David makes it clear in this Psalm that the only source for being right with God is through obedience to His “testimonies”, “precepts”, “commands”, “statutes”, etc….. When we’re not obedient we’ve sinned. Like David, we never want to “wander from” God’s “commandments” but we all do – we all sin. And when we do sin God has given us one solution, communicated through His Holy Word (by His grace through Christ’s death), – that is to repent of our sin, and then come to God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Repentance is one of the key elements in the forgiveness process.
1. to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of ): He repented after his thoughtless act.
2. to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent. verb (used with object)
3. to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one’s injustice to another.
4. to feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.
Our sin is always first and foremost against God. More often than not most people aren’t aware or even effected by our sin (at least not initially, but God’s corrective measures toward us can ultimately effect many around us).
That said, many of our sins have a very direct effect on others. When this is the case, based on God’s direction, our road to forgiveness always starts with genuine repentance for what we’ve done. Then we go to God on our knees and ask for forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ. Then we go to those we’ve directly effected by our sin and ask for forgiveness. And last we do our best to enact restoration to the extent it’s possible. If we’re not repentant then we’re not forgiven because we really haven’t even acknowledged our sin. If we are repentant we are forgiven by God and will have a strong desire to make our wrongs right. Everyone will know that we’re “right with God” because it will be obvious by our actions and attitude, as well as our current and future behavior.
Like David, our desire should be to not sin in the first place. However, also like David, we are to refer to the only Source available to us for true forgiveness. There is no partial or easier way to forgiveness. Just making a statement of forgiveness without taking the necessary steps laid out by God is meaningless.
“1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently.
5 Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments.
7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I will keep Your statutes;
Oh, do not forsake me utterly!
9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
17 Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
19 I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.
21 You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments.
22 Remove from me reproach and contempt,
For I have kept Your testimonies.
23 Princes also sit and speak against me,
But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors.
25 My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
28 My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
Your judgments I have laid before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
32 I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.”