What Does Psalm 51:5 Mean?

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

Psalm 51:5(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Psalm 51 is a penitential prayer to God, where David confesses his grievous faults before the Lord and seeks the remission of his sin. The king's sincere lament and deep contrition for his ungodly actions against Bathsheba, Uriah and the entire nation of Israel, is often used by believers as a model prayer for confession... by those that grieve over their sin and find the weight of their own guilt has impacted their relationship with God and frustrated their inner peace and joy.

David did not try to justify his sin, by placing the blame onto others or minimising the severity of his wrongdoings. Rather, we see a man grieving deeply over his transgressions, confessing his sin to God and seeking to restore his relationship with the Lord. "Blessed are those that mourn over their sin", we read in Matthew, "for they shall be comforted". And John reminds us, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". And David did just that.

For some time, David had tried to ignore his faults but discovered that unconfessed sin becomes a grievous barrier that destroys our inner peace and blocks our communion with the Lord. But finally, he arrived at the place where he was ready and willing to face his sin, and confess his faults.. and so he appealed for cleansing because of God's goodness and grace.

David asked for forgiveness - not because he merited it but based on God's gracious character. Over the months David had discovered his closeness to the Lord had been eroded, because of unconfessed sin. He was driven to the point where he needed the stain on his soul to be washed away and cleansed. Be merciful to me, Elohim, according to Thy loving-kindness.."  he cried, "according to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions!

David had strayed far from the Lord because of his sin and knew that only God's forgiveness could cleanse his blackened heart, "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and from my sin make me clean." he pleaded. He was aware of his sin, for his conscience was troubling him, "my sin is ever before me", he confessed. "Against You only have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your eyes".

David was a sinner from his conception, like all humanity, but he had been saved by grace through faith in God's Word and his faith was reckoned as righteousness. David recognised his sinfulness in verse 5, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." 

David was not implying that his mother had given birth to him due to an adulterous affair or some similar sexual misdemeanour. David understood that as part of the fallen, human race, we are all sinners. We are children of sinners in a race of sinful men. We are not sinners because we sin... we sin because we are sinners, from conception - and sinners need cleansing. Sinners need forgiveness of sin, which can only come from God.

Like all little boys and girls, David did not have to be taught to do wrong. He was sinful because of His lineage to Adam - he was "brought forth in iniquity". His mother and grandmother were both sinners. His father and forefathers were all sinners and David had been conceived by two sinful people - two members of Adam's fallen race. His sinful acts were a result of the sin-nature, imputed to all humanity through Adam - man's inherited, fallen nature.

Sin cannot be explained away because of environmental issues or due to some trauma. Every member of the human race is "brought forth in iniquity". All of us were conceived from fallen parents. We are all sinners with a sin nature. We all fall short of God's perfect righteousness and we all need forgiveness of sin.

How we praise God for His amazing plan of redemption, which David enjoyed so long ago, and which is still available today, for all who will trust in Christ. Like King David, we were all brought forth in iniquity and each one of us was conceived by fallen parents, but praise God, that we have been redeemed through the blood of Christ that was shed for us on Calvary's tree. 

How we praise God that although we were born dead in trespasses and sins Christ's sacrificial death paid the price for our sin and His glorious resurrection broke the power of sin and Satan, death and hell, in the life of all who believe. Praise His holy name,

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been saved by grace and declared righteous in Your sight, through faith in the Lord Jesus. Thank You that if I confess my sin to You... You are faithful and just to forgive me and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I pray that I would not seek to justify my wrongdoings or try to blame others for my sinful actions. Help me to fly to Your throne of grace, for the mercy and forgiveness that is promised to all who trust in You. Thank You for Your plan of redemption that gives every man and woman the opportunity to turn to You for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. How I praise You for your loving-kindness and great compassion towards Adam's fallen race and I pray that I live my life to honour you, in all I do and say, for Christ's sake, AMEN. 

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Psalm 51:5 Further Study

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