Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
In Psalms 51, King David poured out his heart to God in repentance for mercy and grace. This is a picture we should study as where can we who sin against God return to, but to God who alone is our healer and restorer of our souls? When we truly repent of our sins, we will not be ashamed or our repentance. As David did here in Psalms 51 we must run to God’s infinite mercy in Christ Jesus, and we must depend depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. The blood of Christ alone is the pardon for our sin. His blood sprinkled upon our mind, our heart and our conscience, wipes away all our sin and reconciles us to God, which in turn reconciles us to ourselves.
When we sin, if we are truly repentant we long to have the whole debt and weight of our sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed. We want to be thoroughly washed and cleansed from all our sins. Here in Psalms David is so overwhelmed by his deep sense of his sin, that it was all he could think about. He was beset with sorrow and shame. He prayed in earnest, in his repentance, in the hope that God would graciously accept his prayers and pleas for forgiveness. That’s why he was honest in his prayer to His Lord when he prayed Thou desirest truth in the inward part; David knew this is where God looked in our heart of hearts to see the truth within us, for where there is truth His Spirit will give wisdom.
Psalms 51: 10-12
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
When David realized the weight of his sin and how it had separated him from God, he realized he had hurt God and His purpose. The pain and sorrow he felt reached to every fiber of his heart, soul, mind, and entire being. When we sin, we oppose God and His purpose for our life. Our sin should create a similar deep emotional response within us, for it is our sin that played a major part in the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins. With the feeling of repentance there is an emotional response, however emotional sorrow alone is not the answer.
Paul tells us
2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Paul says godly sorrow produces repentance (change) toward salvation, while worldly sorrow is like saying, “I’m sorry I got caught. I’ll be more careful next time I sin.” Two kinds of repentance are possible in human experience. One is a human guilt and a feeling induced by the fear of getting caught. Many times we recognize the unpleasant consequences of our sin and know that we are guilty. This results in a superficial sorrow that may lead to a temporary guilt but not to a genuine turning to Christ for forgiveness. Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is accompanied by conviction of the Holy Spirit, showing us that we have offended God. The conviction by His Spirit brings true repentance.
With the blood of Christ applied to our hearts and souls by faith, we are purified and forgiven. By the blood of Christ, which cleanses us from all sin, we are clean indeed, Heb 10:2. David prayed not to be comforted, until he was first cleansed of his sin. David prayed let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun.
In the heart of every truly repentant believer there is a desire of renewal to holiness so that the joy of salvation can be restored in our lives. David saw what an unclean heart he had, and knew that he could not change it. He then prayed to God to create in him a clean heart. When we struggle with our sin it makes us weak. Sometimes we are ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, then as David did we must pray “Uphold me with your Spirit”. God is your God of salvation and Jesus is the Lord of your life, and He will deliver you from guilt and from sin. We may therefore plead with Him “Lord, you are the God of my salvation, therefore deliver me from sin”.
If we are truly convinced and sorry for our sin, we will spare no cost to obtain the forgiveness of our sins. We read here in David’s repentance that when we are truly repentant there is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart within us, and sorrow for sin. Our hearts should be tender, and pliable to God’s sacrifice of His Son upon the cross. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us!
God is graciously pleased to accept a broken and tender heart yearning for forgiveness. The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance without faith in Him. The world around you will despise that which is broken, but God will not. He will not overlook you in your repentance. Christ will never refuse or reject you. God receives no satisfaction for the wrong done to him by sin, only joy and satisfaction when we accept the blood sacrifice of His Son Christ Jesus for the remission of our sins.
So enjoy true repentance, and let your joy today be full. May we realize that this is our joy, and the joy of all the redeemed, that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ, and that we have the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of his grace. It doesn’t get any better than that.
May we say with David as he did in Psalms 51:15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Believers: Rejoice and again I say REJOICE.