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December 23, 2008 / beidson

Bloodguiltiness: Why We Must Weep With A Murderer

I’ve been reading Psalm 51 lately because I sense a hardening of my heart, and that is a very scary thing.  If you’ve ever read the chilling account of King David’s treachery against one of his own soldiers, you were likely incensed and furious at what could only be described as the worst sort of betrayal.  David murders a man who had days before been killing to defend King and country.  David dishonors the very name that this soldier had been fighting to defend.  In a moment of uncontrolled passion, David becomes the enemy from within, and it would take months before he would confess his sin to God.

In Psalm 51 we read David’s confession to the Lord, in which he cries out, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (v. 14).  You can sense the deep disturbance with which King David struggled, as he suppressed his sin in unrighteousness.  And yet, you can also sense the relief he finally came to know upon confession to the only one who could relieve him of the heavy burden of guilt and shame.

It is truly a remarkable thing to experience forgiveness along with David the murderer, as we read this Psalm and recognize our own guilt before God.  We all have the blood of Christ on our hands, if not our hearts.  Though we are not murderers today, we are murderers in eternity past, slaying the sinless Son of God before the foundation of the world.  But it is in this sacrificial death that we also hope along with David.  We are guilty of blood, but this blood was graciously spilled on our behalf, though we took it by force in anger.  And lest we excuse ourselves from this indictment, we must remember with David that our sin is ever before us–against God and God alone have we transgressed, and he is just in his condemnation.  And so we weep with David the murderer.

But we rejoice with David as well.  In our place Christ stood condemned for our bloodguiltiness, but now in our place Christ stands as our righteous blood atonement.  Yes, we weep with a murderer, and we are right to do so.  But biblical hope is such because it delivers us from the despair of our guilt and condemnation.  Just as we weep with David now, so too we will rejoice with him in the presence of the one to whom David cried out.  Jesus gives righteousness to bloodguilty murderers.  Herein is our joy and satisfaction.

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