Knowledge of One's Sins
Psalm 19:12
Who can understand his errors? cleanse you me from secret faults.

I. TO ACQUIRE A KNOWLEDGE OF OUR SINFULNESS IS EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT. This may be inferred from the fact that very few acquire this knowledge, and that none acquire it perfectly. We learn, both from observation and from the Scriptures, that of those sins of the heart, in which men's errors or sinfulness principally consist in the sight of God, they are all by nature entirely ignorant. Men will not come to the Saviour because they do not feel their need of Him. It is difficult to get a knowledge of our sin, for the influences of the Divine Spirit are represented as necessary to communicate this knowledge. But it would be needless to convince men of sin if they were not ignorant of their sins. Mankind are so blind to their own sinfulness, so ignorant of their true characters, that the Spirit of God alone can remove this blindness.


1. Because men are ignorant of the Divine law. By the law is the knowledge of sin. St. John says, sin is a deviation from the law. But mankind are naturally ignorant of the Divine law. They are alive without the law. He who would understand his errors must understand the Divine law.

2. Another cause is the nature of the human mind. It is like the eye which, while it perceives other objects, cannot see itself (save in a mirror). Men find it difficult to examine themselves.

3. Another cause is the prevalence of self-love. Every man is extremely partial ill judging himself, and exceedingly unwilling to discover his own faults.

4. The deceitfulness of sin is another cause.

5. Another is the effects which sin produces upon men's understandings and consciences. These faculties are the eyes of the soul, without which he can discern nothing. Just so far as sin prevails in the heart and life, so far it puts out or darkens these eyes of the mind with respect to all spiritual objects; so that the more sinful a man really is, so much the less sinful does he appear to himself to be.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

WEB: Who can discern his errors? Forgive me from hidden errors.

Kinds of Sin
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