top of page
  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 51:3-6 - Guilty As Charged

The guilt you feel is actually a good thing, but don't feel it for too long!

Read / Listen

Read Psalm 51

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 126

Q. What does the fifth request mean?

A. “Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors” means,

Because of Christ’s blood,

do not hold against us,

poor sinners that we are,

any of the sins we do

or the evil that constantly clings to us.

Forgive us just as we are fully determined,

as evidence of your grace in us,

to forgive our neighbors



Is guilt a good or bad thing? Nobody really likes experiencing the pain of guilt. You've likely envied people just a bit who seem able to float through life guilt free, even after doing really awful things. But David here in Psalm 51 reminds you once again that guilt, as painful as it can be, is actually a good thing, in that it brings us to confess our sin before our gracious Father.

David expresses the inescapable nature of guilt that covenant people experience when he writes that his sin is "always before him." Know that you'll never be able to outrun or hide from your guilt; the only solution is to confess it here as David does and then experience the unfailing, forgiving love and compassion we read about yesterday.

While there certainly are lots of people that get hurt when we sin, the primary offense is against God Himself. Yet David isn't bitter about God, even after receiving God's righteous verdict and justified judgment. David knows God isn't being arbitrary or capricious, because David's conscience had already made him quite aware of his guilt.

Sin and guilt is so intertwined with you that it's wrapped up in your DNA. Not only were you born into sin, you were conceived in it! This is why the New Testament emphasizes your need to not just change your behavior, but to change you very nature; you need to go from being in Adam and his sin to being grafted into Christ and His righteousness.

Dig Deeper

Maybe you've heard the analogy that if you had a treatable cancer in you, it would be much better if it generated a symptom that made you feel miserable than if it just grew undetected. In seeking relief from the symtoms, the cancer could be treated and removed.

So it is with your sin. Life might seem to be much better for people who are able to mask their guilt or even ignore it all together, but the true advantage comes to those like David, whose guilt enables them to recognize their transgression and sin so they can remove it by confessing it to God.

Sin infected you the moment you were conceived. Be grateful for the guilt that makes you aware of its presence in your life, and then follow Jesus' command to pray that your guilt-inducing debts will be forgiven.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father; against you, you only, have we sinned and done what is evil in your sight;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will, through Christ, forgive your debts and alleviate your guilt;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 14


Questions or comments?

Recent Posts:

bottom of page