Summary: Sins are forgiven but there are consequences
A. DEAL WITH THE OFFENDING ONE – EXODUS 32:29 – 33:17
1. Challenge to godly living. “Concentrate yourselves today to the Lord”
(v. 29, KJV).
2. Remind them of their personal responsibility to God. “You have committed
a terrible sin” (v. 30).
3. Point out sin. “A great sin . . . made for themselves a god of gold” (v. 31).
B. THE ATTITUDE OF AN INTERCESSOR
1. Be willing to stand between them and God. “I will go up to the Lord” (v. 30)
2. Be willing to ask for forgiveness of their sin. “I shall make atonement for
your sin” (v. 30). The word atonement is kaphar, “to cover.”
3. Confess the awfulness of their sin. “This people have committed a terrible
sin” (Jewish Bible).
4. Be willing to sacrifice yourself for them. “Yet now if thou wilt forgive their
sin – if not blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book” (v. 32).
Sin Is Personal
God holds each one accountable. “I will blot out whoever has sinned
against me” (v. 33, LB).
Individual responsibility. “Your sin is your own” (Ez. 18:24, ELT).
Individual accountability. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”
Family influence. “Our fathers have sinned . . . we have borne their
iniquities” (Lam. 5:7).
Sin will be judged.
C. SINS ARE FORGIVEN BUT THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES
1. The record in heaven is clear, but there are consequences on earth.
a. A criminal dies for murder.
b. Children suffer a parent’s drug addiction.
c. Employees lose their job when boss is bankrupted.
d. The results of failures, i.e., uncontrolled consequences.
2. You lose God’s special presence. “I will not go up with you” (33:3, LB).
3. You live with God’s second best. “I will send an angel before thee” (32:34;
4. God doesn’t want to live with rebellious people. “Thou art a stiff necked
5. God’s atmospheric presence is lost. “Moses took the Tabernacle and pitched
it without the camp, afar off” (33:7).
6. God doesn’t want to identify His name with rebellious people. No longer
called “The Tabernacle of the Lord,” but “The Tabernacle of the
congregation.” It was known as their tent, not a sanctuary, i.e., where God
7. Backsliders have a harder time finding God. “Everyone who sought the
Lord went out” (33:7).
8. Backsliders need someone to intercede for them. “When Moses went out to
the tent, all the people stood in their tent door” (33:8).
9. Being sorry and crying was not enough. “They went into mourning”(32:4)
How Backsliders Come Home – 1 John 1:7-10
Realize you are not perfect. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves” (v. 8).
See your sin as God sees it – horrible. “If we confess” (v. 9).
Ask for His mercy. “He is faithful” (v. 9).