Repentance and Faith

What is the worst thing you have ever done? What do you think would happen if you told someone what you did?

We all make mistakes. Sometimes, we even make really bad mistakes. As a minister at my local jail, I have had the opportunity to speak with people who have done some terrible things. However, God sends me to them to deliver a message of hope, healing, wholeness, and restoration.

My experience in jail ministry has taught me that people who are facing the uncertainty of sentencing for their crimes tend to be contrite, broken, and deeply sorrowful. They are eager to plead for mercy and forgiveness, and they hope that God will deliver them from the severe consequences of their actions.

Sadly, it is often the case that the men and women who are begging God for mercy while incarcerated return to the same destructive behaviors when released from jail. When they escape punishment, their hearts rejoice that God has been merciful, and they promise they will never make the same mistakes again. However, it is not long before they go back to the same old patterns and find themselves locked up again, spending long, sleepless, anxiety-filled nights in the jailhouse, worrying how the judge will respond when they face him a second, third, fourth, or even fifth time.

You may remember the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible. David, who had previously been a shepherd boy, had risen to fame and prominence as a mighty warrior in Israel. He had been anointed to be king, he had killed Goliath, and he had conquered Israel’s enemies. Later in life, he found himself ruling over Israel with peace, prosperity, and the Lord’s favor.

But then one day, David was standing on the roof of his palace when he noticed a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing in the privacy of her home. To make a long story short, King David had his servants bring Bathsheba to his palace so that he could sleep with her, she became pregnant, and David ordered her husband to be killed in an attempt to cover up the affair. Well, David could attempt to hide his sins from people, but he could not hide his sins from God.

Just as King David had been looking down upon the nakedness of Bathsheba’s body from the high perspective of his own palace, God had likewise been looking at David, exposed and naked in his sin, from the throne of his palace in Heaven. David’s sins had been seen by God, who sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his sin.

When David was caught red-handed, he immediately confessed his sin, and God immediately forgave David of his sin. However, God did not save the king from the consequences of his errors. In fact, there were four specific punishments that God required David to endure:

  1. David’s child born in the affair with Bathsheba would die.
  2. David’s house would never find rest from the sword of war.
  3. David’s own family would be his worst enemies.
  4. David’s wives would be taken by his enemy, who would have sex with them publicly.

The Bible tells us that David endured all four of these consequences. Even though God did not require David to pay for his sin with the penalty of his life — which was what the Law of Moses actually required — God still demanded that David experience consequences for his sins.

Sin is destructive and powerful, and its purpose is to bring death. Every human being on the planet has been taken hostage by the deceitfulness of sin, and only the eternal, life-giving God can remove its deadly sting. However, God still allows us to experience consequences for our sins as a reminder to us of the danger of sin. He uses punishment the same way that a loving father corrects his children when they are acting rebelliously. God uses discipline to move us toward future obedience so that we don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.

If you are keeping your sin a secret, you may think that you have successfully hidden your evil deeds from mankind, but God has seen what you have done. You may be able to fool your friends, your family, and even the judge in the county courthouse, but you cannot hide your wicked deeds from God.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” King David deserved the death penalty for the sins he committed during his affair with Bathsheba. God spared David from death, but God did not spare him from the consequences of his disobedience.

Yes, David endured the God-appointed consequences of his sin, but he still rejoiced in the salvation of God, who mercifully delivered him from the penalty of death. David writes of this in Psalm 116, saying, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.”

If you are feeling trapped by the deceitfulness of sin, you can also find rest for your soul. God wants to restore you, to comfort you, and to bring you the free gift of eternal life. You may not escape the repercussions of your sins, but those consequences will not last forever. You can become free today by confessing your sins, accepting God’s mercy, and facing the discipline that God chooses with joy, thanksgiving, and faith that the Lord will not give you more than you can endure.

[If you have a secret sin that you need to confess, click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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