Fallen and Restored Devotion Part IV

What is the Psalm 51 known for? It is known for being a model prayer of genuine repentance. For King David, the gig was up. There was no defense he could make before God. He pleaded guilty before the Judge of Heaven and earth. “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” (v.3-4)

Not only did David acknowledge his sinful acts, but he also acknowledged his sinful nature. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (v. 5) RC Sproul rightly said, “We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.” We must remember that a nature that is tainted by sin will sin. Like David, we must acknowledge both our sin acts and our sin nature.

That is what we acknowledge when we pray the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. What is the fifth petition? “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” that is, be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us miserable sinners our manifold transgressions, nor the evil which always clings to us… (Heidelberg Catechism #126) You could say that Psalm 51 is the long version of the fifth petition. We should take note that David made no excuse for his sin. He didn’t blame Bathsheba, God, nor the devil. He alone was to blame. Someone who makes excuses for sin has yet to truly repent.

In Psalm 51, David hung his head in prayer. True devotion to Christ will feel the despair and know the destruction of sin. A man will NOT demand forgiveness, rather he will declare his own sinfulness and beg for forgiveness. The greatest killer of devotion to Christ is an unwillingness to confess sin. If this Psalm teaches you anything, may it teach you your need to repent and confess sin! For those who truly repent, confess wrongdoing, and trust Christ, God gives this promise in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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