Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


Dealing With Our Sin Guilt


  David had placed his sexual fancies and desires before God. He had set aside the holy things of God, bowed before the idol of sexual pleasure, coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery, lied in his attempt to cover up his behavior and committed murder, killing one of his most faithful soldiers.


  Nathan confronted David with his sin saying: "you are the man, you are the guilty one" David's heart is touched, broken; repentance and forgiveness flood his thoughts. We believe Psalm 51 was written as an expression of David's guilt and desire to be forgiven:


"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sinis always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  This is David’s declaration of dependence upon God for peace of mind that's possible when we are willing to: Admit our fault, Name our sin. Claim ownership of our behavior regardless of how ugly it might have been; asking forgiveness, while pledging repentance as a future behavior. Church, this is God's formula for forgiveness, release of guilt, for the peace of mind that we seek in His forgiveness.


  True story... Taylor Gates was a healthy 16 year-old Colorado football player. Taylor died a few years ago of a rare form of the Bubonic Plague called Septicemia. He showed symptoms after a football game, but his parents thought he was just worn-out from over-exertion. Later thinking he had the flu. The CDC was baffled as to the source of the disease. The sad thing in this story is that Septicemia is curable with proper treatment of antibiotics, if given within twenty-four hours of the first symptoms. But no one knew what they were dealing with. Septicemia is 100% fatal if not treated. If there's anything worse than having a disease and not knowing it; it's having a disease while choosing not to treat it. Sin is such a disease. David knew his sin, and was seeking treatment. What can we learn that will help us in our sin failures?


  Know that God wants to forgive. Listen to David; he throws himself upon the love, mercy and grace of God:

• "Have mercy on me O God"…

• "Blot out my transgressions"…

• "Wash away all my iniquity"…

• "Cleanse me from sin"…

• "Cleanse me with Hyssop."


  David was confident that God could and would help him, forgive him, restore the peace of their relationship. Are we so confident? Listen to Isaiah 1.18: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” This was God’s message to a people who are burdened with the guilt of sin.


  Know that we must name and take responsibility for our sin. David exhibits a spiritual self-awareness: "My sin is ever before me.” If we read David’s life carefully, we find that for almost a year, he stews in his sin guilt: Trying to deny it. Hide it. Lie about it. Then when Nathan shows up and says "David you are the man, the guilty one, admit your sin, come clean; And David does! David does!! I want you to note that thirty-two times in this Psalm, David says: I, me, my, mine in a tone of ownership and confession of his behavior. Ironically enough, David also speaks of God, the Lord, thirty-two times. David is saying: I know what I’ve done. I acknowledge my sin. I also know what God does, He forgives. Brings to mind 1 John 1.9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


  Know that no sin is bigger than God's forgiveness. God is ready to forgive all our sin, regardless of its ugliness, how scarlet, how crimson. David had committed all the biggies: Adultery, Lying, Murder. The good news for us is that there is no sin too bad, too ugly that God is unwilling to forgive regardless of how many times we've visited that behavior. Indeed, God loves us and is patient with us. Peter tells us, "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."


  Then, David sees his salvation. David desires forgiveness, total absolution, total freedom from guilt, absolute restoration. Listen to him: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Grant me a willing spirit. Sustain me." David had been carrying this sin guilt much too long and wanted out from under this terrible burden. Sin guilt is a burden.


  We stumble and fall, we will suffer with sin's disease. But God has provided a healing remedy, a way to rid ourselves of guilt's burden. Thank You Lord!!