When I was a teenager and young adult, and a babe in Christ, I continuously doubted my salvation. I truly understood Christ’s ability to save me…I understood the gift of His mercy and grace…I understood well that His blood could cover all of my sins…yet, it seemed every other Sunday I was back at the alter weeping out of fear that Christ had not saved me thoroughly or that I had somehow lost my salvation. My heart and mind were a complete mess.
As I continued in this effort to “get saved again,” each Sunday, my pain and doubt kept cementing that I was not saved at all…thus…I was at the alter again. However, one night I was talking to a lady I knew from work who was also a Christ-Follower and she shared two verses from God’s Word that had a changing impact on me. She said, “Tammi — I have no doubt that you are saved because you are broken over your sin. You have been continually taking your sin to Him. Sweet girl, God loves your brokenness over sin and that you are inclined to bring it to Him often. He will not turn you away for that or mock you or even despise you…He loves you. When you think you’ve lost your salvation, you are feeling the Lord’s discipline on you.”
She then opened the Bible and showed me from Psalm 51:17 where David says to the Lord, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
This verse comes out of prayer after Nathan had confronted David because of the sin he committed against God with Bathsheba. David was broken over his sin against God…if you read the entirety of the Psalm, you can feel that brokenness of spirit. I find myself particularly drawn to verses 11 and 12,
“Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Psalms 51:11-12)
In those two verses, I understood David’s heart — not only had his sin broken him, but he was begging God to not throw him away because of it. He felt the pain that there could be should he no longer be in the presence of God. His brokenness brought him to the alter of contrition and repentance. But, it is important to understand that David did not get there own his own. None of us can…because when you come to that alter, God has been convicting you and discipling you so that you are brought there wholly.
Proverbs 3:12 says, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
When we abide in Christ and long to do God’s will, He, like a father, will chastise us and discipline us for our sins. Paul gives us a stern warning about God’s discipline, “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:7-8 (Emphasis mine)
My heart cries out from that verse, “Lord, please chastise me and discipline me when I have sinned against you. Don’t delay, Father, please don’t delay.”
And so, I come often to that alter of contrition — I drop there in deep sorrow over my sin. Honestly, contrition or contriteness is a word we don’t often here from people — so I researched it to find out where such a word comes from and I was astounded. It comes from the Latin word, “Contritus,” which literally means “to ground to pieces.” Oh, yes, Lord, I’ve been ground to pieces —
Does your sin ground you to pieces on His alter? If it is not, I pray that you will allow Him to discipline you as a son or daughter. Let Him love you so thoroughly that you lie before Him prostrate and broken…ground to pieces and then allow that precious Blood to wash you clean — whiter than snow. Beg Him, as David did in Psalm 51:2, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.” “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.” (Psalms 51:7-8)
He will — that is a promise with certainty!
Soli Deo Gloria