"Confession of Sin Leads to a Clean Heart."
Well Good Morning. As we make our way through the Psalms we have seen quite often some of the practical things in life we should work on as the Lord is sanctifying us as believers. Today is no different. In fact Psalm 51 is going to not be easy because it deals with the confession of sin. Confession of sin is never easy for us because of our ego and pride. Many of us don’t like to admit we are wrong.
Now In order for us to have a clear understanding of Psalm 51 we have to go back to 2 Samuel 11:1-12:23. Apart from this text in 2 Samuel we are not able to feel and see the whole weight of this individual and penitential (repentant) psalm in which David is earnestly pleading with God for His mercy and forgiveness of sin in his life.
Let me quickly recap what has happened in 2 Samuel for us and later I want to encourage you to read this text for yourself.
King David is living in Jerusalem while his armies are off fighting against the Ammonites. David one late afternoon decides too stroll out on to his roof top and sees a young lady named Bathsheba bathing. This is the wife of one of his military generals. David sends for her to come to his palace and David has intercourse with her and later on finds out that she has become pregnant. He then conspires to have her husband Uriah, killed in battle and sends him to the front lines where he is killed. After all of this transpires God tells Nathan to go to David and explain the implications of what he has done. Here are David’s only words.
13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
So, as we think about the text here in 2 Samuel we can now read Psalm 51 as the rest of this story. We now come to David’s confession and his plea for forgiveness. This is what should happen in the life of every true believer when there is unfaithfulness to God. When there is sin in our lives, this is the right and appropriate response. There are four significant truths that we as believers must understand when it comes to confessing our sin and seeking God’s forgiveness.
As believers today we have much to learn from those who have gone before us like David, and their failures can serve as warnings for us to learn from. So, this Psalm comes to us not only as a warning, but thankfully it should point us on how we should respond to sin as believers. In order for us to have a clean heart we must begin here.
1. Ask for God’s Mercy in your life.
1. Ask for God’s Mercy in your life.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Let me begin by giving you a working definition of mercy. Mercy is God’s goodness towards us sinners who are in misery and distress.
Psalm 51 opens up with David’s confession of his sin. David realizes what he has done and the seriousness of his sin which leads to his asking of God’s forgiveness. When we as sinners see how hurtful and terrible our sin truly is we must come to a place of casting ourselves before God and asking for His mercy. David here desires for God to be gracious to him because he realized that not only his adultery but also his murder of Uriah deserved the penalty of death. In Old Testament times these crimes were punishable by death and deserved death.
Church, when we are caught up in sin and sinful behavior this disrupts our fellowship with God and we have no right for the divine blessings of God in our life. Our sin separates us from a Holy and Righteous God.
But thankfully God offers us or shows us mercy by forgiving us. So, we can be forgiven. In fact, God has promised us His forgiveness, His love and His compassion.
6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiveness is a divine act of God’s grace where He blots out our sin and cleanses us by washing away our sin. In the Old Testament God’s people would go and offer up sacrifices for their sin and do ritual washings which symbolized the removal of sin and a renewal of fellowship with God. However the sacrifices in and of themselves could never fully take away sin. But God being rich in His mercy and grace gave us His one and only son to take away the sin of mankind once and for all. So, David’s prayer here is for forgiveness and cleansing. As believers we need to know that our sin is wrong, it is a serious offense against a holy and righteous God. Our sin is rebellion against God. It hurts God and it can hurt others as well. David’s sin caused Bathsheba too lose her husband. It caused David too lose his child and ultimately the sword would never depart from David’s family. This caused many problems in David’s house eventually leading to a divided kingdom. David’s sin was ever before him and he knew just how evil and devastating it truly was. So, Psalm 51 reminds us of the gravity of our sin. It reminds us of the seriousness, rebellious, hurtful and harmful things of sin.
But it also reminds us of how much we need to run to God. We so desperately need God’s forgiveness and His mercy when sin is committed. And the good news is we can be forgiven of our sin when it is confessed. This is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. An unbeliever continues in his or her sin never realizing sin is wrong and damaging thing therefore never coming to a place of seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. Has there come a place and time in your life where you recognized the seriousness of your sin? Have you sought the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness?
2. Confess your Sin with a Humble Heart.
2. Confess your Sin with a Humble Heart.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
David has come to a place where he is in search of God’s forgiveness. Here we see three different synonyms for sin.
-First of all David mentions his transgressions in verse 3.
-The second word David mentions is his iniquity.
-Finally, David mentions his sin. “It is ever before him.” All of these words help us to see the seriousness of our sin and of course David’s sin. This is why in verse 3 David says, “I know.” David has come to a place where he realizes how rebellious and defiant he has been against God. In verse 4 David says, “Against you and you only have I sinned.”
In verse 5 David now goes back to his birth. David knows that his sin goes back to the moment he was born. Now please here me. This is not saying that David’s mother was involved in an immoral relationship or in any kind of way dealing with specifics surrounding David’s birth. This has everything to do with the fact that we are born totally depraved. We are born into sin. We are born with hearts that are prone to wonder and be defiant against God. David’s life is a reminder that sin can so easily creep into any of our lives and can cause us to walk outside of God’s good plans for our lives.
