For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. (Isaiah 59:12)
“The trouble with people who are not seeking for a Savior and for salvation is that they do not understand the nature of sin,” said the Welsh Protestant minister, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones.
Sin is bliss until you recognize it for what it is — willful ignorance. And the price of ignorance is steep. When all is said and done, you’re gonna need somebody special to dig you out of that deep hole you’re in.
John Gill, the biblical scholar and theologian tells us, with all the certitude you’d expect from an 18th century English Baptist pastor, “They are without excuse; the very Heathens, who have only the light of nature, and are destitute of a revelation, have no color or pretext for their idolatrous practices, and vicious lives; nor have they, nor will they have anything to object to God’s righteous judgment against them, or why they should not be condemned.”
Paul is (more) succinct.
Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. (Romans 7:7)
Knowing is always better than not knowing. But after the deed is done, knowledge of what is right followed by repentance does not excuse sin — a key point not emphasized enough. The tumultuous life of David after Bathsheba is a dizzying, even bewildering example.
David Limbaugh, in his book, The Emmaus Code…* tells us, “David fell into sin through a flagrantly adulterous act with his neighbor Bathsheba. This lead to a cascade of other sins: covetousness, bearing false witness, stealing, and eventually murder of Bathsheba’s husband.”
“In the whole of the Old Testament literature there is no chapter more tragic or full of solemn and searching warning than this,” concludes British evangelist G. Campbell Morgan. David’s child with Bathsheba dies. One son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister Tamar, The other son, Absalom, avenges her by murdering Amnon. Absalom flees to escape David’s punishment and leads a failed rebellion against his father, dying at the hands of David’s men despite David’s orders to spare his life. Think about it. There can be nothing worse than the loss of a child, yet David lost four: three dead, one violated! It is a stark lesson about the consequences of sin.
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. (2 Samuel 12:10)
Based on David’s history of serial adultery, would knowing the ultimate cost have changed his actions beforehand? Probably not. Did David ever come to grips with the full effect of his time with Bathsheba on his life, thereafter? Evidence suggests he did.
David responds with humility and contrition when the prophet Nathan confronts him with the facts, refusing to evade responsibility or make excuses. According to David Guzik, pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, California, Psalm 32:1-5 suggests David was aware of his circumstance, but forgiveness from the Lord was worth the loss and suffering he paid.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)
It’s a grateful testimony of joy for God’s gift of forgiveness toward those who with integrity confess their sins and are receptive to God’s rule in their lives.
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
* The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament