PSALM 51: THROWING ONESELF ON THE MERCY OF GOD
Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight (Psalm 51: 4a, NKJV)
The superscription for this psalm is: “A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” The background is given in 2 Samuel 11-12.
William Culberson in his outline pointed out true confession includes the following elements:
- Casting oneself on the mercy of God (verses 1-2)
- Recognition that what one has done has been done against God (verses 3-5)
- A plea for purity (verses 6-7)
- A cry for restoration (verse 12)
- A promise to God (verses 15-17)
- A heart broken because of sin
- Forgiven (verses 18-19)
(From Alfred Martin, Moody Correspondence Course; Psalms, Songs of Praises, 1968)
Psalm 51 is a confession and Psalm 32 is a testimony after David received forgiveness.
Tom Constable: There are two types of forgiveness in the New Testament:
Judicial forgiveness removes guilt and a sinner is accepted by God. Familial forgiveness means a sinning saint can be forgiven and have fellowship with God.
I took a path that I should not have trod.
I come as a sinner before a Holy God.
God forgives me as I come to Him.
Restoration is complete in Him.
Judicial and familial forgiveness are gifts from God.
Why could God call David a man after God’s own heart after he committed adultery and murder?
Under what conditions can God forgive a sinner?
What is the difference between judicial and familial forgiveness? Give examples.