God will forgive our sins even if they are big and great. But there is only one requirement: we must confess and repent (turn away) from these wrongdoings.
It is the equivalent to – ‘Go (and from now on) sin no more.’
Consider the stories of David and Uriah and that of Paul and Stephen. Will these men have awkward conversations?
There was a man named Uriah who was numbered among King David’s thirty mightiest warriors and earned himself a mention in 1 Chron 11:41. He was a Hittite, a non-Jew, and the husband of Bathsheba.
But David fell into sin one evening when he caught sight of Bathsheba taking a bath. He took Bathsheba into his palace and slept with her, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. When David discovered that, he went out to try and hide his sin; he recalled Uriah back from the frontline, hoping that Uriah would entertain sex with his wife.
Instead Uriah chose to sleep at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard, explaining that it was not possible to go home when his fellow warriors were at war and were camping in the open fields.
On his return to his duties at the frontline, David asked Uriah to deliver a letter to Joab, the frontline general. In it, David laid out Uriah’s death sentence, asking Joab to place Uriah right at the very front of the battle. As a result, Uriah was killed.
David thought he was smart and had hidden his crime from men. But the Lord knew and sent Nathan the prophet to pronounce judgement on David. David’s response, on Nathan’s rebuke, was an immediate confession – ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And it was from there that one of the greatest Psalms, Psalm 51, was penned out by David.
What did David do? He committed adultery, and then murder. He lied and schemed. You could say David was evil.
But when David was brought to task by Nathan, he did not rationalize and offer excuses; he was unlike his predecessor, Saul. Instead, he confessed and sought God; he repented. We would probably have rejected David; after all, is not murder a most serious and possibly an unforgivable offence since it involved someone else’s life? Yet, God called him ‘a man after God’s heart’ (Acts 13:22), a compliment that is at the pinnacle of being a believer.
Here is the key:
If God can forgive a ‘great’ sinner like David, could God not forgive any of our sins, big or great? What is the secret to David earning such a tribute from God? Is it not because of David’s immediate repentance when shown his sins? Is it not his contrite heart as found in Psalm 51:4 when he said, ‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.’ and when he repeated what he knew God wanted, ‘a broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise’ (Ps 51:17).
And what about the story of Paul. We know him as the Apostle of the Gentiles (non-Jews). He wrote thirteen books in the New Testament so much so that these are called the Pauline Epistles, because they begin with the name Paul as the first word.
But Paul was far from being a goodie-goodie do gooder; he was a murderer and even if he was not the one that cast the stone at Stephen, he definitely did approve of it. When Stephen was martyred in Jerusalem, the witnesses were laying down ‘their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul (who later became Paul).’ (Acts 7:58). Paul called himself the ‘chief of sinners’ (1 Tim 1:15).
Both David and Uriah as well as Paul and Stephen will have awkward conversations in heaven. However, because of the confession of David and the blood of Jesus, both David and Paul would have been forgiven for these heinous crimes.
We have taken out time to highlight sins. You may have reflected on this section and realized that you have done some terrible sins. For example, you might have aborted several babies and now are convinced that abortion may be equated with ‘murder’. Regardless, the God of the Bible is also the one that forgives as long as we confess our sins to him. Here is the promise found in 1 John 1:9:
‘If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.’
And again in Acts 3:19:
‘Now, repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.’
Finally, it is the theme of this sin as from John 8:11:
‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’
‘O Lord, I ask you to forgive me of my sins. Against you, you only, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight. I repent of them and will henceforth live for you. Holy Spirit, guide me in my daily walk with you. Cause me to be bold for the Gospel and not sin against you. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you have wronged someone, now is the time to ask forgiveness from that person(s). Repentance also requires us to not repeat that sin. But if you do, remember, we can always return to God and seek forgiveness again. God promises to forgive us each time we repent (Matt 18:22).