Without a doubt, one of the great blessings of being a Christian is that God gives us second chances. He knows that we won’t be flawless. He knows that we won’t be perfect. And He makes allowance for our sins.
Even when we have failed miserably, God gives us the opportunity to put it all behind us. And He can dramatically turn things around.
However, we have a choice in the matter. We can approach our sin in two ways: We can confess it for what it is, turn from it and know the happiness of being forgiven. Or, we can hide it and know the misery of being found out, ultimately reaping what we’ve sown.
In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God posed a challenge: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (30:19 NKJV).
“Choose it,” God was saying. “You can walk with Me, or you can walk away from Me. You can live, or you can die.”
It’s amazing to me that some people would consciously choose death. But that is essentially what we do when we choose to go against God and His word, the Bible.
Sin is attractive. The devil knows how to package it. He knows how to present it so it will have a certain appeal. Sin is a lot like candy-coated strychnine. It’s sweet on the outside—until you bite into it.
Because of the short-term pleasure that sin offers, many people don’t think of the long-term repercussions. But make no mistake about it: The Bible warns that your sin will find you out (see Numbers 32:23). Sometimes it happens immediately, and sometimes it happens after a period of time.
We see this in the life of David, after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then he had her husband, Uriah, killed. David is rightfully known in the Scriptures as one of the greatest saints, identified uniquely as the man after God’s own heart. But it’s also true to say that David is known in the Scriptures as one of the greatest sinners.
His life was a paradox. On one hand, we remember him for his heroic exploits and his tender heart toward God and others. And on the other hand, we remember him for his sins of adultery and murder and his attempt to cover them up.
David managed to keep those sins hidden for a prolonged period of time. Then one day the prophet Nathan went to David and told him about two men in the kingdom. One was rich and had many sheep, but the other had just one little lamb. It was a family pet, almost like a child to him.
One day a visitor came to see the man with many sheep. Unwilling to kill one of his many sheep to prepare and serve to his guest, the rich man took the one little lamb that belonged to the other man. Then he killed it and served it to his visitor.
Upon hearing this, David, with all the royal fury he could muster, said, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5–6 NKJV).
This was a very harsh sentence. Even under the severest penalty of the Mosaic Law, this offense didn’t require the death penalty. What this man had done was wrong, no doubt. But it didn’t merit death. Yet David was ready to kill this man.
And then Nathan said it: “You are the man!” (verse 7 NKJV). David had many wives, which, by the way, was in direct disobedience to God (see Deuteronomy 17:17). Yet David took away the one wife Uriah had, just as the rich man in Nathan’s story took away someone else’s only lamb.
David confessed his sin, but ultimately he reaped the results of it.
The story of David and Bathsheba is the backdrop for Psalm 32, where David wrote, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (verses 1–2 NLT).
Thank God for second chances.
David went on to describe the futility and misery of unconfessed sin: “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (verses 3–4 NLT).
When he tried to cover up his sins with deceit, David’s life became crooked and twisted as a result. The Bible tells us, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NLT).
I’ve seen people live out the truth of this verse. I’ve met people in church who seem to be so together, wanting to walk with God and serve Him. They may look right. They may sound right. But something isn’t clicking. They seem to go from one crisis to another.
And then one day it all comes out: They’ve been living in some sin they haven’t dealt with, and it caught up with them. Suddenly it’s apparent why their life has been such a mess and why things haven’t gone well for them.
Sin stinks. And it will mess up every aspect of your life. Its foul stench will permeate everything. That’s why it needs to be dealt with.
But there’s only one way to get rid of your sin, which is at the cross of Jesus Christ. You can’t cover it, hide it, or run from it. It will stick to you until you confess it.
Confession means seeing your sin for what it is, being sorry for it and turning from it. Are you willing to do that? If so, then God will forgive it, and He will cover it.
David tried in his own ability to cover his sin—with no success. But when God covers our sins, they’re gone forever.
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