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Summary: This is an exploration of sin and guilt and the freedom we can have in Christ.

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I did some searching on the internet, and it appears that nobody wants to feel guilty. Not so much evidence of people not wanting to do bad things, but nobody wants to feel guilty. The term “guilt-free” is now a major marketing tool: I came across all sorts of “guilt-free” opportunities: guilt-free mothering, guilt-free home schooling, guilt-free touring, guilt-free iPad apps for children, guilt-free clothes, guilt-free engagement rings (that one’s a head scratcher!), and of course guilt-free chocolate and muffins and baking and restaurants and even guilt-free quinoa cookies.

The very prevalence of “guilt-free” marketing is a clue to guilt being a universal feeling. And maybe it isn’t even limited to people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ISzf2pryI

Guilt is a very real feeling for everyone except for psychopaths. And though most of what I read on the internet was about how terrible guilt is and how we shouldn’t feel it, I – and the Word of God – would disagree (assuming we are talking about healthy guilt over things we have done which are wrong and not false guilt or manipulative guilt or the various other perversions of this emotion). We are in the middle of the season of Lent, which is our season of preparation for remembering the cross and celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a significant part of getting ready for Easter is examining ourselves so that we can deal with anything in our lives that causes guilt.

Ps 51

We have been using Psalm 51 as a guide for our Lenten preparation, let’s read it together.

Psalm 51

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict

and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;

you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins

and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

you who are God my Savior,

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,

to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,

in burnt offerings offered whole;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Vs 3-6 (or should it be 5?):

Last week we studied the first part, the space between the story of David’s sin and the beginning of this Psalm where David experiences conviction of sin, and vs. 1-2, and I encouraged you to take some time this past week to really reflect and ask the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of any sin that is in your life. Today let’s continue with the next section:

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict

and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;

you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

This is the NIV translation, and I actually want to start with the last verse there and deal with that before jumping in to the rest, because I’ve been reading this and memorizing it and vs 6 makes no sense to me. How can an unborn baby be faithful, and learn wisdom? I mean, I can appreciate poetry and I can tell from vs 5 that David is talking about sin being part of life from the very beginning of our lives (we are born with a sinful nature), but vs 6 makes no sense.

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