a) being safe at the Last *Judgment because you have obeyed every rule,
b) being safe at the Last *Judgment because you believe in Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us that Jews must keep every rule in the Bible. He meant the Ten Commandments, and all the other rules in Exodus, Leviticus and the rest of the Old Testament. If they did, they would be safe at the Last *Judgment. They would go to *heaven. The difficulty was, nobody could keep all the rules! Does this mean nobody will go to *heaven? No! Because there is another way to go to *heaven, a better way. It is to believe in Jesus Christ, and to *trust him. We must:
· ask him to *forgive (take away) our *sins (what we do wrong)
· ask him to give us help to stop *sinning
· ask him to make us new people by putting his *Holy Spirit in us (the *Holy Spirit is another name for God).
A New Man
Jesus said, "I say this to you. If anyone looks at a woman and wants to have sex with her, he has already had sex with her in his mind". (Matthew 5:28)
(This is) for the music leader.
(It is) a psalm of David.
(It was) when the *prophet Nathan came to him.
(It was) after (David) had sex with Bathsheba.
v1 Give *mercy to me, God, because of your kind love.
Because you have so much love, forget that I did not obey you.
v2 Wash me (from the bad feeling that I have)
because of the bad thing that I did.
Make me clean from all my *sin.
v18 In your pleasure, do good things to Zion.
Build up the walls of Jerusalem.
· there will be the right kind of animal *sacrifice
· whole burnt offerings will bring you pleasure
· they will offer bulls on your *altar.
The Story of Psalm 51
This is a famous psalm. David wrote it after he had done something very wrong. He saw a woman bathing and he wanted to have sex with her. But she was the wife of Uriah. Her name was Bathsheba. Uriah was away in the army, so David sent his servants to bring Bathsheba to his *palace. The *palace was the big house where he lived as king. David and Bathsheba had sex together. Later Bathsheba told David that she was going to have his baby. So David brought Uriah home. He tried to make Uriah have sex with Bathsheba so that Uriah would think that the baby was his. When Uriah would not do it, he sent Uriah to a dangerous place in the war with the Philistines. The Philistines killed Uriah. Then David married Bathsheba. When the baby was born it only lived for a week.
Then Nathan the *prophet came and told David that he had done wrong. At first, David did not say that he was sorry. This made him feel very bad. So he wrote Psalm 32. Later he wrote this psalm as well. Psalms 32 and 51 are 2 of the 7 Penitential Psalms that the Church often sings during Lent. Lent is the 40 days before Easter. "Penitential" means being sorry for your *sins, asking God to *forgive them, and promising not to do them again. The other 5 Penitential Psalms are 6, 38, 102, 130 and 143.
We put a space in the psalm between verses 17 and 18. This is because many Christians think that verses 18 and 19 came later. The Jews wrote them when they came back from *exile in Babylon. This *exile was when the King of Babylon took them away from their own country and made them live in Babylon. The *prophets told the Jews this. God let the King of Babylon do it because the Jews had not obeyed God. The Jews wanted a psalm that told God that they had *sinned. They chose Psalm 51. They put two verses on the end that said:
· they wanted the walls of Jerusalem built again (the King of Babylon had destroyed them)
· they wanted the *Temple in Jerusalem built again so that they could *sacrifice animals on its *altar (did they not see that David thought that this was not important?)