By Pastor Dennis Smith
It seems to be a natural response of man to want to do something to make amends for his sins. This is why the false doctrine of meritorious penitent acts of contrition became a part of Christianity. The Christian may also find himself sometimes confessing a sin more than once to God if in his mind the sin is very grievous.
A sin need be confessed only once.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9
The story of David and his sin of adultery and murder is a wonderful example of God’s complete forgiveness of the sinner. It seems David had forgotten about his sin and went on about his business as king. So God sent Nathan the prophet to David to call attention to his sin. Nathan told a story about a poor man’s little yew lamb that was taken by a rich man for a feast who had many sheep of his own. David became enraged and was ready to pass judgment on the rich man for his unjust act against the poor man. Then Nathan said:
“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife [to be] thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” 2Samuel 12:7-9
David deeply repented of his sin. His prayer of repentance is found in Psalm 51:1-5. (Read all of Psalm 51) God accepted David’s confession and forgave him.
Years later, Jeroboam was king, but was leading Israel away from God. Therefore, God sent a prophet to him to confront him with his sin. We read of the encounter in 1Kings. God told the prophet:
“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; 1Kings 14:7-8
Notice who God used as an example of faithfulness to God in contrast to Jeroboam’s unfaithfulness. God said, “thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;” God forgot! In God’s mind David was an obedient servant of God.
God tells all who repent of their sin and ask for forgiveness:
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17
God’s forgiveness is complete. He never brings our sins to mind. They are totally forgotten by God.
What a wonderful gift God has given us in His act of forgiving our sins. We too should not bring to mind our past sins and let them weigh us down. This is the only way to experience the full and complete forgiveness God offers, and have peace in our heart. As God’s forgiveness becomes a reality in our heart our love for God will grow deeper and deeper. We will come to know what a truly loving heavenly Father we have.
Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. John 17:3