20 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all His ordinances were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. 23 I was also blameless with Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. 24 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes. –Psalm 18:20-24
Who can claim this psalm for themselves? My righteousness, my clean hands? Have I kept all of God’s ways and not departed? Have you? Has anyone? Anyone?
David wrote this, he owned this.
David had a clear conscience before God, yet he was an adulterer, and even a murderer. David was a sinner. So how can he write this?
I think the key is in the last three words… “in His eyes.”
Yes, God is a God of judgement. His judgments are right, they are pure, and He has declared all men sinners, and rightly so. However, He is also a God of love, He has provided for this judgement in Christ. Jesus paid the penalty of that sin and unrighteousness at Calvary. For all those who look to Him and who trust in Him, we are declared right. Not based on our work, or even how we view ourselves, but based on how He looks at us.
Paul gave us a great lesson on repentance in 2 Cor. 7
He writes, “For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.” 2 Cor. 7:11
Godly sorrow, or repentance, has this great work in us, it actually makes us innocent!
Does that mean that we have not sinned, are no longer sinners, and will not sin? No!
But for those of us who are trusting in Christ, we are declared righteous. This is God’s amazing grace toward the believer.
David understood this. Though he did not know the name of Jesus, he knew that God was a God of grace, and David trusted Him. David knew how to repent, he demonstrated that over and over again, and though a sinful man like you and I, he held on to God’s word and hoped in Him.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. –1 John 1:9