The Problem of Guilt – Gospel in Life

The Problem of Guilt

Tim Keller |  October 31, 1993

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  • Repentance
  • Sin
Psalm 51
RS 45-08

Understanding Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is like a heartfelt letter from King David to God where he is asking for forgiveness. David had done some really bad things – he cheated on his wife with Bathsheba, then had her husband killed! At first, David didn’t feel guilty until the prophet Nathan brought it to light, causing David to feel terrible. But this Psalm shows us that even in our worst moments, if we are truly sorry and want to change, God’s love can help us transform.

1. Feeling Sorry and Saying Sorry

The Bible teaches us that everyone makes mistakes, and we all need God’s love to help us. Sin is more than just breaking rules – it’s like turning our backs on God’s goodness. Recognizing this helps us understand why things are wrong in the world and why people fail. It’s important to understand the difference between feeling sorry (which is just blaming ourselves and can make us feel distant from God) and saying sorry to God (which leads to freedom, healing, and a better understanding of God’s love).

2. Asking for a Fresh Start

In Psalm 51, David knows he’s done wrong and asks God for a fresh start. This is like being born again, which is a big part of being a Christian. David asks for the Holy Spirit to guide him towards truth so he can stop believing lies that have messed up his life. Even though it might sound strange, believing that Jesus died for our sins is the key to this kind of transformation. David, who loved God, longed to feel the joy of God’s love and the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in his life again.



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Marriage is one of the most profound human relationships — but it can also be one of the most challenging. So Tim and Kathy Keller designed a devotional book for married couples to use together.