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Psalm 51:1-10 1
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.


This psalm is entitled “For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.” David prays for mercy, humbly confessing and lamenting his sins. (1-6) He pleads for pardon, that he may promote the glory of God and the conversion of sinners. (7-15) God is pleased with a contrite heart, A prayer for the prosperity of Jerusalem. (16-19)

Biblical Truths 2

David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. He knows that should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? David drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God’s infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by willful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. God desires truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavor to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.

Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2. He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it.

Items for Discussion

  • David sees that repentance is not only being sorry but asking God for help in a transformation. What are the characteristics of human beings that interfere with gaining an understanding as David has gained?
  • Why must mankind understand that everyone is corrupt by their nature?
  • Why would mankind then need God to overcome corruption?
  • As societies today seek to eliminate God from government, what risks do you see based on this Psalm?
  • What evidence would you expect to see in a leader who has become, like David, transformed by God? Read Colossians 3:9-17 and compare your list.


Colossians 3:9-17
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Background 3

Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison (Colossians 4:3). He was probably in Rome (Acts 28:16, 30-31). If he was, he wrote it about 60 years after Jesus’ birth. Paul wrote to the Christians who lived in Colossae. It was 160 kilometres (100 miles) east of Ephesus, in the valley of the river Lycus. Today this area is part of Turkey. The main roads for trade went past Colossae. It was a large and wealthy city for many centuries. But Laodicea (16 kilometres or 10 miles away) and Hierapolis (21 kilometres or 16 miles away) grew to be larger and more important cities. When Paul wrote this letter, Colossae had become a small town and no longer very important. Epaphras was a man who lived in Colossae (1:7; 4:12-13). There he preached the good news about Jesus. The people who became Christians formed the church at Colossae. Most of them were Gentiles.

Epaphras visited Paul in prison and told him about the young church that was at Colossae. The Christians who lived there had begun to listen to false teachers. Paul was worried that the Christians would turn away from the true gospel. Even today many false teachers do not seem to deny the gospel message. Instead, they slightly change it. Often they teach extra things or add rules to the gospel. Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae to remind them about Jesus Christ and about his true message. Paul emphasised that Christ is superior. Paul wrote more about Christ in this letter than in any other of his letters. He reminded the Christians that their past life had gone. Christ was now their life. Christ had made them free from rules and evil powers. Paul then went on to teach the Christians how to live this new life.

Bible Truth 4

The tone of Paul’s moral advice changes from negative to positive encouragement as he shifts his attention from pagan vice to Christian virtue. This shift of emphasis reflects the natural movement of conversion out of darkness into light. Paul addresses the community as a “new self” because with Christ they have put to death the “old self” and have risen to newness of life. In this passage Paul defines Christian character rather than prescribes rules to obey. For him, morality is a matter of what sort of person one becomes in Christ, where one “puts on” the capacity for doing the good that God has willed. Therefore, believers are transformed by the working of divine grace into people who have the character to do God’s will. This new character results in and is clearly demonstrated by transformed relationships within the church (3:12-17) and the home (3:18–4:1). Being Holy (3:12-13).

Items for Discussion

  • How do you know that your life is pleasing to God?
  • When you hear about what God wants from your life, how do you know that this is true?
  • What transformations would you expect to make as you transition from an “old self” to a “new self.”
  • What factors do you believe inhibit people from transforming their lives?
  • Is unity with others part of a transformation?
  • How does Paul describe the process of transformation into unity?

Discussion Challenge

  • How would you measure yourself, your family, your church and your community against Paul’s description of a “new self”? How can you help the transformation?