"I HAVE SINNED AGAINST YOU"
By Wayne S. Walker
"I said, ‘LORD, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You" (Psalm 41.4). This Psalm is identified as "A Psalm of David." However, we know nothing specific about the circumstances. We do know of some specific times in David’s life when he sinned, such as in committing adultery with Bathsheba and in numbering the people. However, while David was generally a man after God’s own heart, we would tend to conclude that David, as a child of God under the old covenant, understood the general truth that God revealed to His children under the new covenant, that "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). I suspect that David realized that he sinned more than just the two times listed previously.
I, too, must come face to face with the fact that in my weakness I have sinned against the Lord, more than I care to think, and, like the publican in Jesus’s parable, must cry out to the Lord, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13). However, we should all remember something. For an unbeliever to be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven requires more than just saying, "Lord, Lord" (Matthew 7:21). Likewise, for a child of God who sins to obtain forgiveness requires more than just saying, "I’m sorry; please forgive me." It requires genuine repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Charles H. Spurgeon said of Psalm 41:4, "Here was the root of sorrow. Sin and suffering are inevitable companions. Observe that by the Psalmist sin was felt to be mainly evil because directed against God. This is of the essence of true repentance."
However, when I truly repent and confess my sins, God is faithful and just to forgive me (1 John 1:9). This is referred to by the Psalmist as healing the soul. Just as when we are physically sick we want to be healed of our illness, so when we sin we need to be healed of our guilt. It was prophesied in the Old Testament that "To you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2). "The Great Physician now is near, The sympathizing Jesus; He speaks the drooping heart to cheer, O hear the voice of Jesus" (cf. Matthew 9:12). Therefore, I am so grateful that through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, God’s grace is available whereby I can tell the Lord, "I Have sinned against You" and receive healing for my soul.