God's forgiveness and our sin
by Gini Crawford, MSW
There was a man who loved God, but went through a season in his life when he loved himself and sex much more. This man went so far as to have intercourse with another man’s wife, then tried to cover it up by killing the husband. I am sure all of you are thinking how horrible! However, God called this man, a man whose heart was completely His.
... his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. 1 King 15:3b NASB®
To me, calling King David after these heinous sins, (yes, it was David the famous King from Israel’s past, who had done these sins) a man who fully loved God doesn’t make sense. If any man did those things now, we would say, the guy is wicked. And David was wicked in God’s eyes (2 Samuel 12)! Yet God knows we are all sinners, all too well. In reality we are all enslaved to sin unless we have believed in Jesus Christ.
Some of you might not know why we are enslaved to sin, so let me give you some background about sin. Before sin came into the world, everything was just right! Adam and Eve got along with God, each other, the animals and their environment perfectly. The world was perfect! I don’t think we can begin to imagine the world in this wonderful state, since we live in a world full of sin.
In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave Adam and Eve just one command that they needed to obey. They were not to eat fruit from one certain tree in the garden that was full of other wondrous trees. However, they just had to eat from the tree that God had told them not too (Genesis 3). This disobedience greatly changed God’s perfectly created world!
Since God created all of us in His image, we have a free will (Genesis 2:27). He gave us a free will so we could freely choose to love and obey Him! This freedom also gave us the choice to be in a relationship with God. Sadly, Adam and Eve chose to use God’s incredible gift of freedom to do the opposite of what He wanted, and they ate from the tree. Their choice brought death into the world, and made us all sinners and God’s enemies.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned...For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son... Romans 5:12, 10 NASB®
Their disobedience put us in bondage to sin. (Sin is defined as disobedience to God.) We became enslaved to sin and had no choice but to sin. We could say, sin became their (and our) slave master. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes how we acted while enslaved to sin. You will notice from this passage we enjoyed this state of disobedience against God. Can you relate?
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. NASB®
Our freedom of choice whether to sin or not, is given back to us through belief in Jesus Christ and what He did for us. This is because He redeems us or buys us out of slavery to sin, by His death on the cross. His death, which is explained by the terminology “His blood,” was the price He paid to remove us from slavery to sin.
….knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19 NASB®
Jesus’ death also brought full forgiveness of past, present and future sins.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses… Ephesians 1:7 NASB®
Through out the ages, to be saved from sin and its consequences, everyone has had to have faith in God (Habakkuk 2:4c & Hebrews 11). In the Old Testament times they looked forward to the Messiah’s (or Christ’s) suffering death to save them from their sins and bring them into a right relationship with God.
Who has believed our message?... He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter... Unjustly condemned, he was led away. ...But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave...Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants ... And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. Isaiah 53:1-11 (NLT)
In New Testament times people were more enlightened about the Christ, because He had lived among them, died and risen again (1 Corinthians 15). People knew Jesus Christ was the Messiah because He had fulfilled completely the prophesies about the One who would suffer and die for their sins.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV)
Why could God talk about King David, as a man whose heart was wholly His and didn’t have to count David’s sins against him? It is because of what Jesus Christ did for David and for us by living and dying for us. David trusted God to save him from his sins and to forgive him. Do you?
I believe David was a believer in the Messiah years before he sinned in such an awful way.We get this from David’s life’s story (1 Samuel 16). As Christians we need to be on our guard against the temptations of sin, or sin will get a hold of us, like it did David.
Here is a humorous but true example about staying away from the danger of sin. We had this big black dog named Woofer. Even though he looked like a killer because of his size, he was too stupid to realize his strength and his options. I would take him for a walk almost daily, in a large, natural and snake filled area. At times, he would run ahead of me and when I caught up to him it wasn’t unusual for him to be standing inches away from a rattlesnake, oblivious to the danger. I don’t know why he never got bitten except by God’s mercy, and maybe the snake was as dumb as he was. Was I being dumb too? Whether I was being dumb or not walking in that danger filled area – I am being stupid and you are too, if we go through life ignorant to the dangers of sin. We need to treat sin as we would a rattlesnake – stay away from it and not even play with it, unless we want a lot of trouble and pain.
After David realized how horrible of a sinner he had been, he confessed he had sinned against God, and then trusted in God to forgive his sins. God erased them from his life, just as if David had never done them (Psalm 103). (David was fully forgiven, but he suffered consequences from his sinning spree until he died.) This attitude of confession and trust is seen very clearly in Psalm 51.
A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, OGod, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me...Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, OGod ...Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me...Save me from bloodguilt, OGod, the God who saves me... You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:1-17 (NIV)
We have all done shameful things whether we want to admit them or not, because the Bible tells us we have all sinned and done what’s evil in God’s sight (Romans 3:9-18). Some of us have done sins that society thinks are so awful, that people shun us. Some of us have done things we think are unforgivable, so we feel God certainly doesn’t love us. Yet, we need to remember, God’s love and forgiveness will never stop. Other people might not love and forgive us, but God always will. This is because His love and forgiveness doesn’t depend on our actions, but on His action in Jesus Christ.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. NASB®
Life Application: As Christians, we are never condemned because of sin! (Read Romans 7:15- 8:4, 31-39) This is because Jesus’ death erased our sins as if we had never committed them. His death literally cleansed us from any and every sin we have and will commit. Yet, sin affects our relationship with God, like when a child disobeys his parent. So since we are so loved and forgiven by God (Who is Holy and hates sin) shouldn’t we agree with Him about our sins, because we love Him? Think about confession this way - confessing your sins is the grandest and easiest way God could gave you to be so quickly close to Him again! Memorize 1 John 1:9. Since God has forgiven you, shouldn’t you forgive others? Memorize Luke 11:2-4.
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