Generation Lapse Restored

Psalm 51

This psalm is David’s diary of repentance. After layers of sin with Bathsheba and being held accountable by the prophet Nathan, he wrote this psalm. David was broken before the Lord. Brokenness is a scary place. Some people call it rock bottom. Other’s call it the end of your rope – or of yourself. The idea is that it is a place of complete surrender, where you realize that you have no where else to turn nor do you have any last efforts of escape. All options have been exhausted and your plan is to give up.

It is at this moment that God is able to step in. God does not step in when we are still seeking options outside Himself. God wants us to count entirely on Him, that we recognize our desperate circumstances without His help. Once here, God calls us to examine our life in light of His character and commands. God convicts us by exposing the darkness of our sin with the brightness of His light. The process of conviction is one of evaluation and change. The key is to understand that it is not a work employed by human effort but divine. Spiritual change and growth only happens by the grace and work of God.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart”

How to repent?

–          Own your sin.

It is clear David owned his sin in opening the psalm saying “Have mercy on me”. Throughout the psalm David accepts full responsibility using 30x “I”, “me”, “my”, “mine” in owning his sin. Likewise, Nathan identified this when he said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Sam 12:7) and in David’s response, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam 12:13).

  • Sin of mind, body and heart/life

ð      Are we sinners because we sin or do we sin because were sinners? {Doctrine of Original/Inherited Sin}
Psalm 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Romans 3:10, 23 “There is no one righteous, not even one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:12, 19 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned… As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Ephesians 2:3 “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

Sin is our human identity and nature[1]; it is inescapable. Therefore, we need something outside of ourselves to bring us hope, freedom and redemption.

–          Know where to go.

David understood the source of forgiveness – God himself. People seek forgiveness or hope in many places – people, addictions, religious rituals, etc. However, after experiencing conviction, David immediately sought after the Lord. His sin was against God therefore he needed to go to God for mercy and justification (v.4). 

–          Understand God’s holiness.

As David knew where to go and approach God he had to realize God is holy and stands against evil. God desires truth in the deepest place of your soul. All sin is not only against self and others but ultimately against a holy God, standing in judgment over sin.

–          Receive full restoration.

In approaching God, David sought mercy, cleansing, joy and gladness, a pure heart and restoration. God does all of this by creating (bara – supernatural work out of nothing) a new heart. This is more than temporary restoration but full and is the regenerating work of God’s Spirit in salvation.

–          Restored to reflect grace.

The purpose of forgiveness and restoration by God is so they can become channels of God’s grace. They “teach transgressors” (v.13), “sing of righteousness” (v.14), “declare God’s praise” (v.15).


[1] David sought mercy, blotted out transgression, washed away iniquity and cleansing from sin, transgression and evil. All of these are terms to show the depth of sin.

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