Today's Bible Reading
     II Samuel 3
     I Corinthians 14
     Ezekiel 12
     Psalms 50
      “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalms 51:2-3)
      David was a man after God's own heart, yet his life was full of grief and heartache as he watched his family fall
apart. You can try to explain it and justify it, but David and his family experienced the tragic path of the backslider. David never lost his relationship with  God, but he lost his fellowship. He did not lose his salvation, but he lost the joy of it. (Psalms 51: 12)  His disobedience and sin brought grief not only to him, but to all those around him.
      David was deeply convicted by his sin and knew that his sin was not just against the people in his life, but primarily against God. (Psalms 51:4) When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of conscience that he does not deserve the forgiveness of God. The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so.
      It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary - nothing less.  The love of God is spelled out on the Cross-and nowhere else.  The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ.      It is there that His justice and conscience is satisfied.
This forgiveness in the Christian life is experienced only as we are deeply convicted like David and are willing to
repent of our disobedience to God.  That conviction includes the awareness that our sin is primarily against God Himself.
      The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously by the grace of God.
       The modern church has largely ignored the doctrine of repentance as necessary for true conversion. Het Jesus said, "Except you repent, you will perish." Paul said we are saved "by repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Peter said "He is willing that none should perish but that all should come to repentance."
         Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, ''I have sinned." The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply being sorry for having foolish mistakes - a reflex action caused by self-disgust.
      The old Puritans used to pray for ''the gift of tears." If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin.  Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.
Pray for the encouragement of missionaries in Burkina-Faso. They have had such a vital role in a land of so much physical and spiritual need. In this country of some 13 million people, the work has been hard, and victory is long in coming, but receptivity is high and missionaries are welcome. Pray for their protection and encouragement. Missionary reinforcements are needed in a wide range of ministries in this country that is 50% Muslim and could go either way.
''The greatest security against sin is to be shocked at its presence."