash, but a thorough and complete wash. How nice is it after being dirty and sweaty all day to get in a hot shower and scrub off all the filth, funk and stink? How refreshing is it to put on fresh, clean clothes? How comforting and pleasant is it to crawl into bed with soft, clean sheets and pillows?

How much MORE joyful is it when the filth of sin has been washed from our souls leaving us smelling and looking clean and holy? If we can understand what a thorough washing can do for physical things, then it should help us to understand the benefits of spiritual washing. Imagine God’s enjoyment when He finds His children scrubbed clean and smelling fresh, having the sin washed away to reveal the imputed holiness of Jesus Christ that was obscured by the dirt (sin).

  • Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (NKJV; emphasis mine)

“And cleanse me from my sin”

To cleanse is to wash, to ceremonially be made pure, to be made morally spotless. David asks God not only to forgive Him, but to clean all the filth of sin from him.

  • 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (NKJV; emphasis mine)

Blot, wash, cleanse…. remember, nothing in the Bible is there on accident. Three (3) is the numeric symbol of divine perfection in Scripture with the three Persons of the Godhead being the ultimate symbology of perfection. David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes three times of how our sin is taken away from us by a forgiving God. David’s three appeals not only emphasize his intense understanding of how badly he needs forgiveness, it also points out that once that forgiveness is granted it is done so with divine perfection. Gone, erased, forgotten. Forgiven, paid for, cast away. Blotted out, thoroughly washed, made clean.

Aren’t you sad that you still sin? Aren’t you a hundred times more glad that God forgives us His way, on His terms, for His pleasure… only the way He can? With divine perfection.

Lord God, Help us to realize that Your forgiveness is ‘divine perfection’; our sins are forgiven, the stain is blotted out, the sin is washed away and we are left clean and holy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Does Psalm 51 help you to begin to understand how much sin affects us? It stains us, makes us dirty, leaves us stinking. Have you ever really thought about all that God does when He forgives us of sin? Does it encourage you to know that God doesn’t simply pardon the sin, He removes it completely, forever?

Application: Sin. We have a very poor understanding of both sin and forgiveness. If we understood sin better, we would certainly do less of it. If we understood forgiveness better, we would certainly seek more of it. Come to realize that God stands ready to wash away the stain and filth of sin if you will only ask Him to.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?