Bible Study Guides – “Have Mercy Upon Me, O God, According to Thy Lovingkindness”

January 27, 2001 – February 2, 2001

MEMORY VERSE: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 23–35.


“Our sins caused Jesus to die a shameful death, that through His sufferings and death we might receive pardon. Can we receive the forgiveness of sins before we feel that we are sinners? and before we realize the sinfulness of sin? I think not. When we repent before God of our sins sincerely, we shall feel that without the pardoning blood of Christ we must perish. If we cast ourselves in our wretchedness wholly upon the mercy of Christ, and feel that unless He saves us we perish; when we yield our own will, our own way, and plead for Jesus to control our will and actions, then we come into a position where we can receive and appreciate pardon and the forgiveness of sin.” An Appeal to the Youth, 67.

“I Had Not Known Sin but by the Law”

What has God given to mankind to explain what sin is? Romans 3:20, last part; Romans 7:7.

NOTE: “The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin.… ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20). In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects of his own.” God’s Amazing Grace, 20.

Is a person condemned when he does not know he is breaking God’s law? Romans 5:13, last part. (Compare Romans 2:14, 15.)

NOTE: “In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness. We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had.” Last Day Events, 218.

“Thou Art the Man”

What means has God given for people to be convicted of their sins? John 16:7–9.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 52.

What means did the Lord use to convict David of sin? 2 Samuel 12:1–13.

NOTE: “The prophet Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb, given to King David, may be studied by all.… While he was following his course of self-indulgence and commandment breaking, the parable of a rich man who took from a poor man his one ewe lamb, was presented before him. But the king was so completely wrapped in his garments of sin, that he did not see that he was the sinner. He fell into the trap, and… passed his sentence upon another man, as he supposed, condemning him to death.… This experience was most painful to David, but it was most beneficial. But for the mirror which Nathan held up before him, in which he so clearly recognized his own likeness, he would have gone on unconvicted of his heinous sin, and would have been ruined. The conviction of his guilt was the saving of his soul. He saw himself in another light, as the Lord saw him, and as long as he lived he repented of his sin.” Conflict and Courage, 179.

“Mine Iniquity Have I not Hid”

What did David do once he was convicted of his sin? Psalm 32:5, first part. (Compare Jeremiah 3:12, 13.)

NOTE: “David awakens as from a dream. He feels the sense of his sin. He does not seek to excuse his course, or palliate his sin, as did Saul; but with remorse and sincere grief, he bows his head before the prophet of God, and acknowledges his guilt.…” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1023. (See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 361.)

“Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 456.

In what words did David acknowledge his sin? Psalm 51:3, 4.

NOTE: “As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 325.

“Whoso Confesseth and Forsaketh His Sins Shall Have Mercy”

While it is not God’s will that we should sin, what precious assurance is the sinner given? 1 John 2:1.

NOTE: “…it is not God’s will that you should be distrustful and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy.… Present your case before Him, pleading the merits of the blood shed for you upon Calvary’s cross. Satan will accuse you of being a great sinner, and you must admit this, but you can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 John 1:7. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (verse 9).’” Faith and Works, 105.

How specific should be our confession of sin? Leviticus 5:5.

NOTE: “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty. Many, many confessions should never be spoken in the hearing of mortals; for the result is that which the limited judgement of finite beings does not anticipate.… God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God.… Do not pour into human ears the story which God alone should hear. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul finds its way to the God of infinite pity.” The Faith I Live By, 128.

“Let the Wicked Forsake His Way”

In addition to confessing our sins, what further condition must be met to obtain mercy from God? Proverbs 28:13.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 203.

“Satan does not want anyone to see the necessity of an entire surrender to God. When the soul fails to make this surrender, sin is not forsaken; the appetites and passions are striving for the mastery; temptations confuse the conscience, so that true conversion does not take place.” Evangelism, 317.

What precious promise is given to the one who is willing to forsake his sins? Isaiah 55:7.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 552.

“Search Me, O God”

What work was required of the people of Israel in preparation for the Day of Atonement? Leviticus 16:29, 31; Leviticus 23:27, 32.

NOTE: “We are now living in the great day of atonement.… All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart.” God’s Amazing Grace, 69. (See also Our High Calling, 142.)

What prayer of David’s should be ours as we prepare to meet our God? Psalm 139:23, 24.

NOTE: “The enemy will come in, and try to draw our minds away from the important work to be done for this time. He will seek to keep us engaged on trivial matters, to make us think that it is our province to criticize and condemn others; but our work is to deal faithfully with our own souls. We must search our hearts and see if we are right in the sight of God.” Review and Herald, May 15, 1913. (See also Faith and Works, 75.)