Summary: One of the sad truths is that we Christians will sin. No matter how diligently we devote ourselves to practicing righteousness, we are going to miss the mark and sin. When we realize that we have disobeyed God, in some fashion, what should be our response
The Apostle John proclaims an unfortunate truth, in 1 John 1:8, 10, when he says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
One of the sad truths is that we Christians will sin. No matter how diligently we devote ourselves to practicing righteousness and striving to perfect holiness in our lives, we are - from time to time - going to miss the mark and sin. Ocassionally, we are going to disobey God’s commandments and sin. Anyone who should deny this, says John, is just deceiving themselves and they make God a liar.
Today, I want to spend some time with you to explore what we ought to do when we do sin. When we realize that we have disobeyed God, in some fashion, what should be our response? I want us to consult the Scriptures, today, to answer that important question.
The Word of God basically tells us that we have two options in responding to sin in our lives.
We find those two options in Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
Wise old Solomon says that our two options are ‘concealing’ and ‘confessing’.
The ‘concealing’ option is when we choose not to acknowledge our transgression or sin to God and we go about our life as if nothing happened.
The ‘confessing’ option is when we choose to acknowledge our transgression or sin to God, ask for forgiveness and seek the grace needed to change.
Solomon says that those who choose the ‘concealment’ option “will not prosper.”
Those who choose the ‘confession’ option “will find compassion.” Let us look further at the consequences of these two options.
Consequences of Concealing our Transgressions.
We need to understand that the ‘concealment’ option is pure folly. The truth is that we can never ‘conceal’ or hide our sin from God. In Jeremiah 2:22, we read "‘Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me,’ declares the Lord God.” There simply isn’t any manner that we can truly ‘conceal’ our sin.
The first consequence of ‘concealing’ our transgressions or sin is that it creates a barrier between us and our God.
Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you.”
The separation that is created is not based upon God being angry as much as it is based upon the fact that our Holy God cannot casually fellowship with sin. 1 John 1:5-6, “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
If we sin and casually go about our lives, with an attitude of indifference, our relationship with God is damaged or broken. The sin that we have attempted to ‘conceal’ produces a wall between ourselves and God. We are not showing a true desire for closeness.
Whereas, we may not show much of a desire for closeness, God does desire that bond. He built us in such a fashion that ‘concealed’ sin would vex us. He gave us a conscience that can be burdened by guilt.
Guilt is a second consequence of our choosing the ‘concealment’ option.
We know today that guilt can have a devastating effect upon our mental and emotional state. It often leads to anxiety and depression. And, experts now know that anxiety and depression can cause physical problems in our bodies - fatigue, headaches and body aches, heart arythmia, high blood pressure, digestive problems, etc.
David experienced guilt-induced anxiety and depression when he tried to ‘conceal’ his sin from God. Not only did he feel the emotional and mental misery, but he experienced the physical effects as well:
Psalm 32:3-4, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.”
Psalm 38:3-8, 17-18, “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester. Because of my folly, I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning; And there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart…For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”