There are two things which are absolutely vital to our Christian lives; repentance and faith. Today I want to talk about repentance.
When King David saw Bathsheba bathing, he made enquiries about her and discovered that she was Uriah’s wife. Despite the fact that he knew God would not approve, he committed adultery with her, then tried to cover it up. He was more concerned about his reputation with the people around him than obedience to God.
Eventually he arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle so nobody would know.
Later Nathan the prophet confronted David and he suddenly saw how wrong he had been. David was horror-stricken at what he had done. (2 Samuel 11 and 12). That is repentance.
He then wrote Psalm 51. Verse 4 says: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.”
He realised that the only person whose opinion really matters is God’s and that his biggest mistake by far was to disobey God. That was where things started to go wrong. One sin leads to another, and another until you forfeit your relationship with God altogether, or you admit your mistake and turn to Him for forgiveness.
Most people take the first choice, but David had already tasted the sweetness of a relationship with God and knew that his only chance to recover that was to throw himself on God’s mercy. That requires an exercise of faith and trust.
That is why I believe that repentance and faith are a pair and always go together. I have heard it said that it is always best to keep short accounts with God. Do not wait to go back to God and ask his forgiveness. We fail with depressing regularity, and so we need to keep going back to Him.