Psalms 19:12-13 (ESV) Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
I love how the inspired writers of the New Testament take Jesus’ instructions from Luke 24 on how to interpret the Old Testament and then write, teach and preach from the Scriptures in such a way to put Jesus in the middle and reveal the mission and tactics of God for his glory and our salvation and good in life.
James says that faith without works is dead. Some were saying that they just need to think and believe in their heads and hearts the right things to be saved. Some were saying they needed to keep the law to be saved.
James tells them all that he will show them his faith by his works because the demons think and believe the right things about God and tremble, yet they are not saved.
James is not simply making this up. James sees this glorious reality in the texts of the Old Testament. As I like to say, “It’s in the Manual.”
David asks the rhetorical question in Psalm 19:12, “Who can discern his errors?” Man, if we honestly evaluate ourselves, we have to say “amen!” to David’s question. I’m so full of errors, I’m surprised anything can come out of me but errors.
Then David exclaims, “Declare me innocent of hidden faults.” Wow. How can David exclaim this?
I believe David, by the Holy Spirit, prophetically looks to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and by faith exclaims to God that he is sinful and in need of God to save him completely.
Reading this from David makes me think he had some Holy Spirit insight into what would be written by the writer of Hebrews in chapters 8-10 of their letter to the persecuted Jewish followers of Jesus.
Hebrews 10:14 (ESV) For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
This span of chapters in the New Testament is where I go when I need to be reminded of God’s love for and Jesus’ work to secure that love for me. I can’t even know the full measure of how sinful I am. God knows. I don’t know. So I need God to declare me innocent. How can God do that? Jesus’ crucified in my place for my sin and raised to life to be received by faith! That’s how.
Then David turns around in the next verse and asks the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins and to not let them get dominion over him.
This is a big deal. David knows he needs God to do what he can’t do. Then he recognizes that he has a role to play under the powerful working of God in him to become aware of and weed out sins that are rooted in the presumption. He recognizes that he has work to do to kill sin and not presume that God will just be ok with continuing in sin because of Jesus’ work to deal with my sin.
In other words, David is asking for help to get control over the temptation to presume on the riches of the cross of Jesus to cover his sins. To say it another way, David has to do something to fight against sin precisely because Jesus has provided forgiveness for sin.
Faith at work in working out his faith through fighting sin with actions to curb presumption.
Faith without works is dead.
So, what are the ways God has graciously given you to work out your faith in Jesus in fighting sin?
God is immeasurably glorious, big, good, and full of love. Sin is devastatingly bad. The justifying work of the cross is infinitely deep. How do you take hold of all that goodness by faith?
Meditate on this Scripture and that question, journal some ways you work this out in faith, and then you will become aware of one of the most marvelous processes God is using in you to shape you into Christlikeness.
You will see and know faith without works is dead, preached in the whole Bible, become aware of God’s amazing grace to you, and have some tools to fight sin and know God better than ever before.