Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
TBT: Repentance in Light of Forgiveness | by John Calvin
But here it may be asked why David needed to pray so earnestly for the joy of remission, when he had already received assurance from the lips of Nathan that his sin was pardoned? Why did he not embrace this absolution?
David might be much relieved by the announcement of the prophet, and yet be visited occasionally with fresh convictions, influencing him to have recourse to the throne of grace. However rich and liberal the offers of mercy may be which God extends to us, it is highly proper on our part that we should reflect upon the grievous dishonor which we have done to his name, and be filled with due sorrow on account of it.
The truth is, that we cannot properly pray for the pardon of sin until we have come to a persuasion that God will be reconciled to us. Who can venture to open his mouth in God’s presence unless he be assured of his fatherly favor?
In proof of this, I might refer to the Lord’s Prayer, in which we are taught to begin by addressing God as our Father, and yet afterwards to pray for the remission of our sins. God’s pardon is full and complete; but our faith cannot take in his overflowing goodness, and it is necessary that it should distill to us drop by drop.
The mention which is here made of purging with hyssop, and of washing or sprinkling, teaches us, in all our prayers for the pardon of sin, to have our thoughts directed to the great sacrifice by which Christ has reconciled us to God. “Without shedding of blood,” says Paul, “is no remissions” and this, which was intimated by God to the ancient Church under figures, has been fully made known by the coming of Christ.
Prayers from the Past
I am spent, O my Christ, Breath of my life.
Perpetual stress and surge, in league together,
make long, O long, this life, this business of living.
Grappling with foes within and foes without,
my soul hast lost its beauty, blurred your image.
— A prayer of confession from Gregory of Nazianzus, 383 C.E.
Finding Our Way
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