A Prayer of Contrition (Part Two)- Psalm 51

David continues his prayer, in verse 3, by acknowledging his failings and shortcomings, by taking responsibility for his actions. He here recognizes and admits his rebellion and also admits that his penchant for coming up short leads him around (here as “is always before me”). He then, in verse 4, acknowledges who God is, and who he is in light of that. In this verse he admits to accepting four things: 1) That all sin is ultimately against God 2) That God is holy and just 3) That God is the only one with the right and authority to truly judge what sin is 4) That God’s judgments are accurate. He here admits that God is the true judge of right and wrong, and that he agrees that what God says is wrong is wrong. He here submits himself to God’s definition of right and wrong and admits that what he has done is wrong. This is a critical step in true repentance, to admit wrongdoing and accept responsibility for it. He then goes farther still, recognizing, in verse 5, that he is a sinner not only in deed but in nature. This verse presents a clear teaching of the doctrine of original sin, that human beings are not born pure and innocent, but born sinners. This one episode of sin did not make David a sinner, it merely confirmed that he already was one. This verse presents a clear teaching of the Biblical understanding of human beings, that we are not born as blank slates that are corrupted by flawed political and social systems, but born sinners who corrupt whatever political or social system we are part of. In verse 6, we find David moving his prayer inward, now focusing on the internal aspect of things. He asks God here to implant truth in his “inner parts”, to be able to see things as God does, to see reality according to the truth of God’s word. He also asks for wisdom in the “inmost place”. He not only asks God to reveal to him what is true, but also to guide him in what to do with that revelation. He asks God to make him see things as God does so he will act as God would have him act, he is not seeking only to be forgiven of his sin, but to be transformed in his heart and mind. He realizes that only God can bring the transformation he seeks, and here he asks God to do so. It is only the heart which is truly repentant of sin that will seek this type of transformation, and we learn her that when this is the condition of our hearts we can count on God to forgive us our sin and bring the transformation we seek. We will learn later in the prayer that God does provide the requested transformation in response to David’s prayer, that this type of prayer will always be “answered”. He concludes this segment of his prayer with a request for cleansing, with hyssop and snow combining to picture a request to be cleansed completely from his uncleanness, asking for joy and gladness at the core of his being (what bones refers to) where there was misery, that God would put all David’s shortcomings “behind His back” and straighten out his “crookedness”. He desires both internal and external cleansing, which is another request we can be pretty sure God will grant.

3 Comments Prayer  //  Sin and Temptation

3 Responses so far.

  1. j says:

    very profound, but often denied: man is not born a blank slate corrupted by social and political systems around it, but, reather, eventually corrupts those stystems. Very important point, imo, to understanding WHY we need saving,and a lot of people deny it. That is why there is such relativism, imo.

    • JoeChestnut says:

      Yes, all that tabula rasa(blank slate) stuff is a load of garbage. I usually tell people who believe that to spend a couple of days in a nursery or day care center to see just how pure and innocent little kids are. We don’t have to teach them to take what doesn’t belong to them or that they can’t hit someone whenever they feel like it, we have to teach them not to.

      • j says:

        Well they are endearing and innocent in many ways but they are, as most with experience will admit, totally self focused and the ultimate in seeking to meet their own needs. The problem is many people never change a lot from that, some not at all. An adult who dismisses the needs of others, for whatever reason, is going to corrupt something. Having no absolute sense of right and wrong is relativism. In the kantian sense, if everyone did that all the time, the world would implode. But you can’t tell that to Darwiniists and those who espouse the “adult” version of this, like F. Neitsche (Sp?) and his “will to power.” Those who believe we can be our own gods are fooling themselves. Biggest sin.

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