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The Real Sinner's Prayer > Day 17

Scripture Reading: “…and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) 


A tragic and soul imperiling mistake often made by man is that he possesses the capacity to make himself right with God. Nothing could be further from the truth! Far from possessing all that is needed, man is bankrupt of all that is required for reconciliation with God.


David knew that he desperately needed God to renew a right spirit within Him. No gritting of his teeth, clinching of his fist, or turning over of a new leaf could restore David to fellowship with God. No matter how many times he put his best foot forward, it would never get him any closer to renewed communion with His Heavenly Father. 


In Hosea 14:4, God promises to “heal” the “backsliding” of His people if they will turn from their sin and return to Him. Yet, according to the Bible, even our turning from sin to the Savior requires divine intervention. Repentance is a gift of God that He alone can give us (Acts 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25-26). Truly, salvation is a miracle that only God can work and backsliding is a serious spiritual infirmity that only God can heal. 


No wonder David prayed for God to renew a right spirit within him. Only God could miraculously heal David of the spiritual malady that afflicted him. It might have been self-induced, but it could only be divinely remedied. 


“Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig.” (Charles Spurgeon)

Don Walton