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Wednesday: Something New — 54 Comments

  1. King David and Bathsheba turned up on our church patch a number of years ago. They had done a runner on their families, moved interstate and had become an item. Here they were sitting quietly in our church. It did not take long for the grapevine to get their story to the local church and there was the usual little knowing looks as whispered conversations vied for one another to be the first to know and spread the information. As circumstances stood, we developed a friendship with King David and Bathsheba and discovered two very lonely people. They came to our house and shared our food and company.

    There was no doubt that the King David and Bathsheba had done something terribly wrong. Broken families were left behind, reputations destroyed. But at the end of the day, using my illustration from yesterday, the block of wood had been cut and there was no way in the world that it could be uncut. If God can forgive the Biblical King David, how then should we treat the King David's of the modern world.

    I would love to end the story by saying that I worked with the Holy Spirit, convinced them of their sin, and they went back to their respective families mended the relationships and they lived happily ever after. Clearly that did not happen. I became their friend in a far country and we supported them with love as they made their new beginning. The consequences of their actions were something they had to bear and the least we could do was to be there for them and offer them a place of rest.

    I mention this because sometimes in the heat of anger over broken relationships we disenfranchise folk with our raw condemnation. Too many people leave the church over broken relationships because they see condemnation without compassion. If God could forgive King David for adultery and murder, what message does that send to us? We do not have to condone what they have done, but rather offer compassion in their hour of need.

    I am under no illusion that providing compassion in these circumstances is easy. The King David and Bathsheba in my story has been repeated multiple times within my horizon of influence and I have an inkling of the raw emotion that is involved. It is a situation where tough love is required.

    When Jesus quoted Isaiah:

    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18 KJV

    ... he was speaking about himself and his mission. But, he was also passing that mission on to us. How do we show compassion to those who feel disenfranchised by the Church?

    • Maurice- you asked ‘how do we show compassion to those who feel disenfranchised by the church’?

      I asked;
      1. hope we are not a part of the click in the church? Those people always have the last say and rule the Pastor.
      2. If not, hope we are the out spoken ones who speak against injustice?
      3. Many don’t do 1 neither 2 so we are as guilty as if we are doing wrong. Anyone who stays silent when injustice is being done to others are an accomplice.
      Many at times say all I want is peace. How can peace be present where injustice rules?
      I have nothing to lose or gain.

  2. In-the-moment, when David was blindly running with his subconscious impluse for sexual excitement, his conscious was disengaged. In words that Ellen White uses to describe such a situation, his "passion had dethroned (his) reason". And when our conscious is disengaged, we are also spiritually disconnected (from our side, not from God's side).

    Consequently, in that moment David, riding the wave of impulse, did not stop to consider that the illusionary 'promise' of sexual ecstasy would come at the cost of loss of a far greater and more real intimacy with God. It is this intimacy with God that we were created for - the 'God-shaped hole' - and it is the true foundation to all other genuine intimacy experiences.

    The sanctuary (tabernacle/temple) was a symbol of the experience of dwelling - of God dwelling with His people/creation and of dwelling 'in the midst' or at the very core. But this was a two-way dwelling - God with (and within) His creation and His creation with their God. This dwelling was meant to be the deepest possible form of intimacy and is described by Jesus in John 17:21. This is why God created humanity - why He desired/desires each human.

    When David indulged his lust-based impulse, his heart was motivated by self-seeking and as such was out of harmony with the kind of heart that is absolutely vitally essential for abundant life. David was essentially blind to this 'in-the-moment' - something I'm sure we can all relate to when we reflect upon the experience of being caught-up in the moment of temptation indulgence (as per Romans 7:15,17).

    However, afterwards - as is typically the case - David 'blindness' gives way to crystal-clear 20/20 hindsight as he becomes aware that the 'promise' of fulfillment was at best temporary and that there is now a 'price' being paid for taking himself out of harmony with abundant life. And in that space he now becomes clear as to what it is he is ultimately seeking. The promise of momentary sexual 'pleasure' now is placed into perspective - it wasn't what he wanted after all because it can't actually fulfill. Instead it leaves an even greater emptiness and restlessness.

