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Create in Me a Clean Heart

There are times when sin makes us feel deeply unclean.

Maybe we have done something especially wicked, or watched something really vile, or entertained shameful thoughts—then we can feel so dirty, like there is a stench and a rottenness in us that just cannot be wiped away.

After David sinned with Bathsheba, he felt dirty: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,” he prays to God, “and cleanse me from my sin” (v. 2). He asks God for purging, even to be made white as snow (v. 7).

But it was not just this one ugly sin that David wants erased. The whole series of events since that moment when he first saw Bathsheba has shown him how completely his heart is corrupted.

He has been so disloyal toward the LORD, and his desires have been so evil, that he recognizes that much more than a one-time act of forgiveness is needed.

So he prays in verse 10:

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

David, and every sinner with him, needs a new beginning. Sin contaminates us so deeply and pervasively that our heart will never be able to produce goodness or faithfulness or love, but only filth. Our only hope is in the LORD, who must fashion something new within us.

And thanks be to God, he works a miracle of grace in our hearts through his Spirit!

It is God’s Spirit who can instill in us a willingness to obey the LORD, who can restore to us a true joy, and who can put a new song of praise on our lips. It is only through the Holy Spirit that our hearts can be remade.

God answered David’s prayer. When David was at his lowest and meanest, God didn’t take away his Holy Spirit, but he created a clean heart within him.

And God answers our prayers for the Spirit too. The Father has granted us his rich mercy in Christ, for he washes us in his blood from the filth of all our sins, and he sends us Christ’s life-giving Spirit. The Spirit has already made us clean and holy in God’s sight, and now his powerful work in us is continuing.

Humbly pray every day that Christ’s cleansing Spirit may fill and change you, that every day you may be able to resist all the contamination of sin. There is so much around us—and even still within us—that is impure.

But through the Spirit’s sanctifying power, may we be a clean and holy people for Christ in all that we do.


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