2019 02 03 pm The Life of Daily Repentance Romans 6: 1-19

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

If you read the account of the crucifixion of Jesus, He speaks seven times while on the cross.  The first thing He said was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  The last thing He said was, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.”  And the sixth thing He said was, “It is finished.”  Way back in the Garden of Eden, you see, God had promised that one of Eve’s descendants would crush the evil one.  And this cry of Jesus was Him proclaiming victory over Satan and sin and death and hell: He had now completed the work of redemption that He had been sent to earth to do.  So now, the salvation of all God’s chosen ones was secure.  Jesus had now paid the price for all their sins.  That is why it says in Ephesians 1:7, “In [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our [sins].


So I hope that if were to ask you if all your sins are forgiven, you would say…  Yes!  If you believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, then all your sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven.  And they are forgiven entirely because of the person and work of the Lord Jesus.  And you can know this because Jesus said, “It is finished.”


Soooo, if it is finished, why in the prayer that the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, are we taught to ask God to forgive our sins?  The Bible is very clear that we will commit sin until we are with the Lord in glory.  1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  So we will sin.  But is this a problem?   If it is finished, do we need to concerned about the sin we commit each day?  Why should we, as the very next verse in 1 John 1 goes onto say, “Confess our sins”?


Well, we seek an answer to that question today from the words of Psalm 51:17 and their context, where we see that A Forgiven Sinner Paints a Picture of Repentance as a Way of Life.


  1. So let’s begin with the background of Psalm 51.


  1. Around about 1000 BC, King David ruled in Israel. And in 2 Samuel 11, we read about the time when he committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba.  Afterwards, he then arranged for the murder of her husband, Uriah.  And as you read through the whole messy episode, you end up with a whole pile of sins committed by David.  Well, several months later, a prophet of the Lord, named Nathan, came to David and confronted him with his sin.  And David’s immediate response was to admit his guilt and confess his sin.  He said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  And whether it was immediately or soon thereafter, he wrote this Psalm as his confession of sin.  And you can see this in the title of the Psalm.
  1. So let’s look now at the content of the Psalm. And it has two major sections.  First of all, in vv1-12, David confesses his sin and asks the Lord to forgive him.  He wants renewal and restoration.


  1. Notice though that David does not just say, Lord, I am sorry for what I did with Bethsheba and what I did to her husband, Uriah. His view of his sin problem is much wider than those particular sins.
    1. And we see this in that David includes all the Hebrews words for sin in this Psalm, which comes through in English with the references to sin, iniquity, transgression, and evil, with the words often being in the plural form – iniquities, transgressions.
      1. In our last two Sunday morning sermons, we have referred to the doctrines of grace. The first of these is the doctrine of Total Depravity.  We have described this as being spiritually dead.  And if you look at v5, that is what David is acknowledging here.  He says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  And what David is alluding to there is the fact that we inherit a sinful nature from our parents.  In the same way that they pass on genetic information that shapes the way we look and talk and behave, they also pass on a sinful nature.  Already in the womb we are sinful human beings.
      2. And in case you are thinking, Come on! How can a baby sin in the womb?  Our original problem is not the sins we commit but the fact that we have a sinful nature or that we are  And this is a very important point.  What you need to understand is that you are not sinful because you commit sins; you commit sins because you are sinful.  Do you see the difference?  It is who you are that leads to what you do.
      3. And that is the massive problem of sin that David is exposing here – we do not just do sins; we are


  1. So what David was asking God to do here was not just to forgive the sins of adultery and murder but that God would completely ‘un-sin’ him, if you like. He understood that sin was a part of every fibre of his being such that he could solve his problem; God had to do it.  God had to deal with his sinful nature and the sins he committed.  So he piled up requests for God to “have mercy” and to “blot out” and “wash” and “cleanse” and to “purge” and to “create a clean heart.”
    1. And as an OT believer, in asking this of God, David was looking forward to the one that all of the sacrifices and ceremonies pointed forward to – Messiah – Jesus. David was saying, Lord, you must deal with my sin and guilt by your Messiah and I know that you will.  I trust in you for the forgiveness of my sins.


  1. And so, this is why we are to ask, daily, that the Lord would forgive our sins.
    1. For as we do this we are reminding ourselves that only God, through Christ, can ‘un-sin’ us by dealing with our sinful nature and the sins we commit daily. But we are also, as the Westminster Confession puts it, to “confess particular sins, particularly.”  We are to list our individual sins.
      1. For as we do this we are reminded ourselves how exceedingly sinful we are and how amazing God’s grace in Christ is. The Psalmist does this in Psalm 130:3 when he says, “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?”  You need to know that Jesus endured a physical and spiritual agony for every individual sin you commit.
      2. But we also list our sins in confession to remind ourselves that we have fallen short again of the perfect obedience that we owe God for our salvation.
      3. And we do this that our love for our Triune God and our eagerness to hate sin and love all that is right might expand and grow.


