“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).”
Billionaire Richard Branson has backed a project directed by a research company, named Lanzatech, that could be a “game changer” in providing low carbon fuel for commercial jetliners.¹ The process involves converting carbon monoxide rich waste products from steel making and other manufacturing to ethanol by fermentation which in turn is made into aviation fuel. If this process can truly be made practical it may prove to be a good development. “We can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft,” said Lanzatech chief executive Jennifer Holmgren.
Webster’s defines the word salvage as “the act of saving or rescuing property in danger, or something extracted (as from rubbish) as valuable or useful.² This idea of taking something that was previously considered filthy waste and unfit for any good use and creating something clean and profitable has been a process and aim that God has long perfected.
After David’s ugly episode of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah to cover up the affair (2 Samuel 11), he finally reckoned with his great sin and tradition holds that he penned Psalm 51 from his prayerful plea for God’s restoration. David knew that remaining impenitent towards his sinful heart caused his body and soul to be destroyed (Psalm 32:3). So he made his appeal to God to first remove the filth from his heart – “Blot out my transgressions (Psalm 51:1).” Jesus bore our sins bodily on the cross (1 Peter 2:23) and through faith in His sacrifice we may ask God to blot out our sins as well.
Next David asked God to “wash me thoroughly,” and “cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:2).” Christians experience this powerful cleansing when they have their sins washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16) and as they continue to follow Christ, each stain of sin is continuously rinsed away by the most effective detergent, the shed blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7-9).
In a lasting appeal for renewal David entreated God to “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).” Herein is where God’s most powerful salvage program is realized. In taking the filthy and worthless hearts of men (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9) and creating a new heart in them instead (Ezekiel 36:26). The word “create” David uses is “bara,” which was used in Genesis 1:1 where God “created” the heavens and the earth. The use of this word “to create” in David’s heart indicates that it is action that God alone can take.³
It is out of our hearts that we do and speak the things that defile us and make us filthy, wasteful, and unfit for God’s service (Matthew 15:18-20). By ourselves, we are incapable of completing such a salvage project on our own hearts. But God is able and takes great delight in specializing in this very thing. Have you allowed the Spirit of God to perform this salvage project in your own heart?
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead (Colossians 2:12 ).”
Eddie Cloer, D.Min., Truth For Today Commentary Psalms 51-89, Resource Publications, 2006, p.11