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Sin Forgiven, Sin Forsaken

Michael Beck Michael Beck

David’s sin was ever before him. The memory of the horror he was involved in plagued his mind. He cried out: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

Hyssop is a plant that was used to sprinkle animal’s blood on a leper for their cleansing and readmission into the house of God. But it was not David’s body that was leprous; it was his conscience. The consciousness of what he had done so revolted him that he felt a million miles away from God. Surely with tears the former friend of God begged: “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11)

What should be our response to such amazing grace? Continuation in sin? No.

David’s full restoration did not come until a greater and more perfect sacrifice had been made. We read:

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13,14)

What can wash away our sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! God’s goodness, mercy, and graciousness toward men is great. Oh that He would forgive us of our past transgressions, however shameful they may be. Oh that He would receive us back into His fellowship and friendship, even after we have treated Him so meanly. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4).

There is no need to return to the vomit. We can maintain a good conscience before God.

What should be our response to such amazing grace? Continuation in sin? No. We have been given a great salvation, that has not only provided deliverance from the horrible guilt of sin, but from its terrible and tenacious grip. David could not, but we CAN “go and sin no more.”

There is no need to return to the vomit. We can maintain a good conscience before God. But if we would not be plagued anymore with the memory of sin we must be obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit before sin is committed. If we are in Christ, truth is in our inward parts and in the hidden part God has made us to know wisdom. This wisdom is the fear of the Lord that He has put within us (Jer. 32:40,) causing us to hate and depart from evil (Job 28:28; Ps. 11:10; Prov. 3:7; 14:27; 16:6).

To be forgiven of sin is wonderful. To be kept from it is even better.

The day he walked on his palace rooftop, the fear of God was not before David’s eyes. What he allowed to capture his sight and fill his mind would soon become a curse to him. God has given us a new and better covenant so we can do better than David did. If we will walk in the fear of God we will have no memory of any shameful involvement with any “Bathsheba” or “Uriah.” Sometimes the most blessed memory is no memory. To be forgiven of sin is wonderful. To be kept from it is even better.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.