Testifying of God’s Mercy

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (v. 13).

- Psalm 51

In the previous lesson we discovered how David’s understanding of the depth and nature of sin propelled him to the mercy seat of God. Following his confession at the beginning of Psalm 51, he promised to teach others about the ways of God and to praise His Name in the assembly. When he says, “I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You,” he speaks of the gratitude he would feel should God answer his prayer. That gratitude would motivate him to bring the message of salvation to others. He understood all too well what it was like to be in bondage to sin and to live in shame and disgrace before God’s righteousness. Once God freed him, his response becomes one of charity—to bring others the good news of God’s mercy.

According to Calvin, “Those who have been mercifully recovered from their falls will feel inflamed by the common law of charity to extend a helping hand to their brethren; and in general, such as are partakers of the grace of God are constrained by religious principle, and regard for the divine glory, to desire that others should be brought into the participation of it.”

By spreading the good news of forgiveness in Christ, we proclaim the goodness and righteousness of God. This message should not be constrained within us, but should flow to others as we praise God for what He has done for us. David not only wants to be effective in bringing others into a saving relationship with the Lord through his testimony, but he wants the entire assembly of God’s people to be healed and restored from the sin he had committed. Because David was king, his disgraceful conduct brought a dark cloud over the people. Therefore, he prays for God to restore the church by His free mercy, not on the basis of any of the people’s righteousness, but only by the good pleasure of God Himself.

Such is the lesson that must be learned by leaders in the church who have fallen into sin. They should not only seek restoration for themselves but for the entire church, which is greatly affected by their actions. Just as God is gracious to restore the joy of His salvation to individuals, that joy encompasses the entire body of Christ by His abundant grace and mercy.

Coram Deo

Read John 4:1–42. What did the woman do when she heard that Jesus was the Messiah? What was the result of her testimony? Do you feel compelled to tell others of the mercy of Christ? Think through your testimony today and how you would teach others of God’s mercy. Write it down to help organize your thoughts.

Passages for Further Study

Isaiah 63:7–9
2 Timothy 1:3–14
1 Peter 3:15–16

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