As a sequel, this is the third and final in a three part series; Psalm 25: Praying A Psalm. Previously, we looked at Prayer For Guidance and Prayer For Protection. Today’s title is Prayer For Forgiveness of Sin.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD”(v.6) “For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” (v11). “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” (v18).
As you ponder over life, what do you consider your greatest need? If God did ask you to make one request, what would that be? According to the bible our greatest need is not food or clothes, neither is it shelter. Our greatest need is deliverance from our greatest predicament, which is the wrath of God. The bible tells us in Romans 3:23; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“. We have all rebelled against a holy God, we have each gone astray and told God to get out of our lives. We have lied, we have cheated, we have stolen, we have murdered with our hearts. We have committed adultery in our hearts, we have coveted our neighbour’s property. Every sin, you name it we have committed it. And you know what that means? The answer is found further on in the same book of Romans 6:23, reads “For the wages of sin is death….” David understood this well. He knew the predicament of every human soul. In Psalm 130:3, he writes; “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
Our sin is so great that we need a great Saviour. No amount of good deeds can atone for our sins. Unless the LORD shows mercy we are lost and lost forever. Augustus Toplady captured this so well in the hymn, Rock of Ages, in the 2nd and 3rd stanzas he writes:
All the labours of my hands
Could not meet Thy law’s demands
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save, and Thou alone
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Naked come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
To Thy fountain, Lord I fly,
Wash me Saviour or I die.
Christ is the only perfect sacrifice for our sin. He left all His glories and splendour and came into our world to identify with us. He lived the perfect life that we could not live, and died the death we deserved. He was crucified on a heinous cross but on the third day he was raised from the dead, which was a seal of the Father’s approval. The verdict was that anyone who will repent from sin and put their faith in Christ, will be credited with the perfect life of Christ. “…the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” This is the only hope to find forgiveness with a holy God. We see across the entire bible that, our hope of forgiveness is not found in some good deed we have done. David understood this as he repeatedly appeals not to his own goodness or righteousness, but to the goodness and mercy of God.
This should be a great encouragement to all of us. God knows exactly where you are, right now at this moment, he sees all the dirt and mess you’re in right now. Today may be the day of your salvation, do not harden your heart because this offer is not open ended. In the book of Acts 17:31, Peter said “…he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
On that day it will be too late. On that day Jesus will not be a Saviour, he will be a judge. I plead with you not to wait till that day but turn from your sin today and trust in Jesus for the salvation of your soul.
Sin is destructive. It goes against everything God wanted for us, joy, peace, love and fellowship. So when we conceal it, it saps away our joy and peace. In verse 16-18, David recounts his afflictions and troubles and pleads for forgiveness. He prays “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” There is no joy in concealing sin. We must be constantly confessing and forsaking our sins. When we harbor sin, our fellowship with God is broken and the joy of the Lord is taken away. (Psalm 32:3-4).
These are the three requests David makes of God. What weaves them together is the desperation expressed in all of them. In this Psalm we see a great God and a great sinner. Our need is so great that only a great God could meet it. Our enemies are many and relentless; our need for guidance is more acute than ever before in a world of competing voices and our need for forgiveness is so essential that without it we are doom to perish forever. As you examine your prayers over the last few months, what do they say about you? Do they reveal a person who is passionate about pleasing the Lord and advancing his Kingdom purposes or it just about you and your self-serving wants?