<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> You Too Can Be Forgiven
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You Too Can Be Forgiven

There is no sin so great that the grace and love of God cannot cover

By William R. Cunningham
February 27, 2000

Introduction

There are some people that think that they have done so much "bad" in their lives that God will never forgive them. There are people that think that their lives have been so full of evil and godlessness that they could never be loved by God and therefore, they believe, salvation is not available to them. There are many Christians that think that they have committed such a great sin after being born again that God will leave them or that they have lost their salvation.

What bad things have you done in the past either before you were saved and after? Do you hold the guilt of your crime within and therefore reckon that your relationship with God will never be the same? Have you reasoned that you have lost your salvation; entered into a backslidden state, or just blew it so bad that God doesn't love you anymore? Do you think that God holds your sins against you to the point where his love for you is not what it used to be? If you answered yes to any of these then I have some very good news for you! You too can receive the grace and love of God at its fullest capacity. You can be forgiven for the sins that you think are so great that your relationship with God has been severed. I've got great news for you because God still loves you and is still calling out to you.

We are going to look at the great sin of David as a means of evidence to show you my point. David was considered a man after God's own heart and yet he displeased God in what we would consider a great way. David sinned against God by coveting, committing adultery, murder, and cover-up. We are going to look at two primary scriptures for this lesson. We will examine and 2 Samuel chapter eleven and some of chapter twelve and Psalm 51 to see that God does forgive even those sins that we think are too big for forgiveness to be deserved.

The Incident

Let's look at a major incident in the Bible that involved a great sin by a great man. Some questions that you may want to have in your head are the following.

  1. What was this person's relationship with God like prior to the sin?

  2. What caused him to sin?

  3. What was God's response to this sin?

  4. What were the consequences of the sin?

Now look in your Bible at 2 Samuel 11:2-5. King David noticed a "beautiful woman" as he walked on the roof of his palace. It was normal to walk on the top of the roof in the late afternoon because it was the coolest place of the house. The roofs were flat which afforded such activity. Most likely, the King's palace overlooked the houses of his officials and soldiers. His palace was probably on a higher elevation then the rest of the homes and buildings.

Now in verse three we notice that trouble started. Some believe that Bathsheba was bathing on her roof with the assumption that she could not be seen. Others believe that she was being promiscuous and was flaunting. She probably didn't expect the King to be at his palace or reckoned the probability of him seeing her was small. Notice what verse one says though.

2 Samuel 11:1 (NKJV) It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

Why was King David at the palace in the first place? Typically he would have been out with his troops during a war. In any case, he was at the palace and he saw Bathsheba. Notice what verse three says.

2 Samuel 11:3 (NKJV) So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"

David sent to find out who the woman was. He began to investigate Bathsheba. Why? It seems very likely that the wheels of lust were turning in his head. It was common for a king to simply take a woman that he wants to join him as a mistress (or wife). She nor her husband would have very little say so in the matter. David was most likely plotting how to get this woman for himself. Here the sin begins. This is what happens in verse four.

2 Samuel 11:4 (NKJV) Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

The sin didn't occur when David first saw Bathsheba because that was mere circumstance. He could have noticed a beautiful woman, acknowledged it, and gone on about his business. Out of dignity and respect, at the very least, he would not have had a peep show where Bathsheba was the center of attraction.

Now David had Bathsheba taken from her home and he had sexual intercourse with her. We also notice what appears to be a strange statement that says, "For she was cleansed from her impurity." The statement is made in a way that suggests that it was the reason why David allowed himself to have sex with Bathsheba (not that it was the reason for doing so). It is believed that Bathsheba was performing the purification rituals pertaining to ritual cleansing after her menstrual cycle. See Leviticus 12:2-5, 15:19-28.

How About You

Here is King David first tempted by what he saw and then taking action. His sin was that he first allowed himself to operate or succumb to lust. He plotted and schemed to satisfy his lust for Bathsheba. I am sure that we can all recall things that we have done that were not right and yet we calculated them and implemented those plans anyway. Just like David we have coveted or did something else that we were not supposed to do. After committing the crime you may have tried to make it right by covering it up. David's sin is no different then the sins that we commit. We see something, we covet it, we plan to get it, we implement those plans, and then we justify our actions

The Cover-up

2 Samuel 11:6-26 describes David's attempt to cover-up his sin. First he tries to get Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, to go home and have sex with her so that it would appear that the baby was his. However, that plan didn't work because Uriah was too dedicated to his service and to the other soldiers to go home and have pleasure with his wife. David then plots to have Uriah killed after failed attempts to get Uriah to have sex with his wife. David would then have Bathsheba after Uriah's death. In the end Uriah was dead and David had Bathsheba as his wife. He appeared to have been successful in covering up his crime and sin. However, God knew what David did and responded to it.