God desires for His children to walk in righteousness and to obey His Words. But when we choose to go against God and do or live how we want, our sin is ever before us and must be confessed. We can’t hide it, and we can run away from it, because the Lord sees it all. He sees everything.
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
David realized that God is just and He is truth and David is in need of God’s wisdom. Another way of understanding verse 6 here is that only by receiving wisdom from God can we become whole or cleansed on the inside. Those who are godly cry out to God for cleansing and they confess their sin to God. And then here is the good news. Those who are believers receive assurance of God’s forgiveness.
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
3. We must ask God to Restore Us.
3. We must ask God to Restore Us.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
David now seeks God through prayer for a restored relationship with his God. Notice here in these verses 3 specific things that David is asking of God.
A. First of all, David prays for God’s forgiveness. (vs. 7,9)
B. Second, David prays for a renewal of joy. (vs. 8)
C. Finally, David prays for a heart of wisdom and restoration. (vs. 10-12)
Let me begin with the first step in David’s restoration. David knew that he needed the Lord’s forgiveness. But David goes beyond forgiveness because he asks God to purge him with hyssop. What in the world is this talking about you may ask??? Hyssop was a small plant shaped in a way that it could be used as a brush. The priests would sprinkle blood over a sacrifice or offering. For example for the Passover the priest would dip the hyssop branch in the blood and brush only the lintel and the two door posts. Hyssop was also used to sprinkle blood on people or sacrifices in certain cleansing ceremonies. So, what David is referring to was the process of sacrifice and specifically being cleansed by blood. David understood that the penalty for his sin was death, so in order for the sins to be paid for something and ultimately someone besides him would have to pay. God cannot overlook sin as if it didn’t happen. Here is how the author of Hebrews explains it.
19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
This is once and for all fulfilled in the New Testament by Christ who is our great high priest.
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Christ Jesus has died for our sin and because of His sacrifice and His forgiveness we can be made clean and be restored to God. Christ has made a way for you and I to be made clean. He alone has restored us so that we can stand before God.
David also prays for there to be a restored joy and gladness in his life. Joy is the result of God working in the lives of His people. His pleasure in our lives brings us joy and peace that we don’t get from the world or the things of this world. Since David has been reconciled to God he has a peace and joy in his life. This joy is the joy of his salvation from God.
One last thing here that we see David pray for is a heart of wisdom. As David seeks God’s wisdom for his life he can continue to maintain communion with God. David desires to be in a right communion or relationship with God. He desires a pure heart and a right spirit in order to walk with God. May this be our prayer as well church. Lord may you give us a clean heart and renew a right spirit in us your people.
4. We must Praise God for His Forgiveness.
4. We must Praise God for His Forgiveness.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
As David confesses his sin to God and God restores his inner being things begin to change in David’s life so much so that he can’t help but praise the Lord. He also has a deeper commitment to God. As God has forgiven David there is a restored joy for God and a concern for others. So much so that in verses 18-19 David prays for his people, the nation of Israel to be restored as well. As God has changed David’s life by forgiving him David prays that he would be an instrument for God by helping sinners turn back to God. (We too pray for family and friends to return to God)
Something else that stands out to us here is that praising God is a wonderful response for God’s deliverance. God has delivered David from “bloodguilt.” The judgement that David deserved for his sin was death.
Those of us today who have tasted and seen the grace of God in our own lives can’t help but praise God. We have been given a new lease on life. God has restored us and forgiven us and so as we look to the Lord, praise is ever on our lips. We should look for reasons to praise God.
Let me ask you today, what are you praising God for? Are you taking time to praise God, and tell him things you are thankful for? Do you find that there are times where you are more ungrateful? Are there more grumblings and complaints that come from your mouth? As believers we should be excited to praise the Lord.
We should have hearts of gratitude. David realized that it is not about the sacrifices and offerings that are given to the Lord. It is all about having a broken and contrite or repentant heart. God desires for our hearts and lives to be in the right place. This is what matters more than good works, church attendance, and serving God. Is your heart in the right place today Christian? The prerequisite for spiritual renewal is a humble heart so that we can walk with Christ.
Conclusion: God desires for each and everyone of His children to be a people who worship Him rightly, honestly, humbly and with sincerity. May we be quick to confess our sin to God and others and ask the Lord to forgive us so that we may be restored. May we be reminded today church that when we are quick to confess our sin we will be met with the compassion and mercy of our God.
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
If you are here today and you don’t know Christ as your Savior, if you have never asked God to forgive you of your sin I plead with you today to confess your sin to God and to submit your life to Him and know that He will forgive you. If you are here today and you are a believer living in sin will you confess that to Christ and ask him to forgive you? Will you return to Christ and stop living in rebellion?
The danger for anyone who will not submit their lives to Christ is that someday God will return and we will all stand and give an account for our lives. The righteous will be declared forgiven because they have turned from their sin and trusted Christ and were found to love God.
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
The guilty unrepentant sinner however will stand condemned of sin and eternity in hell. Today you have a chance to hear the invitation to come to Christ, confess your sin and be forgiven. Will you do this today?
(Pray and Lead into Communion)