Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"To Tell the Truth": Sin isn't a game show

Have you ever done anything so wrong that you believed you were too evil to be forgiven? Have you done the incorrigible, thinking you would get by with whatever it was and others knew the real you?  Most of us believe that we're pretty good people. Our sins are small and we're not judged by others to be an awful person. I submit that even if our sins are small, without repentance, we are guilty.

From 1956 to 1968 there was a game show called "To Tell the Truth". The show had stars who guessed whose identity was true among the four panelists and who were the three impostors.  Each of the four had a very real story to tell and as each told their accomplishment, the panel of stars tried to figure out who was lying and who was not. The television audience guessed right along withe the stars. The imposters told their lies so real and most were very convincing!

Some live their lives just like the imposters on "To Tell the Truth". One of those who did just that was King David!

2 Samuel 12:7 "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon."

David was the imposter. Although if he had been on "To Tell the Truth"  his identity would be the "real David", but that person is not who everybody thought it was! If the moderator had described David as the "man after God's own heart" and a great leader and true friend to Jonathan, Nathan would have selected another person... if it had not been for one thing.  Nathan was inspired by God! He saw right through David's charade and identified the true David. At the same time David quit rationalizing (we call it justifying) his sin. He actually sentenced himself!

After realizing how sinful he really was David repented. Later the story of David tells of the many consequences of his actions although God did forgive him!

No sin is too bad for God to forgive! God seems to select "real people" to be his emissaries. Similar to Paul of the New Testament who was a killer and persecutor, David in the Old Testament was a killer and an adulter. God seems to use "crooked sticks" to carry the gospel. David and Paul were at one time as crooked as sticks could be!

We all have sins which are need of repentance. There is nothing that God cannot forgive!  All we have to do is repent and the first half of repentance is sorrow! Sorrow that we disappoint God. Here's David's repentance after he felt sorrow for what he did to Uriah and Bathsheba:

Psalm 51;

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips;
and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it:
thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
with burnt offering and whole burnt offering:
then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Contriteness is the key to restoration. Without contrition repentance is futile! Contrition is feeling regret and sorrow for whatever it is that you've done wrong.  We often regret doing a sin, especially if we're caught, but regret must be coupled with sorrow! We must be truly sorry for what we did! If some pleasure was the sin, we don't deny that we had pleasure. We submit that what we did was wrong and are sorry that we disobeyed God. We did wrong in God's eyes although we knew it in advance. We chose rebellion!
True sorrow is to the extent that we no longer want to sin that sin again!  If we're sorry for what we've done, we should  not be looking forward to having that same pleasure again. If we think that way we're playing games with God. "To Tell the Truth" on God's stage is a confession with grit. God wants submission and odedience, not rationalization and false confessions! He wants a contrite heart.

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