Who saved us? God. Because of what we did? No. How are we saved? In his mercy … his sheer grace! Who does the washing? The Holy Spirit who applies new life to our dead souls. Amen! True forgiveness comes when we surrender to divine transformation not self-help gurus.
David affirms this did not happen in his power. In verse 8 he says, “let the bones you have broken rejoice …” God, you did this! I need you! Then, because he has confronted his sin, in verse 9 he pleads with God to “blot out his transgressions.” Verse 10 is the crux of the passage. David exclaims:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10, ESV)
Create in me a clean heart. Focus on that word, “Create.” The Hebrew word for create is “BARA,” and its a verb. Create is an action. It’s the word used in Genesis 1 when God creates the world. Throughout the Bible, when this word is used the subject is almost always God. God is the creator. What is the result of his creative action? Something BRAND NEW. God is doing a new work in David’s heart. Now the word heart, as we discussed, refers to our choices and our thoughts. A clean heart indicates and undivided focus on doing God’ will.
I want you to take in how powerful this verse in. Some of you reading this may not think this is possible. Some of you don’t think you can change. And I get it, I think that sometimes too. Someone confronts you about your sin and what do you say? I’ve been this way for 40 years, 50 years, 60, 70, 80 years, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! What are you saying? “I can’t change! This is who I am!” What I am saying, no, what God is showing you in this one verse is this, YOU CAN CHANGE! By the power of God through the work of his Holy Spirit. David is talking about a TOTAL TRANSFORMATION from the inside out. Only God can do that. Do you believe that? I know some of you don’t, or you don’t care. That why you need to start with a person reflection to see how devastating your sin is, like David.
You can change! And it is not just an instantaneous act, it is an ongoing process. Some of us, God has been working on for a long time. And he is still working in your life. I want to invite all of us to pray verse 10 in our lives, “Lord, create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within me.”
Keep praying that prayer. And as you pray, the Holy Spirit will work on your heart. And when he does, it will lead to radical transparency in your life.
Application: Radical Transparency
There are two things you need to grow in the Christian life. First, the finished work of Christ on the cross. Why? Because then you recognize that you can’t save yourself. Second, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because then you realize you can’t grow yourself. You need God. Someone out there say, “I need God.” When God does this it leads to radical transparency. Look how he finishes the prayer:
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:11-12, ESV)
David wants to be in the presence of God. Do you want that? That is where we find security, when we surrender at the foot of the cross. How do you live the forgiven life? You get to this place of radical transparency because God has transformed your heart. This is the power of the Gospel.
Let’s take a moment do an analysis of ourselves. What happens to people when they experience total transformation? I’m going to offer two effects, ask yourself, is this me?
- Secure in Christ: They are not defensive. They are teachable. Why? Because my identity is based on Jesus work not my work. My salvation is not based on my efforts, but Jesus effort. Who cares what people say about me, it matters what Jesus has done for me. Amen?
- Soft Heart: They are willing to receive correction. They know it’s not about them and they desire God’s work in their lives. People with soft hearts are attuned to the work of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of sin quickly. We repent faster. He directs us to the needs of others. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
People who have been transformed, they can be radically transparent because they are not trying to defend, or hide, or minimize. The dam has been shattered in their hearts. They have tasted the living water from the cross of Christ. That is a life transformed by the Gospel.