Psalm 51 is a classic statement on the whole matter and doctrine of repentance. Because so many people do not realize the biblical teaching concerning sin, they fail to realize so many other things that are contained in the Christian gospel. So many people today say that they do not see the need of the incarnation, that they do not understand all this talk about the Son of God having come down to earth, that they do not understand this talk about the miracles and the supernatural, that they cannot follow this idea of the atonement and terms such as “justification” and “sanctification” and “rebirth.” They say that they do not understand why all this seems to be necessary.
They would argue like this: “Isn’t it the church that has evolved all these theoretical, purely abstract ideas? Aren’t they things that have to be conjured up in the minds of theologians? What have they to do with us, and where is their practical relevance?” I would like to point out that people who talk like this do so because they have not realized the full meaning of the biblical teaching about sin. They have not realized that they themselves are sinful. But the Bible, in sharp contrast, constantly insists upon this from the beginning to the end.
Here we are, in this modern and perplexing world. We are conscious that something is wrong, and the question is: “What is wrong?” Politicians do not seem to be able to solve our problems. Philosophers are asking questions, but they do not seem to be able to answer them. All our efforts do not seem to put the world right. The Bible says: “You are ignoring the one thing that is the key to the situation! It is sin. Here is the cause of the trouble in individuals, in intimate human relationships, in international relationships everywhere. This is the difficulty.” – David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), from a meditation on Psalm 51