Leithart on the heart

I’ve been preparing a sermon on Romans 6 this week. The baptism language of Paul (6:1-4) drew me to read Peter Leithart’s book on ‘Baptism – A Guide to Life from Death‘ (2021). It’s a great little read on the subject of baptism which, in typical Leithart style, looks at the big picture themes of the bible and the multiple literary connections. Leithart also has plenty of interaction with the church fathers (I’d never heard of Zeno of Verona!) and he certainly stimulates my reflection on Scripture.

Near the end I came across this interesting note about the difference between David and Saul. It is a theme that I have been reflecting upon in 2 Samuel and echoes my own conclusions. So here is Leithart on the heart:

“David acts with brutal injustice when he commits adultery and murder. When Saul sinned, the grieved Spirit abandoned him (1 Sam 16:14). Saul’s heart remained unbroken, but the price of wholeness was the loss of the Spirit of Yawheh. ‘Take not your Spirit from me’ (Ps 51:11) means ‘Don’t let me be a Saul.’ David wants the Spirit, even if he must pay with a broken heart. Heartbroken, David weeps and fasts, so he is sprinkled with hyssop and cleansed in his inner parts (Ps 51:7).” [Peter Leithart, p 88. Baptism.]

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