    And in that emptiness David realises how much he misses and desires to be restored to the intimacy of oneness with God - where the two shall become one (Genesis 2:24 principle reflected in wider application in John 17:21). This is the renewal David desires: not to merely be back in the sanctuary, but to be back in sanctuary with God.

    But how is this renewal going to be possible?

    Will punishment of David bring about this renewal? Will it restore David's heart back into harmony with self-renouncing once again?

    Will someone else stepping in as a substitute to accept David's punishment restore his heart back into harmony?

    Or will restoration back into harmony require something that has nothing to do with punishment - but that has everything to do with actively participating in a restoration process that God will undertake for any and all who are willing? A restoration process that comes at great personal cost to God/Jesus - at great personal sacrifice? Could it be that the process of renewal is a process of sacrifice on the part of all parties concerned rather than of punishment? Sacrifice by God/Jesus in terms of what Jesus gave up (Philippians 2:5-7), what He instead took on (Philippians 2:8; Isaiah 53:12) and consequently opened Himself up to (Isaiah 53:3,5,8)? And sacrifice of each human in terms of having to put to death each unholy impulse that arises (Matthew 16:24; Galatians 5:24,25)?

    Could it be that the sanctuary rituals were each and all designed to give us insight into 'principles' and 'processes' of that renewal reality that went way beyond the rituals themselves - so far beyond that the rituals themselves don't actually literally represent the actual realities they are trying to open our awareness to (Hebrews 10:1-7)?

    • Hey Phil it's been a minute since I've seen you post. Have missed reading what you alway bring to the table. I wonder if David's response as read in Psalms 51 is because David being a student to the sanctuary understood the reward of the wicked. Psalms 73:17. This understanding caused him to 180 and run as fast as he possibly could, back to the safety of God instead of self.

      • Hi Myron (I hope that is your first name, but if I'm wrong, please let me know for future reference).

        Good thought...

        David had his slip-ups - including his massive ones. But beyond these, he had also spent a lot of time reflecting on God and reality - including the reality of righteousness/'law'-abiding and abundant life and the reality of wickedness/lawlessness and perishing. From reviewing the Psalms, it is apparent that David knew from personal experience and from much reflection/meditation what it was like to be within God's presence - and also from personal experience what it was like to erect a 'sin-barrier' between himself and God's presence.

        So yes, I suspect what you suggested was one of his reflection/meditation awarenesses that also aligned with his personal experience. He knew the two options (life or perishing) were 180 degrees apart.

    • Regarding punishment: sin brings its own punishment, as we all know too well. The punishment from God is only for the unrepentant, either to save others from their uncontrolled evil actions, or in the end, to bring sin to a final close and restore the peace, after sinners acknowledge God's justice in doing so.

      Isn't it interesting that the first "thou shalt not" came with a warning of punishment? This warning was not given as a threat, but as a warning of the inescapable consequences under a Just and Holy Sovereign who will provide peace for His faithful subjects. Rebellion has been planted in what was a "very good" creation, because "very good" includes free will. But, until sin's final eradication, peace cannot reign.

      God did not originate sin, but He will end it, and restore the perfect peace as promised. But not before offering pardon and restoration to "whosoever" will receive it. Those who are finally punished will have refused pardon and restoration, choosing rather to rebel against the "good, acceptable, and perfect will"(Rom 12:2, Ps 40:8) of the Just and Holy Sovereign.

      In the end, "the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace"(Ps 37:11).

      • Robert,

        If “sin brings its own punishment, as we all know too well”, why then the need for additional “punishment from God”? Is it because you believe that somehow the punishment that is inherent to sin (ie, ultimately death eg, Genesis 2:17; Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:14,15; Romans 6:23) doesn’t go far enough?

        • The inevitable punishment sin brings in this life is seen in the lives of those who are victims. Maurice spoke of the broken homes and ruined reputations. Uriah was dead. The innocent child died. David himself was no longer the stalwart of righteousness and justice, and look at the effect it had on his family for generations.

