True CONFESSION & REPENTANCE brings FORGIVENESS & RESTORATION: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight" (Psalms 51:1-4)
Psalms 51 was written by King David after Nathan the prophet had boldly exposed him for committing adultery with Bathsheba and for murdering Uriah. David was both remorseful and repentant of his wrongdoings after being utterly convicted of his sins. So, David pours out this torrent of penitence from his broken and contrite heart into this emotional liturgy of confessions, which explains why David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). Even though he was not perfect, he had a deep sensitivity concerning his sins. After confessing his guilt (vv. 3–6), David prays for inner renewal (vv. 7–12) and then promises both thanksgiving and ministry to God (vv. 13–17).
David begins his penitence and confession with a plea for God’s mercy (vv. 1, 2), and then acknowledges that his sins were against God alone (vv. 3, 4). What exactly was the sin to which David was admitting? The Bible tells us plainly that he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and that when she became pregnant, David tried in vain to cover his sin, eventually scheming her husband Uriah’s death (2 Sam. 11). Even though David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah; he was underscoring the fact that his sins were first and foremost against God who had pulled him out from the fields taking care of sheep to be the king of Israel.
The fact that David recognized and acknowledged his sin was the first step in receiving God’s forgiveness and eventual restoration. As far as David was concerned, there was ultimately only one way to deal with sin: face it, confess it, and be forgiven, and his prayer expressed utter brokenness in his life. It is remarkable to observe that there is not one word of self-justification in this entire psalm (see also Luke 18:10-14). David was not evading responsibility for his sexual and moral indiscretions, but he recognized that ultimately sin was an offense against a holy, righteous God! Even when other people are hurt by our sins, it is God whose standards have been violated and we are ultimately accountable to Him alone!
By sinning, David’s whole being was affected, which included his eyes (v. 3), mind (v. 6), ears (v. 8), heart (v. 10), spirit (v. 10), and mouth (vv. 13–15). He lost fellowship with God (v. 11) along with the joy of the Lord (v. 12). However, when David was confronted by Prophet Nathan in this matter, he was truly remorseful and contrite. Let us understand that the first step in repentance is contrition for sin, and the second step is confession of sin. True confession is acknowledging our sins to God and admitting that we need a thorough cleansing from Him. God delights in forgiving repentant sinners, and His promise for us is that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). God is both merciful and gracious, and He will forgive us when we go to Him in repentance and faith.
Thus, true confession to God will bring His cleansing, for only God has the power to forgive our sins (Matt. 9:6; Isaiah 1:18). God will not only cleanse us, but He will forgive our sins as well. Like David, let us give God the gift of our own brokenness, confession and repentance. As an answer, God will refresh us with His forgiveness, acceptance and restoration. True confession and repentance brings forgiveness and restoration!