How About You

Have you tried to cover up the things that you have done that were wrong? Have you tried to justify or make it seem as though you never committed the crime or sin? Well that is what David did and we do the same thing all of the time. Know for sure that God knows all and sees all.

God Responds

Chapter twelve begins with Nathan the prophet being sent by God to confront David about his sin with Bathsheba. Nathan tells a parable about a rich man and a poor man and how the rich man took from the poor man instead of from his abundance to feed a guest. Nathan identifies David with the rich man. David's sin was revealed! Notice how David was quick to pass judgment on the rich man when he had done the same thing with Uriah. Consider the following scriptures.

2 Samuel 12:7 through 2 Samuel 12:10 (NKJV) Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'

David sinned against God. He coveted a man's wife, committed adultery, murdered, and then tried to cover it all up. On top of all that, he seemed blind to his own sinful actions until Nathan revealed the sin to him.

How About You

Has God revealed a sin to you that you have committed either intentional or unintentional? Have your eyes been opened to a wrong that you have done, currently involved with, or planning? God will speak to us either by His word or via the Holy Spirit through our conscience. What we do from that point on can make the difference between restoration and condemnation.

God's Judgment on David

Consider the following verses of scripture.

2 Samuel 12:11 through 2 Samuel 12:14 (NKJV) Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'" So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."

God passed judgment on David for his sin. David's enemies will take his wives and have sex with them because of David's sins. Notice that David did acknowledge his sin against the Lord. Also notice that God forgave David of his sin and that forgiveness in no way meant that he would not have to deal with the consequences of his sin.

It is important for you to understand that God forgave David for his sin even before he asked or acknowledged it. David had a heart after God (1 Kings 11:4) since he was a child. Though he committed a serious crime, we should realize that he simply messed up and followed the way of his flesh instead of the way of God that he did know. It is also important to realize that the death of his first child with Bathsheba was not the result of God's punishment for his sin. Look at the following verse.

2 Samuel 12:13 through 2 Samuel 12:14 (NKJV) So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."

The reason of the child's death was so that the enemies of the Lord would not have a reason to blaspheme God. So there were consequences of David's sin even though he was forgiven.

How About You

Have you been convicted by God? Have you experienced the consequences of your actions? We must remember that God's judgment is righteous and he wouldn't do anything to us that was not right. Many times we bring bad things upon ourselves through laziness, neglect, or sin. So don't blame God when you suffer the consequences of your sin. God's forgiveness is not a forgetting or casting aside what you did. See my study on forgiveness for more information.

Forgiveness

Let me get back to my main point. God forgave David for his horrible crime and sin. This is just one example in the Bible where God forgave someone for doing something that we would consider unforgivable. Now we can't compare sins and reckon one sin as greater than another. However, we can see that God will forgive us of our sins even though they appear to be so great that forgiveness isn't possible or must be earned harshly. You too can be forgiven for your sins just as David and others were forgiven for their sins.

Let's look at some verses of scripture that will shed a lot of light onto how God could forgive David. We should realize that God's forgiveness was not the act of overlooking David's sin. God forgave David because of something else that was established between the two, which we will discuss now.

David's State After the Sin

Your true heart condition can be seen after you have sin (or during and after a trial). A sorrowful state after sin could mean that you were very hurt after you came to your right mind and realized or came face to face with the fact that you sinned. This may indicate that your heart really wasn't in what you did and that your sin may have been a glitch, moment of weakness, or just deception. Consider the following verses from Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:1 through Psalm 51:4 (NKJV) Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight-That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

He pleads for God's mercy for the sin that he committed against Him. This is not to say that Uriah or Bathsheba weren't an issue. Rather, this highlights the realization that he sinned ultimately against God because it was God's laws that he transgressed. We must realize that David already had a strong relationship with God before this incident occurred. He had faith in God since he was a child so we see that there was an established relationship with God.

This entire Psalm was a song of repentance and prayer for forgiveness. It gives us insight into the content of David's heart. God forgave David though he committed a horrific sin of murdering a man and taking his wife. I believe that the key to David's forgiveness was in the fact that David already had a heart after God and that God is merciful and forgiving.

How About You

What state are you in when your sin has been revealed to you? Do you deny it and try to escape conviction or do you fess up and seek God's mercy and forgiveness.

You Too Can Be Forgiven

You can be forgiven just as David was. You may think that you have committed such a horrible crime or sinned so badly that God would never forgive you and even if he did then you would never have the same relationship with Him. Religion teaches us that God requires rituals, procedures, and formalities. The fact of the matter is that God is truly a forgiving God who loves us. Consider the following scripture that show the mercy and forgiveness of God towards us.

Ephesians 2:4 through Ephesians 2:6 (NKJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

I also encourage you to read Psalm 136. In fact, the Bible tells us that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die for us, being His only begotten son.

