Knowing You Are Forgiven – Part Two

I realize even after the extensive lesson on forgiveness in yesterday’s blog, some might still be struggling with forgiveness. Many struggle so much with the guilt associated with sin that they never FEEL forgiven. You know the FACT of God’s forgiveness, yet you never FEEL the act of God’s forgiveness.

The more I study 1 John 1:9 the more I understand the impact of God’s forgiveness. It is the FACT of God’s forgiveness that helps me FEEL the emotion of God’s forgiveness.

I still cannot escape the last part of verse 9:

…to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As I recorded yesterday, when we confess our sins, God sets us free from two things. First, he sets us free from the penalty of sin—“to forgive us our sins”. Second, he sets us free from its contamination—“and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. What a great God! What a loving God.

Yet the Bible has more, so much more, to say about forgiveness.

Psalm 51 is an excellent Old Testament application of 1 John 1:9. If you want to learn how to apply 1 John 1:9 then study Psalm 51.

First, consider the introductory remarks prior to the opening verse:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him,
after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

This is a song—To the choirmaster. It is a song about sin, confession and forgiveness.

Note the situation which produced this song—A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. A painfully sinful situation gave birth to this song. This is some kind of song, isn’t it?

Next, let us read the first two verses:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
Psalm 51:1-2

I am not sure there is a sweeter plea in the Bible than in these two sentences.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love…

David calls on the mercy God, according to God’s steadfast love and not according to David’s deeds or goodness.

…according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.

Again, David refers to who God is—according to your abundant mercy. Note yesterday’s blog that we must know something about God in order to understand forgiveness.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

Finally, David pleads for the result of 1 John 1:9—to be set free from the penalty of his sin and to be set free from the contamination.

For those of you struggling with the forgiveness of your sin, I beg you to confess your sin to God. When you confess it, use the first two verses of Psalm 51 to make your plea.

After voicing his opening plea, David teaches two lessons about sin.

First, David admits is a cognitive decision:

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.
Psalm 51:3-4

Second, David admits that he was born inherently evil:

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.
Psalm 51:5-6

Finally, David admits that his heart needs cleansing:

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.
Psalm 51:7-12

David’s sins had affected his whole person: his eyes (v. 3), mind (v. 6), ears and bones, heart and spirit (v. 10), hands (v. 14), and lips (vv. 13-15). Such is the high cost of committing sin. David knew this, so he asked for more than cleansing, as important as that is; he wanted his entire being to be restored so he could serve the Lord acceptably. He wanted the joy of the Lord within him (v. 12) David asked the Lord to create a new heart within him and to give him a steadfast spirit that would not vacillate.

Verse 10 is the central verse of the psalm and it expresses the heart of David’s concern. David knew that the inner person — the heart — was the source of his trouble as well as the seat of his joy and blessing, and he was incapable of changing his own heart. Only God could work the miracle. Only God could work the miracle of David’s emotions. In other words, David desired to FEEL God’s forgiveness.

It is my prayer that you learn two valuable lessons about God’s forgiveness. First, I pray you learn from 1 John 1:9 the FACT of God’s forgiveness. From Psalm 51, I pray you learn to FEEL God’s forgiveness.

Know this: when we confess our sins God forgives us our sin, that is a FACT, whether we FEEL it or not.


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