Summary: No matter how grievous our sin is, if we truly repent, we shall be forgiven because our Lord Jesus Christ shed his blood for our salvation.

Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon delivered on August 3, 2003

by Lay Speaker, Kas Salawu

The Sincere Sinner

based on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13 and Psalm 51:1-12

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” [1] Like Tolstoy’s characters, King David and his sons dramatized infidelity and vengeance and incurred God’s wrath. David & Sons forfeited abundant blessings but were forgiven.

Before he caught a glimpse of Bathsheba [2] bathing and before he consummated his lust for her and impregnated her, King David was a righteous man who always served God. David, who but by the grace of God was an unlikely successor to King Saul, tried to cover up his fornication by recalling her husband, Uriah, from the battlefield so that he may also visit with her. When David’s nefarious scheme failed [3] , David ordered that Uriah be placed at the hottest point of battle where he inevitably met a quick death.

Whereas David, attempting to avoid shame and perhaps reprisal, tried to conceal his sin from man, he could not hide it from God, as confirmed by Nathan’s confrontation. Nathan was a courageous prophet who risked the ire of David and the arrogance of power that today would discredit, if not kill, the messenger if his message is not flattering [4]. Nathan’s powerful parable [5] so scandalized David that David unwittingly pronounced harsh judgment on himself [6]. Having succeeded in stirring David’s conscience, the analogy culminated in Nathan’s bold, unequivocal accusation, “You are the man!”

Sometimes, we need to see someone else’s evil acts before we recognize our own. In sinning, we put our selfish desires before God and our covetous hearts show ingratitude to God for His blessings; Nathan advised David that he betrayed all God’s blessings [7].

God did not play favorites and forgive David his sins of adultery and murder. In fact, due to his sins, he experienced not only loss of existing blessings but he also forfeited potential blessings as well. Though God, in His mercy, spared David the death penalty, his punishment was still very severe. It included the death of the first child, a son, who Bathsheba bore for him, fratricide within his family as well as in-your-face adultery.

One of his sons, Absalom, staged a revolt or palace coup and violated David’s harem in full view of all present. Due to David’s complicity in Uriah’s death, the sword decimated his house sending his sons, Amnon, Adonijah and renegade Absalom to violent deaths thereby punishing children for the iniquity of parents as foreshadowed in Exodus 20:5.

For us, David’s repentance is far more important than the sensational gossip that present-day National Enquirer and People magazines would have gloated over. David himself recorded his transparently honest prayer for cleansing and pardon in Psalm 51 [8]. The overarching message of this song of lament over grievous sin is that anyone who admits guilt, shows a broken spirit and a contrite heart would be forgiven and restored.

However, forgiveness is not earned but granted through God’s compassion. Confession, which requires taking full responsibility for ones sin, must be unequivocal. Psalm 51:4 may seem not to acknowledge having sinned against Uriah [9] and the next verse reflects more an unprecedented depth of guilt rather than an already sinful newborn [10].

God is neither angered that we ride the cycle of sin, atonement, forgiveness and salvation continuously [11] nor impatient with the repetition of the process of cleansing during which the stains of our sins are removed and we become examples for others to follow [12].

Prayer: Almighty God, we pray that you give us the same courage, humility and honest lament You gave David, so that we may confess our sins without reservations and seek atonement with remorse, reminded, as Christians, that removal of sin comes through faith that our Lord Jesus Christ shed his blood for our salvation, Amen.

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