When we are confronted with our sin, it hurts. A flood of realization spills over us as we see how deluded we had been to think highly of ourselves. Our conscience burns with the understanding that we have offended our holy King and the weight of shame presses hard against our chest. Needless to say, these are not happy feelings, so, naturally, we want to escape them as soon as possible. In following this impulse, we too often miss the benefit that comes with the process of repentance.
When you are confronted with your sin, as soon as you feel the pain of conviction, you could simply go to God, ask forgiveness, wash your hands and be done with it. But that seems like short-cutting the biblical pattern. Let’s look at 2 Samuel 12 and Psalm 51 to see David’s response to Nathan’s rebuke of his sin with Bathsheba. What do we see David doing?
- He accepts Nathan’s rebuke – “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).
- He fasts and pleads with God to undo the consequences of his sin (vv. 16-17).
- He accepts the consequences of his sin with contentment (vv. 21-23).
- He confesses his sin – “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4).
- He prays for God’s cleansing from his sin (vv. 2, 7, 10).
- He prays for God to restore to him the joy of salvation (v. 12).
- He resolves to serve God actively – “I will teach transgressors your ways” (v. 13)