1 Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. 2 Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you —you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge. 5 Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. 10 God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God—God of my salvation—and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God. 18 In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. — Psalm 51:1-19
10 Affirmations That Lead Us To Repentance
by Melodie Tunney
Psalm 51 is a beautiful picture of whole-hearted, honest, gut-level repentance. Its background is one of the most familiar and heinous sin stories recorded in the Bible (1 Samuel 11:1-12:25). The transgressions represented in the story of David and Bathsheba include breaking pretty much all of the 10 Commandments—most notably, #6-10. Psalm 51 shows us the heart of someone who is truly repentant—not just because they were “caught.”
Here are 10 affirmations that can lead us to true repentance from this powerful Psalm.
- God is merciful, and His love and compassion for us will never fail – no matter what sins we may commit. (v. 1)
- Only through the blood of Jesus Christ can sins be forgiven. (v.2, Romans 5:8, 1 John 1:7)
- Our sins, although they have lasting consequences in the lives of others, are ultimately against God Himself. (v. 4)
- God desires that we walk in the light of His truth. (v. 6)
- There is cleansing and restoration to be found after our sin has been confessed. This is also a gift from the Lord. (v. 7-9)
- God re-creates a clean heart in us. (v. 10 – The Hebrew word for “create” means to shape, to start over, to perfect)
- After forgiveness, there is joy! (v. 8, 12)
- Our hearts and minds have to be willing to receive forgiveness. (v. 12)
- When we are forgiven, we have a story of redemption to tell. (v. 13-15)
- God desires that our hearts break over sin, as His does. (v. 17)
The New Testament continues the truths of Psalm 51 most notably in the many letters Paul wrote to the churches and to those he mentored. He encouraged them to recognize their sin and then receive God’s forgiveness and grace. These words from Titus 3:3-6 (NIV) state this well: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Our response to this should be, “Hallelujah! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!”
If you are walking in a place of repetitive sin, or if you find it hard to receive God’s forgiveness, may your eyes and heart be awakened to His mercies that are new to you every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). And may you resonate with the words of Horatio Spafford:
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
- What sins are you most aware of in your life? How are you dealing with them? Do you believe God will forgive?
- Dig deeper on the points listed that speak to your heart in the most personal ways. Read the story of David and Bathsheba (1 Samuel 11:1-12:25). If you have a study Bible, seek out scripture passages that are linked to Psalm 51.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.