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Lawless Deeds Forgiven

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Sermon #421

“Lawless Deeds Forgiven”

2 Samuel 11

David’s Sin

A good man gone bad.

            He had been king at this point for twenty years and was about fifty years old.  He had defeated goliath, outlasted Saul, led the nation in worship, written many of the psalms, and generally shown himself to be a hero and a godly man. 

The lead up to a fall

             If I am indeed going to talk about the forgiveness part, this first part should be omitted.

Overconfidence

2 Sam 5:12      

            It is sometimes hardest to resist temptation when everything is going well.

More wives

            2 Sam 5:13

            Deut 17:14-17 specifically says not to..

Should have been out on the battlefield?

2 Sam 11:1

Bathsheba’s bathing habits

            What was she doing taking a bath in sight of the palace?  She certainly must know that anyone there (David wasn’t the only one living there) could have seen her.

            So, maybe David wasn’t the only one at fault here. 

The sin

Sends for Bathsheba

Tries to trick Uriah

Murders Uriah

Forgiveness

            Well, all of that sounds pretty bad.  How do you think the story should end?  If you were in God’s place, what would you do with David, this shepherd boy that you made king?  One might reasonably think that David would at least be counted as an evil king during his earthly reign.  If he asked for forgiveness, would you grant it?  Would you attach any conditions to it?  Would he have to do something or endure some special hardship before you could fully forgive him?

Forgiveness given not earned

Romans 4:4-8

4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

            A thousand years later, the apostle Paul uses this situation to illustrate how God works.

            Here in Romans, Paul is trying to explain God’s plan for us.

(Verse 6)

            Here we have a quote from David from Psalm 32 where he talks about the guilt he felt day and night because of his sin, but how God forgave him.  The reason he was forgiven was not that he did some mighty deed to make up for his wrong.  How do you make up for murder and adultery anyhow?

(Verse 7)

            Lawless deeds: The NKJV: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;”

            Translated ‘evil or wickedness’ in other passages this word literally means ‘against the law’.  What law?  Our laws are set by judges and parliament members, and they change with the times, for a hundred and thirty odd years marriage has legally been defined as the union of a man and a woman in Manitoba, and last week that was changed.  In this case it was a local judge who decided to change it, in accordance with trends in the country.  SO what law is referred to here?  Obviously it is God’s law.  God’s understanding of right and wrong.  We get glimpses of what this means in the Bible. 

            Speaking to a group of new Christians God spoke through Paul and said:

Colossians 1:21-22

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

            What could ‘alienate’ us from God?  The lawless part of our lives.  Sometimes we know we are breaking His laws, sometimes we don’t.  But how many were under this sentence of being ‘alienated’?  Only the really bad ones?  Only those who had done special sins?  No, the ‘you’ refers to all of them before they met Jesus.  All of them, even those who seemed good were considered alienated and even ‘enemies’ of God. 

            Why?  Who judges this?  So many times when I have told this ‘gospel’, this description of God’s plan for us, the person listening objects that they are really not such a bad person, and so would not fall into the ‘enemy of God’ category.  ‘I’m bad, but more of a Billy Baldwin bad.  An outside bad but inside good thing.’  Yet God is the one who decides what the law is, and it is a lot stricter than we would usually be comfortable with:

Romans 3:10-12

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

            OK, well that pretty much includes everyone. 

There is a bridge to be crossed

            And now, again, when I explain this to someone who has not studied it before, they might acknowledge that all of us sin and so alienate ourselves from God, but that their own good deeds make up for that.  Living a good life, being a moral person, and trying hard. 

            Surely we are not stuck in this position, are we?  If this was where it ended church would be an unhappy place where people tell you that you are most likely doomed unless you perform some super-human effort. 

            Yet look at David as an example.  Remember where we left Him.  What effort could he make to make-up for his evil?  Yet in the end God forgave him and even thought of him as one of Israel’s most righteous kings.  Why the change of heart?  Because God’s forgiveness comes as more of a wholesale change rather than a gradual making up for wrongs.  A movement from God considering us to be in the kingdom of darkness (as he calls it) to the kingdom of light. 

            This sudden shift from being on the outs with God, an enemy, alienated, to being forgiven and on his side is referred to in numerous ways in the NT.  Maybe the most well-known is Jesus’ own definition:

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

How to cross the bridge

Not merely a nice feeling towards God and .

            “I am very much in favour of religion and going to church.  I feel that this is the right thing to do, the moral thing.

 

Believing in Jesus

John 11:22-27

22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

            If this isn’t too simple a definition.  Crossing the bridge includes happens when someone puts their faith in Jesus Christ, and starts a relationship with Him.  In the beginning of the gospel of John, the apostle gives a bit of a summary of the meaning behind the life and mission of Jesus:

John 1:10-13

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The signs that you have made that step

The fact that one can know

            “Well, one can never know, you just have to keep trying your best.”

            Do you know who your friends are? 

The filling of the Spirit

            That being born again isn’t just our own thing, our own decision, but is also a God thing.  That once we cross that bridge something happens to us.  Something beyond our control

Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

That if nothing appears to have happened, we should question whether we have indeed crossed the bridge.

            The book of first John tells us that one of these signs that the spiri indwells us is that we will love others who follow Jesus. 

1 John 2:9-10

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.
10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.

The proper place of good works, and trying hard

Titus 2:13-14

13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

            That there is a place for those good deeds.  That in fact he does desire this and that we would become a people who are known for purity

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