Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Who can say, I have made my heart clean?—Though we may have done our best by self-examination and confession, and repentance and trust in the atoning blood of Christ to obtain remission of sin, still the heart is so deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), sins may so easily have escaped our notice (Psalm 19:12, 1Corinthians 4:4), that satisfaction with ourselves ought never to be allowed (Romans 11:20).Proverbs 20:9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean? — No man can say that he hath made his own heart clean: but God can create in man a clean heart, as David expresses himself, Psalm 51:10, (on which see the note,) and can renew a right spirit within him; I am pure from my sin — No man can render himself pure, either from the guilt of his past sins, or from the power or pollution of his corrupt inclinations and passions; but God surely, according to his promise, if we confess our sins, past and present, with humiliation, contrition, and godly sorrow for them, and rely on him, who gave himself for his church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and render it a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, can, and will freely and fully forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He can justify us from all things, communicate to us a divine nature, and stamp his whole image on our souls.Who can say? no man living upon earth can say this truly and sincerely. Compare 1 Kings 8:46 Job 14:4 15:14 Ecclesiastes 7:20 1Jo 1:8. I am pure from my sin; I am perfectly free from all guilt and filth of sin in my heart and life.
I am pure from my sin? the sin of nature or of action: such indeed who are washed from their sins in the blood of Christ; whose sins are all pardoned for his sake, and who are justified from all things by his righteousness; they are pure from sin, none is to be seen in them, or found upon them in a legal sense: they are all fair and comely, and without fault in the sight of God; their iniquities are caused to pass from them; and they are clothed with fine linen, clean and white, the righteousness of the saints: but then none are pure from indwelling sin, nor from the commission of sin; no man can say this, any more than the former; if he does, he is an ignorant man, and does not know the plague of his heart; and he is a vain pharisaical man; yea, a man that does not speak the truth, nor is the truth in him, 1 John 1:8.Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. Comp. Psalm 19:12; Jeremiah 2:22; Luke 18:9-14.Verse 9. - Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? The question implies the answer, "No one." This is expressed in Job 14:4, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." At the dedication of the temple, Solomon enunciates this fact of man's corruption, "There is no man that sinneth not" (1 Kings 8:46). The prophet testifies, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately sick: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). And St. John warns, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). The heart is cleansed by self-examination and repentance; but it is so easy to deceive one's self in this matter, sins may lurk undetected, motives may be overlooked, so that no one can rightly be self-righteous, or conceited, or proud of his spiritual state. The "my sin" at the end of the clause is rather possible than actual sin; and the expression means that no one can pride himself on being secure from yielding to temptation, however clean for a time his conscience may be. The verse, therefore, offers a stern corrective of two grievous spiritual errors - presumption and apathy.
But every fool showeth his teeth.
Or better: whoever is a fool quisquis amens, for the emphasis does not lie on this, that every fool, i.e., every single one of this sort, contends to the uttermost; but that whoever is only always a fool finds pleasure in such strife. Regarding התגּלּע, vid., Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 18:1. On the contrary, it is an honour to a man to be peaceable, or, as it is here expressed, to remain far from strife. The phrase may be translated: to desist from strife; but in this case the word would be pointed שׁבת, which Hitzig prefers; for שׁבת from שׁבת means, 2 Samuel 23:7, annihilation (the termination of existence); also Exodus 21:19, שׁבתּו does not mean to be keeping holy day; but to be sitting, viz., at home, in a state of incapability for work. Rightly Fleischer: "ישׁב מן, like Arab. ḳ'ad ṣan, to remain sitting quiet, and thus to hold oneself removed from any kind of activity." He who is prudent, and cares for his honour, not only breaks off strife when it threatens to become passionate, but does not at all enter into it, keeps himself far removed from it.
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