Confession and Renewal

Gordon VanWylen

READ : Psalm 51:1-12

Our reading today points to God’s grace as he moves us from genuine confession to renewal in our walk and fellowship with God. The starting point in this transition is to begin to know and have the assurance that God has indeed forgiven us. Note how David first prayed that God would cleanse him and wash away his iniquity (v. 2) and then uses these same words in verse 7 to relate, on a triumphant note, how he has begun to experience what it means to be clean and made whiter than snow. This assurance is rooted in the character of God, and for Christians the conviction that God acted in history when Jesus died to accomplish full atonement for our sins.

But this renewal process goes on to address the root cause of sin. What we need from God is a clean heart and a steadfast spirit within (v. 10). This reminds us of Jesus’ words, “You must be born again.” This renewal involves our mind, for the idea of a steadfast spirit suggests that we know and pursue the truth. Our will is also involved; David prays for a willing spirit (v. 12). This renewal also touches our emotions, for joy and gladness are recurring themes in these verses. This renewal process is the work of the Holy Spirit (v. 11). How great it is to move from confession to renewal!


Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. Grant me a willing spirit. Amen.