Born in Sin (Psalm 51) (Passion)
- Order of Service: Divine Service 1
- Hymns: LSB #419, 607, 563, 334
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)
Once there was a powerful warrior-king. His enemies trembled in the shadows. Hoping he would not attack. He had everything he could possibly ever want. But he wasn't satisfied. There was one thing he wanted that he couldn't have. But he was the king. He ruled over the whole country. Everything in the country belonged to him. So he could have it. It all seemed logical. It all seemed legal. It all seemed to wrap itself up perfectly.
This king thought that he had everything under control. But everything spiraled out of his control and into the dark oblivion of sin. This great and powerful, often benevolent, king became a merciless tyrant. Ordering people killed for being in the way of his heart's desire.
When he reached the bottom of his dark spiral, he wrote our sermon text, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." His puffed-up pride over being king transformed into a quivering mass of weeping humanity on his bedroom floor.
King David of Israel wrote the fifty-first psalm after the multitude of sins from his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba were revealed to him. It wasn't just one thing. It was a multitude of things. And he hid them so well that only a prophet of God would be able to discover them. He hid them in public. He hid them among the official channels of Israelite society. He made himself look gracious and kind as he continued to live in his sin. He fooled everyone around him. But God was not fooled. God knew and saw the iniquity and the hypocrisy of the man He had chosen to rule over His people. He had been considered a man after God's own heart. But he allowed himself to place his treasures on what he had. The power. The prestige. The women. His heart had grown around his treasures. He trusted in what he had acquired. God uncovered David's sin and brought it into the public eye. He would not allow David to live pridefully in his sin. God cut him to the core as he pronounced the death of the child. The child born in sin.
But God doesn't stop there. He pokes David's heart to remember that everyone born of man is born in sin. You were brought forth in iniquity. You were conceived in sin. Not necessarily that the union between your parents was sinful in nature, but that you have their original sin passed down to you. You sin because you are a sinner. This is why we come to Ash Wednesday services and hear those dreadful words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
You find yourselves face down on the floor of your bedroom, your kitchen, your living room. Crying out to God, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" and, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." You seek cleansing because you know that nothing good dwells in your flesh. You cannot clean yourself. Someone else must clean you. But you are surrounded by sinful dust, molded into your family and friends. They can't clean you either. You can only be cleaned by one not born in sin. Only one was ever born without sin. Jesus Christ.
He walked in our flesh, but He didn't have the sin. In fact, He became sin. Jesus suffered the complete depths of Hell as He hung on the cross. Three hours of pitch black darkness. Three hours of Hell on earth. He died for David's sin. For your sin. To cleanse you from all your sin.
And He encourages you to listen to Him, "Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love." Returning to God can only happen through Jesus. Believing that He died on the cross for you. That He suffered the torments of Hell for you. That He will make you His righteousness.
Jesus came in the flesh to redeem you. This is the consolation that we have in the crucifixion. Jesus suffered and died to grant you the forgiveness of your sins. Just as He forgave David's sins. He forgives all sins of everyone born in sin and broken by their need for forgiveness. For this, you can rejoice in Lent as we study Jesus' Passion because He did everything for you. Amen.