February 01, 2009

Grace and Sin

Psalm 19

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins …
Psalm 19:12-13


Let’s start at the beginning, with grace and sin. Psalm 19:12-14 mentions three kinds of sin—errors, hidden faults, and willful sins.

Errors—sins we commit and are not aware of. David says, “Who can discern [one’s] errors?” We can commit error-sins for years and not be aware of them, unless someone courageously and lovingly points them out.

Hidden faults—sins we commit that we are aware of, but try to hide, hoping nobody catches on. David prays, “Forgive my hidden faults.”

Willful sins—attitudes, thoughts, words, actions that we know are wrong, and yet we do them anyway. David asks, “Keep your servant also from willful sins.”

But there is something encouraging here also. Though David knows he is a sinner, he is also still God’s servant.

Even willful sin doesn’t exclude us from God’s love. God’s grace never gives up on us! “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20). Despite our sin, we are still God’s servants. Maybe that’s why David asks, “May [my sins] not rule over me.” God’s servants have one ruler—and it ought not to be willful sin.

So David prays, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight.” And of whom does he make that request? “O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

God of all grace, we thank you that our sin—unintentional or willful, hidden or known—is never too great for your discerning, forgiving, keeping grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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