Now consider the following scripture.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Confessing our sins mean that we acknowledge the wrong that we have done before God. It also calls for a heart of repentance since the Bible does not teach that we have a blank check with God such that we can do what we want and ask for forgiveness later.

Prerequisites to Forgiveness

I believe that there are certain prerequisites that are necessary before we can expect to receive the forgiveness of God. As in the case with David, I believe that in order to expect God's forgiveness that we must have a relationship with God. In general, we must be born again so that the blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins. Furthermore, since being born again means that you have a new spirit and therefore a new nature living within, then you cannot keep on living a sinful lifestyle. You are a new creation and therefore you will begin to live according to the new nature, the Spirit of God. This is why John could say the following.

1 John 3:9 (NKJV) Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

The above scripture refers to a lifestyle of sin and not mere incidences. If that were the case then David would not have been forgiven because his heart would not be after God. However, he was a man after God's own heart and had the anointing of God. He therefore had an active relationship with God already.

So the first thing that we should be concerned with in order to relieve ourselves of the guilt that we have for things that we have done in the past is an active relationship with God the Father. We are first born again and then we spend time communing with God in personal fellowship. That will develop a personal and active relationship and fellowship with the Father.

Confession

We must confess our sins if we expect to receive forgiveness. An absence of confession could indicate a heart of denial and therefore a continual journey down a sinful path, saved or not. We acknowledge our sins and repent of our sins when we practice true confession of our sins to God. Recall the previous scripture, 1 John 3:9.

Forgive Others

The Bible is very clear in the principle of forgiving others in order to be forgiven. God forgives us as we forgive others that have sinned against us. The Bible teaches us how to resolve unforgiveness or situations when we are wronged. The main point is that we must forgive others if we expect God to forgive us. See my study on The Art of Forgiveness for a more in-depth study of forgiveness.

Receive God's Forgiveness

Remember that your salvation is not based on something that you have done to earn it. Your salvation is solely based on the works of Jesus Christ. The only thing you did is to believe in Jesus Christ. Now there are many people that believe that they have to go through many rituals or procedures in order to be brought back into right standing with God. Some are so bad that they believe that they can lose their salvation because of a great sin that they have committed. I have good news for you. You can still receive God's forgiveness without the rituals and you have not lost your salvation though you may feel like you have.

God's grace extends to all people and especially those of his own household, namely Christians. You didn't earn God's love or salvation so don't think that you can maintain it by works. God freely gives his love, grace, and mercy to whomever he pleases. He has freely given it to you if you are indeed a child of God.

So just receive the forgiveness of the Lord. Don't hold resentment for yourself. Forgive yourself and receive the forgiveness of God in your life so that you can move on with your life and accomplish great things. It is an act of the Devil to hold guilt over you. Your guilt will keep you from progressing because you will be in a state where you believe that God has left you or is not pleased with you.

God will forgive you too if you would only go to him and confess your sins to him (not your church). There is no reason why you should legally or via a Christian doctrine have to confess your sins to any man or women (unless you have sinned against that person). You do not have to tell your pastor the great wrong that you have done. You do not have to tell anyone except God, yourself, or the person that you sinned against. So it becomes rather easy, in principle, to receive the forgiveness of God.

You too can be forgiven if you would just trust in God and stop thinking of God as a tyrant that demands certain things from us in order to win favors. God loves us and freely demonstrates that love. Go to God with a repentant spirit and a heart of confession and he will forgive you of all of your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. No you haven't committed any sins so great that God would not forgive you. You too can be forgiven if you would only receive it from God.

The Unforgivable Sin

I think it is appropriate to briefly discuss the teaching of the unpardonable sin. There are some that believe that there are some sins that cannot be forgiven by God. If I recall they are as follows.

  • Suicide

  • Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

I believe there was another item but I don't remember what it was. The main point that I would like to bring out is that these are not entirely correct. The Bible does not mention suicide as being an unpardonable sin such that if you commit suicide, saved or not, that you will go immediately to hell. Again, there is no scripture that supports that teaching.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit may not be what you think it is. In short, it merely refers to the situation where someone dies without having believed in Jesus Christ. In other words, they died unsaved. After that there is no forgiveness. The sin that was committed in this case was to not believe in Jesus Christ (1 John 3:23). Therefore, the only real unpardonable sin is to die having not believed in Jesus Christ. After that, you must die for your own sins, which is the second death discussed in Revelations.

Conclusion

The main point of this lesson is to show you that God will forgive you for any sin that you have committed. Al you have to do is to confess your sins to God and receive his forgiveness. There is no sin so great that God will not forgive you, except the sin of not believing in Jesus Christ, which can only occur after you have died. You too can be forgiven just as God forgave David. Develop a strong fellowship with God and live by His Spirit. Above all, receive the forgiveness of the Lord as you also forgive yourself and others. Amen.

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