Ps 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight – that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.
:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
:8 Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken my 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 steadfast spirit within me.
:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take You Holy Spirit from me.
:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners shall be converted to You.
:14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.
:18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.
:19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.
This is headed A Prayer of Repentance.
David used three words in this psalm to describe his failure.
- Transgression, which means “to deliberately break through the boundary of God's law.”
- Sin, which means “to fall short of what God requires.”
- Iniquity, an act that springs from the inner twistedness of our human nature.
He also told about God's mercy, unfailing love, and great compassion.
He told us how God views our sin after we confess it.
- Our transgressions are blotted out (erased from God's record book)
- Our iniquities are washed away (like stains rinsed out of a cloth)
- Our sins are cleansed (purified by God)
Some people think forgiveness is easy. They flippantly ask God to “forgive me for anything I've done wrong today, “ and off they go. They need to read Ps 51. Confessing sin to God means to say the same thing about our sin that God says about it. David called it by its name and we should also.
1 Jn 1:9 promises that when we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive. But don't skimp on the confessing part. We don't have to beg God to forgive us. But when we follow David's example here in confession, we recognize how much our sin hurts our Father – and how big a price Jesus paid to wash us clean from sin's stain.