Forgiveness Comes Through Repentance

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In Psalm 139, we see David pleading with God to search his life and expose his sin. In this beloved Psalm, David acknowledges the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of the Lord. Although an imperfect man chosen by God to lead the people of Israel, David’s love for the Lord is strong and steadfast. He recognizes his shortcomings, many attested to in Scripture, and realizes his need for God’s grace and forgiveness.

When Jesus came from Heaven to Earth, he commanded people to repent and believe. (The Gospel of Mark, 1:15)

Through Scripture, we learn of God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who asks. This grace is available to us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who having shed his blood, paid the cost of our sins. It is through the Bible that we learn that we have a sin problem, that we all fall short of righteousness and holiness, and fail to be obedient doers of God’s will.

However, individually, we also recognize that we have a problem that separates us from God, causing us to feel empty when we are full and lose hope when find ourselves in the pit looking up to see the bottom. Sin are those activities and actions that offend our Holy God.

Yes, God has rules.

We find them summed up by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 22:37-39), when He declares that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves (including our enemies).

Sin then, is anything that separates us from God, distracting us from His will for our lives and keeping us from faithfully obeying His Word and doing His Will. As believers who worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23), we are to go out and be the salt and the light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16), sharing the message of repentance and need for salvation while pointing a lost and fallen world to Christ.

Genuine love for one another is expressed through truthfulness.

A relationship based on lies and deception isn’t a good relationship. Love isn’t best expressed by agreeing with someone simply for fear of offending them. That’s not love. That’s not respect. Loving someone means supporting them through thick and thin, while having the courage to speak to them in a truthful, loving manner when they go down a path that does harm to them or to others. We should strive to speak truth accompanied with a strong dose of grace. Ultimately, that which seperates you from God is harmful to you.

God loves all of us.

However, becoming a part of the family of God comes with the conditions of repentance and belief in Christ.  In Luke 15, we see that the father of the prodigal son did not love his son any less because he went down a wayward road. But in order to come home and rejoin his family the prodigal son had to turn away and leave his old lifestyle behind. The same is true of our relationship with God. God does not ignore our sin by captiulating to our demands. Instead, He offers us a solution, if we are willing to recieve it.

In Psalm 139, we see David recognize his fallen nature and his need for God’s forgiveness. He recognizes the supremacy of God in the Universe and more importantly, in his own life.Redemption is available for all who ask. Apart from repentance and faith in Christ, there is no inclusion.

Was David perfect? No, absolutely not. Are we perfect? No, none of us are without sin.

The good news is that we don’t have to live a life empty and devoid of God.

Through Christ, God has woven a path for us leading to redemption and reconciliation (John 14:6). In order for us to see our need for repentance, we first have to recognize our sins. Sin isn’t defined by us, but by God. It is why the Lord gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites in the first place; so that they would recognize their need for forgiveness. It is why Jesus taught them to the World. Otherwise, there would be no need for him to go to the Cross.

It would be hard for us to know if we were speeding if the governing authorites didn’t post speed limit signs. In the same way, God doesn’t want to suprise us and play “Gotcha!”. No, He lays it all out for us. There are no speed traps with God. We can choose to ignore the warnings and fail to heed the signs, but not without avoiding the consequences. If you get a ticket, the judge doesn’t pay the fine for you. He certainly doesn’t find a subsitute responsible for paying your ticket. He doesn’t decide to change the law simply because a bunch of us are speeding.

In God’s plan of salvation, the fine has been taken care of. Individually, all we have to do is recognize our need for a Savior. By turning away from our old ways and placing our trust in Christ, we can each find redemption. It starts with us recognizing our sinfulness, as David did, and turning to God, as David expresses so eloquently in his psalm.


Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
Psalm 139 TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID.

1  O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2  You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3  You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4  Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5  You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7  Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9  If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10  even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12  even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13  For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15  My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16  Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19  Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20  They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
21  Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22  I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 139:title–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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