God Forgives the Penitent

God lovingly forgives those who repent of their sins.

Psalm 51 is believed to be the psalm of King David’s repentance, after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan regarding his sins about Bathsheba. It lays bare David’s genuine sorrow and repentance for the terrible sins he had committed-adultery, deception and murder. Because all have sinned, and God commands repentance of all, and we who trust in Christ for salvation have repented, we can connect with the feelings expressed by David in this psalm. Though written about 3000 years ago in a very different time from the world today, the human need for the forgiveness of sins, and for sorrow for sins and repentance, has not changed.

God ain’t mad at you!

Some folks believe and are brought up to believe that we have to earn God’s Grace and forgiveness. We can’t earn a gift folks. If we had to work for it, it would no longer be a gift!

I was brought up believing that the Lord was looking down, ready to wipe my name off the list at any given time. That isn’t so! There is nothing we can do within this flesh to gain salvation!


A. God Is Full of Love and Compassion

Psalm 51:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

51:2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

…….When a person sins they do one of three thing; repent and ask for forgiveness, turn away from God due to an ignorant fear that God will never forgive and desires to publish our sins, or nothing at all which is just as dangerous as the second. King David was so warped by his sin that he had to be confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel ch. 2). When David was confronted about his sin he plead for God’s mercy and would do everything it required to receive forgiveness! He didn’t just ask for forgiveness, he asked to be blotted of his transgressions (intentional sins) and to be washed of his iniquity (everything that represents sin). True forgiveness come from a complete repentance.

B. God Knows Our Sins and Transgressions

51:3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

…….Repenting before the Lord starts with the realization that I, within my own self, have created this error. We can’t put blame on anyone else for our sins, no matter who it involves.

51:4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

…….Ultimately all of our sins are against God regardless of who is involved. This is the importance of coming to God First for repentance, and then following His guidance to make things right.

51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

…….David understands that he was born into a world of sin and can do nothing within himself to avoid it. Our flesh is desirous for the pleasures of sin and the better we understand that, the easier it is to avoid failure. Because of this, we must be full of His Spirit!

51:6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

…….God desires us to come to the realization that He sees it all, and that is the only way we must come to Him! Not holding anything back in repentance! Dear Lord take it all, because you see it all!


A. Whiter Than Snow

51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

…….Two facts about being saved are this, sin will make you feel disgusting, and forgiveness will make you feel clean inside and out. If there is any moment that you feel the same no matter how you are living, it is possible that salvation is not present. David understood this and plead to be clean all over again!

51:8  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

…….One of the greatest aspects about forgiveness is how it changes the mind. When you know you are forgiven, those thoughts of the past are easier to overcome. When the enemy tries to force those images to the front over your mind, you can give it to the Spirit and he will wipe them with the thoughts of the blessings of God!

David knew that though his relationship with the Lord may have not been completely cut off, it was severely broken, and he longed for restoration with God.

51:9  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

…….Though we are held accountable for our sins, in His forgiveness the Lord removes them from His memory. David asked the Lord to not only forgive him but to also blot or (or remove) “all” of his sin. In my prayers I ask the Lord to never let me become satisfied with sin. Oh Lord cut off communication from me when I stumble, that way when I’m wondering where you are I will realize why you seem hidden. Dear Jesus please let me know every time I stumble and mess up! Convict me instantly!

B. Pure Heart and Steadfast Spirit

51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

…….I like what the Sunday school book commentary says for this. David realized that he needed a new creation from God within himself. Specifically, he needed a “clean heart” and a “right spirit”. David had yielded to the temptations of sinful desires, leading him to commit the crimes of adultery and murder. David prayed for a conversion experience, so he would again live in obedience to God.

51:11  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

…….David knew first hand of the results of God’s Spirit departing. He had seen the fall of King Saul because of his persistent sinning, rebellion and the refusal to repent. Thankfully God’s Holy Spirit had not departed from David, and David prayed this way.

When God places His anointing on someone’s life, it does not come with powers of invisibility, nor does it come maintenance free. It is our duty to refrain from ALL sin for this very purpose. With our minds set on refraining from sin, comes the power of the Spirit within to continue this way.


A. Restore and Deliver

51:12  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

51:13  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

…….With the forgiveness of sins comes a desire to teach and show others how to avoid sinning against God.

51:14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

51:15  O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

…….To be able to teach others with a clear conscience, David needed God to free him from the guilt of the murder he had committed against Bathsheba’s former husband Uriah. It’s hard to testify still being bound by the guilt of the past. When we live a guiltless life in full freedom, it makes it easy to praise the Lord and worship with a clear conscience! If you have something holding you back in worship, give it to God! When He forgives, you are free!!!

B. A Pleasing Sacrifice.

51:16  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

…….Broken spirit and contrite (crushed) heart is the only path to forgiveness in the midst of sin. While God despises the proud in their folly, His attention turns to those who are fully ashamed of sin. He finds pleasure in those who have no pleasure in sin!

Because God forgave David, saved him from being destroyed by his sin, and restored him to a right relationship with himself, David praised God and taught others to live pleasing to God. The fact is, every believer in Christ has been forgiven by God, saved from sin, and brought into a right relationship with God. The extent of our sins and forgiveness does not have to be equal to that of David for us to praise God and encourage others to live for him. Out of deep gratitude for the great salvation we have in Christ, let us glorify God continually with our words and deeds.

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