Psalm 51 is written by David after he had gone in with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. David knows he has sinned, and now he is confessing and wants to deal with that sin. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions”. David has sinned in murder, adultery, the covering of His sin, and in hardness against repentance. He’s far from walking with God. And he knows that he needs God’s forgiveness. So he throws himself at the foot of the throne asking for forgiveness. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin”! Forgiveness begins with confession. David starts there.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me”. Sin doesn’t hide quietly. When we violate God’s laws and will for our life, it shouts at us until we make it right. David knew he was wrong and caught. “I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”. He was guilty as could be and wants to fix it. So he does the right thing and comes to God in repentance. He wants God to change him. Repentance is turning around from sin and going the other way. “You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart”. We can’t do that on our own. We need God’s strength to turn from sin.
Sin often comes with some consequences. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”. Confession and repentance are vital parts of the restoration process but don’t necessarily remove all the consequences that sin brings with it. The good news is that God’s forgiveness is complete. He washes us from that sin and sets us free from the eternal punishment that sin carries. But that forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ today. We need to confess, repent and trust in the One who was sent to set us free from the eternal punishment of sin – Jesus himself. We can’t earn our way to forgiveness. All of us will fall short. It is by His Blood that we can be made whiter than snow.
David knows that sinners need to change, but that change doesn’t happen by trying harder and doing more. We can’t earn salvation or forgiveness by what we do. We need God’s touch on our life. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”. It is God that works in us to make us free. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit”. God will meet us when we come to Him humbly seeking His forgiveness. He wants us to know our sin, and the plight it has for us. And then we have to take the right steps to be forgiven. It’s a matter of the heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart”. Are you right with God, or is there unconfessed and unforgiven sin in your life. The stakes are high. Don’t ignore it. Get right with God and receive the blessing of His forgiveness through Jesus Christ!