“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.” Psalm 51:2-3 (NKJ)
Completing the first part of our Lenten Journey of the Cross, we will now leave our exploration of “Experiencing God” and move to the challenging area of learning to “Humble Ourselves”. Paul tells us that we are to have a “mind like Christ”, our model for humility, who though He was God, humbled himself and became obedient even unto death (Phil. 2:5-8). We will look at three (3) areas on this leg of the journey—confession, forgiveness, and obedience. We begin today with the power of confession.
Confession, these days, is pretty “unusual” behavior. Even the guiltiest of criminals, caught with their proverbial hand in the cookie jar, will stand before the judge and declare themselves, “not guilty.” It has been said that, “confession is good for the soul” but you wouldn’t guess it by the world’s response. Just read the newspaper this week and you’ll find example after example of individuals and institutions, who in the wake of unfailing evidence claim innocence. One of the opportunities of Lenten season is to examine our hearts and let the light of God’s truth shine into areas in need of His cleansing. Therein lie the power of confession.
The 51st Psalm is God’s lesson on confession. It was authored by King David after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. The whole incident was not unlike the stories we read in the gossip tabloid or see in the latest “made for television” sequel. King David, however, gives us a better approach to confession.
First, King David quickly accepted responsibility for his behavior and pleaded guilty to all charges. He immediately called upon God for forgiveness. He offers no excuses but appealed to God to “blot out, wash and cleanse him” from his “transgressions, iniquity, and sin.”
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (vv. 3-4)
Next, King David recounted God’s expectation of him, as a man and as the leader of Israel. Though King David had perpetrated this crime against Uriah, he answered to a Higher Judge, the omniscient God, who see, hears, and knows all things. There are no “hidden sins” in His presence.
“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (vv. 4-6)
Finally, King David was concerned about his broken relationship with God. He had the unique opportunity of walking closely with the Lord most of his life beginning as a young shepherd boy in the hills of Bethlehem. He longed to be restored to that relationship.
“Create in me a pure heart, 0 God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (vv.10-12)
It is important that we learn to quickly confess our sins. Unconfessed sin results in guilt and shame, spiritual strongholds in our lives, and even worst, a broken relationship with God. There is power in confession. That power comes from the One who is “faithful to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
This week you will have an opportunity to practice journaling as part of your Lenten Season, “Journey of THE CROSS”.
Read Psalms 51:1-12. Then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin you may hold in your spirit. Then ask Him to give you the courage to confess that sin, knowing that God is “faithful and just to forgive you.” Remembering David’s approach to confession, now create in your journal a “psalm of repentance”.