God’s Prayer Book – Guilt, part 2
length: 70:26 - taught on Nov, 16 2022
Wednesday November 16,2022
Prayer in the Psalms - guilt.
Before any searching of the truth concerning confession, the complete forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ must be deeply entrenched in the foundation of our souls. Praise God for His indescribable gift.
What would surprise a person unfamiliar with the Bible is that the assurance of forgiveness of sins is found in the Old Testament and New Testament. Perhaps it would surprise a lot of Christians that this assurance was known by those in Israel who believed in God’s redemptive program for the world. However, in neither testament do we find the faithful being casual or assuming about God’s forgiveness. To them, what God would do (OT) and did (NT), was very solemn and soul searching.
The blood of the sacrifice, which secured our forgiveness, is never, ever to be seen in some casual, laissez faire manner.
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
A particular attitude is not necessary for forgiveness. The cost of forgiveness was the life of Christ on the cross, and that has been paid in full. We confidently leave sin behind because of Christ.
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.
Some then jump to the overly simplistic conclusion that we shouldn’t confess any sins at all. They’re all forgiven anyway.
I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.
The Bible is about “real” life. It is not like the overly simplistic pagan religions. It must be pondered, meditated upon, unraveled - selah.
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Repentance psalms: Psa 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143.
Psalms recognizing sin: Psa 4, 14, 15, 25, 31, 39-41.
PSA 6:1-3 For the choir director; with stringed instruments, upon an eight-string lyre. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away;
Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.
3 And my soul is greatly dismayed;
But You, O Lord — how long?
“how long” - Psa 4, 6, 13, 35, 62, 74, 79, 80, 82, 89, 90, 94. Psalms of patient enduring.
In the gospels, Jesus asks amongst the unbelieving, “How long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you?” Being familiar with heaven for all eternity, the Son of God saw years on this earth among us a test in patience.
The repentance psalms lead us to the confession of guilt and direct our complete confidence to the forgiving grace of God.
In Psa 32, 51 David is led into prayer by the deep guilt of his sin.
PSA 32:1-7 A Psalm of David. A Maskil.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
In David’s life under the Law in Israel, to keep silent about his sin would mean that he didn’t bring the burnt offering to the tabernacle, to the ministering priest, and offer it while he confessed his sin. We are to see the underlying principle even though we don’t offer animals to a select priesthood in the age of the church. The fact that David made no offering along with admission of his guilt would mean that he did not offer confession to God in private either. Then again, as we see in Psa 51, if he just proudly and defiantly confessed and brought the sacrifice, that probably would have been worse.
Confession gave David the experience of forgiveness.
As is often the case in the psalms, a subsequent stanza shows the results or natural flow from the previous stanzas where some understanding was had.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
The transgressor in vs. 1 is thee upright in heart in vs. 11. He is listening to instruction in vs. 8. He understands that he should go forward, not by bit and bridle, but by trusting in the Lord. Confession has cleansed his soul of guilt and pushed him on in increased vigor to be a willing student and son of the Lord.
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” When we confess to the one God who has told us that the penalty of sin is death, and do so without fear; we are claiming the finished work of Christ and we are experiencing forgiveness.
We are willing to confess or acknowledge every sin we see in ourselves. Why? We desire to walk with and pursue God and want no thought to stand in the way. Yes we know that we are forgiven, but we bring every sin we can out into the light so that it is properly dealt with in the glaring sun of the righteousness of God. We seek to no longer make the same mistakes, although we know there is no guarantee of that. We seek to overcome the deep weaknesses we have that lead us to particular kinds of sins of which we are frequent repeat offenders. We seek to experience God’s forgiveness so that the guilt of our past does not weigh down on us making our lives miserable and ineffective. When we confess our sins openly to the Father and afterwards know that we are still His children, still righteous and justified before Him (we didn’t open our eyes and find ourselves surrounded by fire and brimstone) then we have experienced in real time God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and that experience is going to motivate you to sin less, not more.
Confession to the Father is needful and cleansing because we experience His forgiveness.
Our desire to confess sin is our desire to overcome it so that we may live unto God fully.
Forgiveness by God is enough for our justification, but the Bible talks about living as a justified one, just as it does about being sanctified judicially and living sanctified. We may know, in a doctrinal manner the knowledge that we are forgiven, but certain sinful areas may continue to reign over us, putting us at their mercy. We may understand doctrinally that we are forgiven, and we may see real power in ourselves over our weaknesses, but we may live on in the guilt of our past failures. The guilt of our past is just like the guilt of inadequacy. God wants us humble, but not filled with inadequacy about our ability to live holy, just, righteous, and joyful lives. We are inadequate to understand certain infinite truths, like how God could love us so much that He would give us His Son. But we are not to be feeling a kind of inadequacy that we cannot accept that love.
Imagine you had a physical deformity that made others want to move to the other side of the street, or take a different aisle in the grocery store.
What if the deformity was internal, meaning that if it was cured or healed, the transformation wouldn’t be seen overtly. Those who had known you to have this inner problem (perhaps a sinful weakness like addiction) - that caused them to discount you, pigeon-hole you as inadequate, and distance themselves from you - would not know that the thing was healed.
Where does our dignity come from?
And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." 46 But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."
What we may not understand about this woman is that she was seen by all in Israel as an unclean outcast. Her hemorrhage made her unclean by rule of the Mosaic Law. It was likely that she was seen as an outcast by the community, neighbors, friends, and possibly even her family. For twelve years she had felt unclean and unworthy of God’s community. Hiding herself in the crowd, covering her head and face with her shawl, she sneaks up behind Jesus and reaches a timid arm through the forest of bodies in the hope of touching Him. What she has, is not the sympathy of the crowd, but the faith in the healing power of Jesus Christ that if she just touched Him she would be healed.
She is healed immediately, but even so, she would still be an outcast, at least until everyone was convinced that she was no longer hemorrhaging. This brings us to an aspect of sin and shame that we likely will miss in a study of confession and forgiveness. We miss it because when we think of this subject our eyes go immediately inward. It is my sin and my shame that concerns me, and that is true and unavoidable, but there is more that we must not miss.
Just as God encourages us through forgiveness and added encouragement to move forward, so we must do for one another.
We find it very difficult to do this when the strings of our pet peeve area of self-righteousness is plucked by another. We might be willing to encourage some, but those who track mud on our pet areas of self-righteousness are found unworthy by us. You will want to pray about these areas, asking God to reveal them to you. I am sure that to each of us, God is going to bring someone who pushes us in those areas.
It even turns out that encouraging others is a key to inner happiness as well as to the happiness of a group (marriage, family, workforce, and church).
Notice what Jesus does …
When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.
The outcast for twelve years could only imagine that the Lord would berate her for touching Him. He is the Lord, and she is unclean after all. She defiled Him. She comes trembling, afraid to her core of what will happen in the next few seconds, and falls down before Him, and tells Him and everyone why she had touched Him. She had been hemorrhaging for twelve long years and been an outcast from all Israel and she thought that if she could just touch Him, she would be healed.
Now, before Jesus says anything, what did He do? He listened. He didn’t yell, “Silence!” at her. He didn’t ignore her and move on with what He was doing. Yes, He was interrupted, but He stopped and listened. And then He replies:
And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
This is the only time in the gospels that Jesus calls a woman “daughter.” Jesus not only healed her physical deformity, but He restored her inner dignity and self-respect (based on Him alone).
The Lord has forgiven us all of our sins. He encourages us to know and experience forgiveness in time so that our hearts will always be restored.