2 Samuel 11-12: “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”
There are still consequences of forgiven sin. I was speaking with a man that had come to the Lord some time back, and I could tell that something was weighing upon him. I wanted to ask him about it, but in a way that gave him the options to address it or not. So, I asked him what was going on in his life. I watched a range of emotions run over his face that went from frustration to regret. He took a deep breath and said, I’m paying for past sins. I didn’t say anything as I wanted him to continue on his own accord.
I could tell he was searching for the right words, but finally explained he had some things in his past that while God had forgiven him, there are still consequences to the sin itself. I won’t go into those details, but we spent the next 30 minutes talking about that topic.
As you can see in our scripture focus, David had committed a sin, and while God has forgiven that sin, there was still a consequence of his actions. The baby David conceived with Bathsheba was going to die.
As John Piper puts it, “But the aim of God-sent consequences of forgiven sin is not to settle accounts demanded by retributive justice. The aim of the God-sent consequences of forgiven sin is (1) to demonstrate the exceeding evil of sin, (2) to show that God does not take sin lightly even when he lays aside his punishment, (3) to humble and sanctify the forgiven sinner.”
Hebrews 12:6 tells us… “the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
While we are not picking on David, there are many examples in the Bible consequences of forgiven sin.
- Adam and Eve banned from Eden instead of being killed once they disobeyed God
- Moses was forced to leave Egypt after killing that man
- Moses was not allowed into the promised land after striking the rock twice
- The great fish swallowed Jonah
- The tiny city of AI defeated the Israelites due to someone stealing in the camp
I believe the lesson my friend and I came to was that while we ALL have a sinful past, we have to learn from that past. There may still have consequences from that past as God forgives, but people may not forget.
You see my friend’s past surfaced while applying for a job opportunity and this was not the first time it has happened. I’m sure it’s frustrating to feel like you cannot escape your past no matter how much time has past or how much you have changed.
Take heart that we can enjoy the Grace of God and the forgiveness of our sins while we may be paying for the consequences of forgiven sin.
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