TAKING SIN SERIOUSLY

by David Sisler

Before this year most people did not know David, king of Israel, from Howard Johnson. At best we knew he wrote an old poem that talked about sheep, shepherds and overrunning cups. Oh, and there was that thing with the woman in her bath.

Then because private events were made public we looked his story up. We learned that David's private life was exposed by God. We learned that David repented and was forgiven. Most of us still never learned how serious was the sin of which David repented.

David lived through the consequences of adultery. When the man chosen by God to lead the nation, confessed and repented, God said, "The sword shall never depart from your house." David would always face the consequences of his action. And the nation he was called to serve and the family he led were in turmoil from that day.

David's son from the adulterous affair died seven days after David confessed and repented. David's son, Amnon, raped David's daughter, Tamar. David's son, Absalom plotted for two years and then murdered Amnon. Another two year's went by while Absalom plotted his masterpiece a palace revolt, the overthrow of his father. Finally, Absalom was murdered.

Looking back through years of deceit, conspiracy, rebellion and murder David cried out, "O my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

John W. Lawrence wrote about David, and about the truth of harvesting what we have sown, in his book Down to Earth: The Laws of the Harvest.

"When David sowed to the flesh, he reaped what the flesh produced. Moreover, he reaped the consequences of his actions even though he had confessed his sin and been forgiven of it. Underline it, star it, mark it deeply in your conscious mind: Confession and forgiveness in no way stop the harvest. He had sown; he was to reap. Forgiven he was, but the consequences continued. We are not to be deceived, for God will not be mocked. When we sow we will reap, and there are no exceptions."

Everyone of us would like to know that when we are forgiven by the Lord that we then have a certain immunity from the consequences of that forgiven sin. We do not. I would to God that we did, but we do not.

There is such an incredible difference between the forgiveness of sin and the consequence of sin. The sin that God has forgiven, the sin that will never face us in the day of judgment, may be the sin that is before us for as long as we live. No one who places personal faith in Jesus of Nazareth, God's Son, will ever pay for a sin eternally. But there is no assurance from scripture, that as long as we live, we will not endure the inevitable effects of the evil that we set in motion. No sin is private, no matter how much we may wish it were.

Eight days ago, the President of the United States addressed the National Prayer Breakfast. His remarks were moving, touching, and, unlike some of his comments in recent months, worthy of the office he holds.

"It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine," the president said. "I have repented. I... hope that with a broken spirit and a still strong heart I can be used for greater good."

Was Bill Clinton's confession sincere, do you think? As sincere as any confession I have ever heard (and that includes my own).

Was he sorry, do you think? As sorry, I believe, as I have ever been for the sins I have committed.

Was he sorry for his sin, or just that he got caught, do you think? Both, probably just like me, just like you. I often resisted confessing to being a sinner, to repenting of a sin, until I had been caught. My heart condemned me, but until someone pointed a finger at me and called me into God's judgment (as the prophet Nathan did with King David), there was rarely any public acknowledgment of my private sin.

Did God hear the president's prayer, do you think? Absolutely.

Did God forgive him? According to the integrity of God's Word, I know he did.

Will that forgiveness from Almighty God stop the impeachment process from going forward? Probably not. That is the seriousness of sin, even forgiven sin.

"God can change us and make us strong at the broken places," Bill Clinton said. That is true. But if, as believers, as people who claim to have received the forgiveness of Almighty God, we take new sin just as seriously as we claim to take the Savior, God will never be forced to repair new brokenness.

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Published in the Augusta Chronicle 9/19/98

Copyright 1998 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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