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  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 51 - The Invitation Still Stands

God invites you to His table despite your sins to remind you of His cleansing grace.

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Read Psalm 51

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 81

Q. Who are to come

to the Lord’s table?

A. Those who are displeased with themselves

because of their sins,

but who nevertheless trust

that their sins are pardoned

and that their continuing

weakness is covered

by the suffering and death of Christ,

and who also desire more and more

to strengthen their faith

and to lead a better life.

Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however,

eat and drink judgment on themselves.



David's sin with Bathsheba, and the murder that it led to, is perhaps one of the ugliest sins recorded in scripture. But this ugly, terrible sin gave way to the most beautiful example in the Bible of what it means to confess and repent from sin as David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the 51st Psalm.

This psalm is a model of the attitude that you must have as you prepare for participation in the Lord's Supper.

First of all, you must be displeased with the sin in your own life. Like David, recognize that not only have you hurt other people with your sins, but that you've especially offended God; it's against Him, and Him only that you've sinned. Realize how filthy your sins have made you, and that God is justified in His anger against you (v4).

But also trust that God will forgive your sins. Confidently ask for God's mercy, which is based on God's covenant (unfailing) love for you. He can and will blot out your transgression and cleanse you from your sin. You have the added benefit of knowing how God can forgive, because you know that your weakness is covered by Christ's suffering and death.

Finally, like David you must desire more and more to strengthen your faith and lead a better life. Pray that God creates a new heart in you, that He restores you to a spirit of joy and re-aligns your life with His will so that your tongue will sing of God's righteousness.

Dig Deeper

All of us were born into sin - not just born into it, but conceived in it! The corresponding guilt crushes our bones. Notice in v8 that it's God who is causing and using that bone crushing guilt in order to break our spirit (v17).

So don't let guilt keep you from grace. So many people stay away from church and away from the Lord's Table because they think they're not good enough. That much is true: none of us have the righteousness required to come into communion with a God who is perfectly holy and who will not tolerate sin! But if God could forgive and restore David, who's terrible sin quite likely had far worse consequences than any wrong you've ever committed, God, through Christ, can and will certainly deliver you from the guilt He's put upon you to bring you to contrition.

So make David's prayer of repentance in Psalm 51 your own and accept His gracious invitation to remember and celebrate that your sins have been pardoned by the suffering and death of Christ.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God our Father is completely holy, completely just, and completely merciful;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will use His ordinary means of grace to renew a steadfast spirit within you;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 21


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