The Importance of Forming True Christian Character
Psalm 51:6
Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.

Character is not reputation, but that which makes the man what he is. Our text was David's utterance after his eyes had been opened to his own nature. How often is it that things pass unnoticed until some great event fixes attention upon them. Inadequate provision for egress in public buildings remains unnoticed until some terrible fire and vast loss of life turn all eyes to it. So with tendencies of character, our own inward evil — some terrible sin makes us awake to it as we had never been before. Let us note from the text —

I. THE DIVINE IDEAL FOR THE LORD'S PEOPLE. "Thou desirest truth," etc. By truth is meant genuineness, reality, sincerity. Long ago Thomas Carlyle awoke a great deal of interest by his vigorous denunciation of shams. He but echoed the Scriptures. For such sincerity a new birth is essential. Yet this is a voluntary exercise (Acts 3:19). Again, it is said "Make you a new heart." It is the turning of your spirit to Him. And we must be thorough in this. God requires truth in the "inward parts." Christ is the model of such sincerity and truth. But He is not the full model, for He never knew what the qualms of conscience were; never experienced the conflict of the law of His members and the law of His Spirit. Hence, servants of Christ such as Paul are given to us to supplement this ideal. Paul says, "Be ye followers of me."

II. THE DIVINE WORK IN GOD'S PEOPLE. "In the hidden parts shalt," etc. Note —

1. What the teacher is to do. He is to make us know wisdom. This He does through His Word; His providence; His disciples, trials and disappointments.

2. What has the scholar to do? Submit to the Word of God. Walk circumspectly. Try to realize what is the true ideal of character. The Greek word is one which signifies "to engrave." An engraved plate will leave an impression according to what itself is. Character is cut out by circumstances, by the man's own actions.

(John Hall, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

WEB: Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Religion the Only True Wisdom
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