May 17, 2012

The Decision to Return to God: The Model Confession [The Model Series, Part 2 of 3]

Psalm 51:1
"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."

Do you feel trapped by a besetting sin or tormented by guilt? Repentance is the key to finding freedom and joy again. Begin by reading the story of David and Bathsheba, which is found in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25.

David behaved as if nothing was wrong. After all, it was only adultery, murder, conspiracy to murder, and so forth. He even played the Consoler-in-Chief with Uriah's pregnant widow afterwards. And, on top of that, the LORD sent convicting messages from others, culminating in Nathan's confrontation & condemnation, "Thou art the man."

When Bath-sheba told David she was with child, David had an opportunity to repent. When Uriah maintained his integrity by refusing to lie with his wife while his men were at war, David had another chance to change the course of his choice. When Joab told David about how Uriah died at the battlefront, he had a third shot at getting it right. Even as David sent for Bath-sheba and spoke to his servants with words to the effect of "Fetch me Bath-sheba" or "Bring her to me", he had occasion to consider his decisions. But, David didn't.

Thus, the LORD sent Nathan to declare, "You're the man." And David acknowledged this charge by answering: "I have sinned against the Lord." What about you, Reader? Have you admitted your sins before the Lord?

David composed Psalm 51 as a result of this debacle and fall into sin. This doesn’t mean that David failed to recognize the wrong he had done against Uriah and Bath-sheba. However, he realized that his sin was chiefly against the Lord. In this Psalm, we see a model confession. Much like the model prayer in yesterday's post, I need to remind you all that Psalm 51 is only a model, an approach to take when coming before the Lord to get right with Him.

"For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me."  (v. 3)

That is, admit you sins and confess them to God. I Jn 1:9 is a comforting promise by God to forgive us if we take the first step to confess our sins.

"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."  (v. 4)

Assume full responsibility for sin. Don't deflect the blame as tempting as it is. Anytime we try to blame someone else for our wrongdoing, repentance is incomplete. Ultimately, each individual involved in a sin has made a decision to rebel against God. David didn’t rationalize, “Lord, I wasn’t the only one involved. You know it takes two. She should have been more careful. I am only human.”

Confer Lk. 15:21 on the correct posture of humility before God. A great parable on confession and repentance.

"Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."  (v. 13)

Many people - both ungodly ones as well as saved ones - don't like this word and don't care much for the concept of turning from their wicked ways. It's human nature to be self-willed. However, without a full 180 degree turn, it's impossible to please God. In this verse we find that David conclusion that teaching sinners can only follow after acknowledging sin and assuming responsibility for his choices and then repenting. It's implicit that teaching others about God can only come after repentance.

Once again, confer with the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11. -32).

"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise."  (vv. 14-15)

I want you to notice that this confession process yields 5 wonderful benefits as per David's statements; it brings forth washing & cleansing (vv. 2, 10), purging (v.7), renewal & restoration (v.10, 12).

Knowing this, David observes that there is joy, gladness, rejoicing, a right spirit, and praise. It's not an easy process to own up to your sins, but it's necessary in the daily walk with Christ and in your relationship with God through Jesus (Heb. 12:5-13). But, there is the fruit of peace with God and the peace of God.

The Lord wants us to be honest about our sin, weaknesses, and frustrations. Truthfulness promotes fellowship (I Jn. 1:8, 10). As long as we are open with Him, He can continue to work with us.

Trouble starts when believers make excuses: “Now, Lord, I just made a mistake. After all, everybody has faults. Nobody is perfect.” Responding like this avoids the real issue. It is therefore dishonest. Those who constantly deny their guilt will not mature spiritually or find freedom from sin.

David’s failure to repent sooner increased the severity of the penalty for his rebellion. But if we deal with our sin genuinely, openly, and immediately, God often lessens the harshness of His chastisement. Why is that? Because if He sees that we have purposed to obey next time, stern correction is usually not needed.

The longer we put off repentance, the greater God’s discipline. Those who are wise will repent quickly.

  • Dear Christian, is the Lord prompting you to repent of a particular sin? If so, pray about it, And, if you are not saved, now's the time. Don't put off tomorrow what can be done today!

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

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