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Psalm 51:4 Confession

July 26, 2021 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: The Psalms


Augustine of Hippo wrote: “The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.” Yet, one of the hardest things for us to do is to admit when we are wrong.


When I tell one of my children to stop harassing the other, their first response is usually “but she did _____ first.” We always have an excuse for whatever evil we do: “It wasn’t really that bad;” “it was just a little white lie;” “you should have heard what he did to me--that's what made me do that to him;” or “sometimes the ends justify the means." It is far too easy for us to see the speck of sin in our brother’s eye while ignoring the plank of sin in our own eye.


God, in His mercy, brings us to a point where we can acknowledge our own sin in confession. Douglas Steere describes confession as a time:


“where a soul comes under the gaze of God and where in His silent and loving Presence this soul is pierced to the quick and becomes conscious of the things that must be forgiven and put right before it can continue to love One whose care has been so constant.”


I love this definition! It is what David illustrates so beautifully in today’s verses.


Please read Psalm 51:4.


At first glance, David’s statement here seems foolish: how could he say “Against you, you only, have I sinned”? He sinned against Bathsheeba when he made her commit adultery with him. He sinned against Uriah by having him murdered. He sinned against Joab by commanding him to have Uriah murdered. And he sinned against Israel, for he was their king, charged to lead them in righteousness, but he gave himself over to immorality. How could David claim that his sin was against God alone?


The simple truth is: all sin is sin against God. The Lord is the Holy Ruler of the Universe; any time we sin, we are rebelling against our King. This make us feel uncomfortable, so we try to cover it up. We like to think of ourselves as generally good people, so we don’t dwell on our sin. If we were left to our own devices, we probably would ignore our sin forever.


But God loves us so much that He won’t leave us in our ignorance. Richard Foster says, “At the heart of God is the desire to give and to forgive.” But He cannot give to those who are unwilling to receive; He cannot forgive those who think they have done nothing wrong. So God must first work in our hearts to bring us to a knowledge of sin and a willingness to repent. Only then will we be willing to admit that we have done “what is evil in Your sight.”


We might not think that it’s that big of a deal when we tell a small lie, but its evil in God’s sight. We might think that we aren’t hurting anyone when we look at pornography, but its evil in God’s sight. We might think that everyone else cheats on their taxes so its no big deal if we do too, but its evil in God’s sight. We might think that our thoughts are private, but our hatred, lust, jealousy, and pride are evil in God’s sight.


When we come to realize just how vile our sin is, we agree with God that we were evil and deserving of judgment. That is when we confess our sins before Him, and receive the forgiveness that only comes through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. If God didn’t lead me to confession, then I would never have come to Him for forgiveness. Praise God for His gift of confession!