There's Always a Way Back

Sermon from CCM Fallowfield



This sermon was preached by Tom O’Toole at the Fallowfield site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 5th December 2021.



This sermon was based on Psalm 51.

Psalm 51

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  • David had messed up in a big way as he raped Bathsheba and had Uriah killed. Catch up on previous sermon here.
  • When David was confronted by Nathan about his sin, he repented. 
  • Whatever we might have done there is always a way back, and that way back involves repentance. 
  • David expressed his repentance in Psalm 51. 

David Wanted to Be Forgiven

  • He didn’t minimise or play down his sin – he knew it was a big deal and said that the sin was ‘ever before him’. 
  • He also knew that the place that his sin flowed from was his heart being wrong before God. 
  • He asked for God’s mercy – he realised that forgiveness was not something that he deserved, but he asked for it anyway.
  • He also asked to be cleansed from his iniquities – and particularly referred to hyssop, which alludes to the Passover and the sacrifice that cleanses from sin. This points us forward to the cross.

David Wanted to Be Changed

  • As well as asking for forgiveness, David asked for a pure heart and a right spirit. 
  • It was about more than just the consequences of his sin going away. He wanted to have different desires and live a different way.
  • Our hearts are turned away from sin as they are filled with a new desire for God. 


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