Human frailty and fallenness manifests itself in a variety of ways. There are sins of weakness, sins of folly, sins committed because of ignorance. There are occasions when “the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19). David had a most insightful query when he asked: “Who can understand his errors?” (Psalm 19:12).
His petition in response to his question (Psalm 19:12-13) indicates a clear understanding of the diverse ways in which spiritual imperfection manifests itself in one’s life. He writes: “Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.” To accurately understand my errors I need to know:
- Sin can occur in secret. Within the deep recesses of my heart, the notorious gang of worldliness—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—hide out. Things spoken in the dark to only myself, things spoken in the inner room of the soul can be hidden from my fellow man, but not from my God (Luke 12:3). Intense, honest, painful, and frequent self-examination is necessary to cleanse my soul of these hidden spiritual reefs which shipwreck my love of the Father (1 John 2:15-16).
- Sin can occur overtly. Presumptuous sin is the rabid spiritual mindset that knowingly and intentionally ignores God’s will so I can do what I stubbornly want to do. It is the mindset that high-handedly demands my practice of will worship; it results in the way of Cain. Without a doubt, prevention of this sin is the wisest and best course of action.
- Sin ever seeks to enslave. Sin is spiritual cancer that will metastasize. Sin is spiritual gangrene that will destroy my spiritual health. Sin is spiritual leprosy that will deaden all sensitivity of my heart and conscience.
God’s infallible antidote for the plague of sin remains revealed in the perfect law, the sure testimony, the right statutes, the pure commandments, the clean fear, and the altogether true and righteous judgments of the Lord. When they are engrafted into my heart as God intended them to be, my prayer can be: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).