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Resource Sheet 6 - Repentance

Using David's example of repentance in Psalm 51 we can find keys to help us deal with sin in our lives. His sin with Bathsheba and its consequences is recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12. Adultery was followed by deception, then murder, cover-up, exposure and death. When confronted by the prophet Nathan, David's response was "I have sinned against the Lord."

In Psalm 51 we have four steps leading to forgiveness for David.

  1. Confession - David admitted his personal sin and prayed to God for pardon. He didn't seek to excuse himself, or blame another, nor remind God of how good he'd been in the past. He recognised that he was guilty and stood condemned and under God's judgement. He threw himself on God's mercy, "according to your unfailing love" v.1 and acknowledged God's right to do to David what He judged fair.

    We can offer no excuses but know that God's mercy is extended to us in Jesus. "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2)

  2. Cleansing - David prayed for personal cleansing and a renewed spirit. v.2,7. This cleansing is no quick rinse effort but a thorough and repeated scrubbing, a complete cleansing from the polluting power of sin.

    He acknowledged his need for a total overhaul, a complete spiritual bath to rid himself of the stain of sin. "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts." v.6. He recognised that only God could give him a pure heart. v.10. How blessed we are that the blood of Jesus offers us complete cleansing and the indwelling Holy Spirit lives in our hearts.

  3. Restoration - David called upon God for the restoration of joy and love that he once knew. Sin had broken fellowship with the One he loved. Acknowledging his sin brought cleansing and a fresh realisation of God's compassion, love and mercy. Love overflowed and the joy of forgiveness filled him. v.12

    "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

  4. Rededication - David rededicated himself in service to God. Again he had a testimony to God's love and mercy he was eager to share with others. v.13-15. He was ready to offer sacrifices to God. He was no longer proud or self-sufficient, dependent on past experiences of God. He knew he needed to depend on the Lord, and would fail again without his Holy Spirit.

    "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)

We are reminded that we are welcome to come and need to encourage those to whom we minister that Jesus has done everything necessary to make it possible. Hebrews 10:19-27 - "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching."