Psalm 51: Cleansing and Pardon

To what extent does God “forget” our wrongdoings? If God forgets, why should we remember?

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Psalm 51:1 To the minister of music, a song of David after the prophet Nathan condemned his sin with Bathsheba.
God, have mercy according to your boundless love. Because of your great compassion, remove all record of my wrongdoings, as if they never happened.
King James
Psalm 51:1 <To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Which is of greater consequence, our actions or our motives? Why?

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Psalm 51:2 Wash me from head to toe, cleansing both my actions and my motives.
King James
Psalm 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

When they know better, why do people still do wrongs?

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Psalm 51:3 I plead guilty, Your Honor. I know what I did was wrong.
King James
Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

What can we do to avoid sins of ignorance?

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Psalm 51:4 I offend you when I sin, doing evil in your sight. You are always right when you speak, blameless when you condemn my behavior.
King James
Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Why isn’t a sinful nature a good excuse for wrongdoing?

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Psalm 51:5–6 I’ve had this sinful nature since birth, even from the time I was conceived.
You want my faithfulness to come from my innermost being, so you put wisdom in the depths of my heart.
King James
Psalm 51:5–6 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

If the Creator of the universe will make us spotless white, why does the wash cycle have to take so long?

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Psalm 51:7 Use a strong detergent and I will be clean. From your washing machine, I will be made spotless white.
King James
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

How can we best express our excitement for God’s forgiveness?

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Psalm 51:8 Let my forgiveness bring laughter and rejoicing. Give my broken bones ability to dance.
King James
Psalm 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

If we have been forgiven, what kinds of consequences, if any, might we still face?

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Psalm 51:9 Don’t look harshly at my wrongs, and don’t punish me as I deserve.
King James
Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

What might we do to expedite the change for a new heart?

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Psalm 51:10 Give me a new heart, God, with clean desires that are most pleasing to you.
James 4:8 Move closer to God, and he will move closer to you. Wash your hands of wrongdoing and purify your hearts with good motives. Don’t live a double life, but have a single focus upon what the Lord wants.
King James
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

After being accepted, how could we be rejected by God?

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Psalm 51:11 Don’t throw me out the door or walk away from me, leaving me without your presence.
Matthew 12:32 You may speak against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Not now. Not ever.
Romans 8:38–39 I am convinced that no force—not the promise of a better life—not the threat of death—not the command of angels, governments, or kings—nothing present or anything to come—no power from above or below can sever our relationship with God, which is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hebrews 6:4–6 Those who have seen the light, accepted the gift of salvation, and received the Holy Spirit, having tasted the goodness of God’s word, experiencing the spiritual strength of the world to come, if they turn away, they have no means to gain repentance and forgiveness, since they crucify the Son of God a second time, putting him to open shame.
King James
Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Romans 8:38–39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hebrews 6:4–6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

If God gave us free will, to what extent can he restrict our ability to make a choice?

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Psalm 51:12–13 Let me enjoy your deliverance like before. Make my spirit eager to obey. Then I will teach rebels to change their ways. Sinners will turn back to you.
King James
Psalm 51:12–13 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

How can forgiveness of a heinous crime be “righteous judgment”?

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Psalm 51:14 Commute my sentence, God, for committing murder, for you are God my Savior. Then I will shout and sing of your righteous judgment.
King James
Psalm 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

What are our greatest reasons for praising the Lord?

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Psalm 51:15 Lord, give me reason to speak, and I will open my mouth in praise.
King James
Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Why does God value a humble and repentant heart?

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Psalm 51:16–17 You have no interest in animal sacrifices, or I would offer them. Burnt offerings are not a great delight for you. A submitted human spirit is the sacrifice you want. You will never reject a humble and repentant heart.
King James
Psalm 51:16–17 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

What brings God great pleasure?

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Psalm 51:18–19 May you find pleasure doing good in Jerusalem. Rebuild the city walls. Then you will be pleased with our righteous worship with the sacrifices and burnt offerings upon your altar.
Philippians 2:13 The power of God is at work in you to accomplish his purpose and make you his great delight.
Revelation 4:11 O Lord, creator of all things, you are worthy of all honor, power, and glory, because everything that exists was created for your good purpose.
King James
Psalm 51:18–19 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.