Longing for God… to Forgive Me- Session Two
Longing for God… to Forgive Me- Session Two
In this session we explore how we need to apply God’s forgiveness directly to our sin as a daily practice.

This study guide was produced by Keswick Ministries. Keswick Ministries hosts a Convention for 3 weeks each summer in the English Lake District. They also run year-round teaching and training events and produce digital and printed resources. The central vision of Keswick Ministries is to see the people of God equipped, encouraged and refreshed to love and live for Christ in his world. We hope you are blessed by this series.

Getting Started

‘Oh, why did I mess it up – again?’ We kick ourselves. The words may be unspoken, but they are no less real.
Guilt, sadness, shame. All these emotions swirl within us when we realize that once again we’ve let God down. We lost our temper, gossiped with a friend, gave in to that ‘comforting’, habitual sin. We know we are saved, but our fellowship with God is disturbed, and we feel estranged from him. Satan whispers in our ear that maybe this time our sin is too big for God to forgive, that other Christians would keep their distance if they knew what we’d done. Despair may seem close at hand, but forgiveness is within reach.
Christ’s arms outstretched on the cross invite us to come to him for cleansing. His death paid the penalty for our sins once and for all, past, present and future. But repentance isn’t a one-time deal. Daily we need to apply God’s forgiveness directly to our sin. The Puritans called it ‘renewing our repentance’. If you are longing for cleansing, for forgiveness, for spiritual transformation, there is nowhere else to turn.

From the Bible – Psalm 51:1–13

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.

Discussion Points

Personal Application

God [is] eager to put away sins. Because the sacrifice of His Son is of such
infinite value, He delights to apply it to sinful men and women. God is not a reluctant forgiver; He is a joyous one. His justice having been satisfied and His wrath having been exhausted, He is now eager to extend His forgiveness to all who trust in His Son as their propitiatory sacrifice. He hurls our sins overboard (Micah 7:19). Corrie ten Boom, a dear saint of the last century, used to say, ‘And then he puts up a sign saying, “No fishing allowed.” ’ Why would she say that? Because she knew that we tend to drag up our old sins, that we tend to live under a vague sense of guilt. She knew that we are not nearly as vigorous in appropriating God’s forgiveness as He is in extending it. Consequently, instead of living in the sunshine of God’s forgiveness through Christ, we tend to live under an overcast sky of guilt most of the time.

Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life, p. 67

How should we deal with lingering feelings of guilt? According to the Bible passages you have studied this session, what practical measures can you put in place to avoid falling into familiar patterns of sin? Feel free to suggest any other ideas with your group!

Prayer Time

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.

Arthur Bennett [ed.], The Valley of Vision, p. XV