  • And this brings us to the second half of the Psalm, which begins in v13, where we see David’s response to forgiveness.  David says that when he is restored to the joy of God’s salvation, then he will teach transgressors the ways of the Lord.  And he will do this, as we see in vvv14-15, by singing aloud of God’s righteousness and declaring the praise of God with his mouth.  David wants everyone to know that God forgives sins!  But this is not just some gospel tract that David is going to recite or sing or handout.  No, this will be how David lives each day.  He says in v16, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.”  And David is not rejecting the whole system of sacrifice here.  The simple fact is, you see, that according to OT law, there was no sacrifice or offering that could deal with David’s guilt.  The law required adulterers and murderers to be stoned to death!  What David owed God; how David could demonstrate his thankfulness to God for forgiveness, is what he describes in v17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”  This is the life that David is going to live each day that will teach transgressors the ways of the Lord.  It is what we are calling the life of daily repentance.  So, what is a “broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart”?  What is the life of daily repentance?  Well, this is what we want to think about with the remainder of our time.


  1. And we begin, as we always should, with the Lord Jesus. A good Bible study tip for when you read the Psalms is to remember that these were the Psalms of Jesus.  He read them for instruction and encouragement.  They spoke to Him and they spoke about Him.  So what word in v17 reminds us about the Lord Jesus?  And given that we heard the Lord’s Supper words this morning, I trust you are thinking about the word “broken.”  During the Supper, we are told to eat the bread and remember and believe that the body of Jesus was broken for the complete forgiveness of all our sins.  THE sacrifice that pleased God; THE sacrifice that God did not despise was the broken spirit; the broken and contrite heart of His Son, Jesus.
    1. Isaiah 53:5 speaks of Jesus when it says, “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities.” And that word “bruised” translates the same Hebrew word translated as “contrite” here in our text.  A contrite heart is a bruised heart.
    2. Brothers and Sisters, Psalm 51 is the prayer that the Lord Jesus prayed for you as He hung on the cross. Having taken all your sins upon Himself, He cried out to God for washing and cleansing and restoration.  He prayed that God might not cast you away from His presence and that instead you might be restored to the joy of His salvation.  And He prayed with confidence because He knew that was able to offer God the broken spirit and contrite heart that God would not despise.  Isn’t that a beautiful thought?
    3. That is why, as we read earlier in Romans 7, having lamented his sin and crying out, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” the Apostle Paul did not say, I will by just trying harder not to sin.   He said, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! … “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    4. The words of our text, first and foremost, are pointing us to Jesus as our Saviour!


  1. But we cannot end there. We cannot pretend that this text does not require anything of you and me.  Do you think that after writing these words King David went back up to his rooftop to look for women who were bathing?  No he did not.  And that is because true repentance requires change.  To have a broken spirit and a contrite heart includes a resolve to flee from sin and to pursue purity and truth and goodness.
    1. And you know this from your own experience. I want you to imagine that you have two sons who ask if they can deliver newspapers to earn some money.  And you explain that if they do this they will have to do it every day, even if it’s raining and even if they can’t play with their friends.  You tell them that this will be their responsibility, not yours.  But they agree and get a paper run.  And it goes fine for a while.  But then one day, after missing out on after school cricket with their friends again and again, they miss it so much that they stay behind after school and play with them, ignoring their responsibility.  Well, this was in the days before cell-phones so you can’t text them or call them and order them home.  So you pack the newspapers in your car and you go and deliver them and you get back home and you wait for them to walk through the door.  Son Number 1 comes home and when you bring up the fact that you had to deliver the papers, he says he is sorry.  But the next day, he stays and plays cricket and doesn’t deliver the newspaper again.  Does he have a broken spirit and a contrite heart?    But Son number 2 comes home and he makes a bee-line for you with tears streaming down his face, and between sobs he apologizes, saying, “I messed up, Dad.  I am so sorry.  I know I promised not to let this happen and I broke my promise.  Dad, please forgive me.”  And he goes and washes your car and tomorrow he comes straight home and delivers the newspapers.  Does he have a broken spirit and contrite heart?  He sure does.  And you can see it because there is change.
    2. So brothers and sisters, young people, and boys and girls, if you have confessed your sins and trusted in the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, then your sins are forgiven. As I just quoted, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  But what did we also read in Romans 6&7?  “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness … For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”


  1. And this is the life of daily repentance. Each day we resolve not sin and instead to obey all the commands of God.  And when we fall into sin; when we slip into sin, we turn to the Lord and confess our sins again, because “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


What a gracious God we serve!  For not only has He forgiven us in Christ, He has also given us His Spirit that we might live the life of daily repentance.  And the Spirit of Christ works in us the same power that raised Jesus from death.  So your addiction can be broken.  Your habit can stop.  Your personality can change.  Your ways of responding need not be what they have always been.  But this will only happen if you understand the sinfulness of sin and the loveliness of Christ.  May God give each of us a broken spirit and a contrite heart.  And all God’s people said, Amen.