A Contrite Heart

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1)

We each of us are an arrogant people. We are so proud of what we think we are and do our best to let others know of our accomplishments. We have become gods in our own right and are so quick to judge others in the measure of our own standard. When I think that there are over seven billion people in this world I ask, how many standards are we to live up to? Then I remember, “In the beginning God.” (Genesis 1:1) I remember, “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) We then as humankind can only compare to the standard from the beginning, God and His Word the Lord Jesus Christ. When we see God who is Holy, who lives in Righteousness, who is a God of love and justice, then we can know how far short our worldly standard has become in comparison to God. Then as we look out over the world we can clearly see the truth of Paul’s word to the Roman Church. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Since man fell in the Garden of Eden man has been running away from God because of his shame. None want to admit this but I believe it to be true. Man cannot admit that he is something less than he imagines himself to be. When we look at the measure of those who have gone before us, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When we look at those great men of the early Church of Jesus, Peter, James, John, and Paul we wonder how could we live up to their measure? How then can we live up to the standard of our Lord and Savior Jesus? I find the answer to be, “One Way.” It may be surprising to some but Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, James, John and Paul, like us were all sinners and fell short of the glory of God.

King David, a man after the heart of God, was a sinner. I know of no one who is not a sinner. I know of many who will not admit that they are. But every man that has ever lived is a sinner, save one Jesus Christ. David was a king, a man that most men fall short of becoming. He was a man because he knew that he was not a god and therefore could not reach the standard of the One and true God who is holy. David knew that he was a sinner. But unlike the cowards of this world David did not run away from God but ran towards God in search of His mercy.

David knew the first step to meeting the measure that God desires us all to live by. The standard of His righteousness. David knew that the first step is to have a contrite heart. David knew that his sins were not against man but were against God and His Word. “Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight.” (Psalm 51:4) David was grieved that he had dishonored God and His Word.

This placed David in a miserable condition, which all are when they are not a peace with God. David knew that His God loved him and that God’s mercy endured forever. “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 136:1 KJV) David knew the hope that God’s mercy offers mankind and with humbled spirit and bended knee in an exercise of faith in God’s Word asked for His mercy. “Be gracious to me, O God.”

David asked for God’s mercy “according to Your lovingkindness.” He did not ask God for mercy according to anything that he had done for the works of man cannot merit anything from God. He did not ask according to the general mercies of God which carnal men rely upon. David asked for God’s mercy that comes according to the everlasting and unchangeable love found in Jesus. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Jesus is the conduit of God’s special mercy to the children of men. The mercy of God are according to the will of God and not by the merits or misery of men. The mercy of God comes to us by His grace and it is His love that sets mercy in motion. This is the light of the gospel of Jesus that the Apostle Paul saw. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” (Ephesians 2:4) It is not that we as sinners deserve anything from God. It is that God loved us while we were yet sinners. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

For David and us sin is complicated. Our sin began at birth as we were fractured from the reason that we were created. Man was created to fellowship with his Creator God, man was created to bring glory and honor to God, and man was created to be servants to his master God. But we have been born fractured and all of our reason and purpose has been broken because of the sinful nature we have been born into. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) The purpose of God is to reconcile man unto Himself through Jesus. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

In our contrite condition we plead that God in His compassion towards us remove the sins we have committed and remember them no more. “According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.” God keeps the books of heaven and there is a book of sin debts that we each have. We need to have that sin debt paid in full that we not suffer the wage of sin which is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus on the cross ransomed us from the chains of sin that we would no longer face the penalty that we so richly deserve. By His forgiveness the debt of our sins have been paid once and for all and we are no longer under the bondage of sin. This is the truth of the gospel and that truth will set us free. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

The beginning of our freedom in the Word of God is to approach Him with a contrite heart. We must know of the sin that rules our life. We must know of our need to be freed from the wage that is upon us, which is spiritual death. We must desire once again to be a child of God and have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus. We must confess our need for freedom from the sin in our life and our desire to repent from this wicked life and turn to the righteous life of the Kingdom of God. To do this we need to plead to our God that He would, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Frist Baptist Church of Durant, May 19, 2017

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