          The final punishment/reward/wages must be from God who alone can end the life of the soul only He could create. If not banned from the tree of life, Adam and Eve would have been immortal sinners(Gen 3:22-24). Doesn't this expose the notion of sinners destroying themselves, unless they purpose to do so? Sure, the smoker will prematurely die, but this is death of the body, and not the death of the soul.

          Scripture is unequivocal on this matter, and God has made a promise to eradicate sin forever. This is not done out of anger(as we often experience anger) or being vengeful or vindictive(as we understand it), but as a loving Sovereign who provides for His obedient creatures.

          I wonder how you are interpreting Gen 2:17(as well as the other passages you referenced) Phil. Is God saying they will die from poisoned fruit, or some calamity He has nothing to do with, or is He saying He must execute justice upon their rebellion? To me it is clear that God was speaking of His action against rebels that will take place at the appointed time, spoken of by prophets, apostles, and even demons(Ps 37:9,38, Dan 2:35, Matt 8:29; 10:28, Acts 17:31, Heb 10:26-31, Rev 20:9). If not for the Lamb of God, Adam and Eve would have died(2nd death) that day, and not from self-destruction, or why would God need to ban them from the tree of life so they would not live forever as sinners? Also, the natural death from being mortal is not that death as Jesus points out(John 11:26), since all who have believed will rest in the grave until He comes, except for the Remnant.

          Regarding Romans 6:23, from Strongs: "3800 (opsōnion) is used figuratively for the eternal compensation (divine recompense) of the unrighteous, in keeping with their earthly deeds (Ro 6:23)." See also Rev 22:12.

          I believe the teaching that God does not "cut off"/destroy sin and sinners in the end brings reproach upon the Truth of God's Word and upon Sovereign God Himself.

          • Here's the way I see it:

            While, it is true that sin generally has negative results in this life, that is not "inevitable." Sinners often prosper while the righteous suffer - as David lamented in his psalms.

            But I'm curious, Robert, whether you believe that the power of eternal life rests in a literal tree rather than in connection with the Creator and LifeGiver. (See Acts 17:25, Heb. 1:3)

            If eternal life results from anything other than a faith connection with the Creator, it seems to me that there is a separate competing power in a tree!

            You suggest that in Gen 2:17 God is "saying He must execute justice upon their rebellion." None of the Bible versions I have say that. My Bible states the simple fact that the day they eat thereof they will surely die. And my conclusion is that that would have happened just as God said, if Christ had not stepped into the gap as Redeemer and thus extended probationary existence to the pair. Some of the other texts you cite are likeways subject to interpretations other than your own.

            If what the Bible says in Acts 17:25 and Heb. 1:3 (and many other passages referencing God's creative power) is true, then all existence - both animate and inanimate is dependent on God's continual exercise of His creative and upholding power. The natural corollary to this is that separation from God equals annihilation.

            However, in the interest of demonstrating His justice, God has granted probationary life to all humanity so that the principles of Satan's government, based on self-interest, would be demonstrated in stark contrast to the principles of God's government, based on self-sacrificing love.

            Because God extends probationary life, He is also responsible for ending that probationary life, but that does not nullify the basic fact of all sentient life being dependent on a life-saving faith connection with the Creator and Sustainer of all.

            For the record, I believe that God has reserved for Himself the choice of the timing and manner of the final annihilation of the wicked, and that is described in Rev. 22:12. But that does not nullify the self-evident fact that God does not need to kill people in order to end their existence. They would self-destruct if He were to stop exercising His power to keep them alive. (I also suspect that momentary annihilation is precisely what will happen to many at the final annihilation event. There will be many who have suffered more than enough in this life but cannot be saved because of their severely defective character. That would include many slaves, among others. I cannot cite Bible texts, but I rest my belief on the revelation of God's character of love throughout Scripture.)

            I believe that denial of the concept that all life and all matter is dependent on God's continually exercised power is a denial of God's sovereign power and authority and His role as Creator. And that amounts to denial of a fundamental truth upon which all of Scripture rests.

            That's the way I see it.

            • Inge, you wrote: I'm curious, Robert, whether you believe that the power of eternal life rests in a literal tree rather than in connection with the Creator and LifeGiver.

              First, how is this answered in Gen 3:22-24?

              Second, they were banned because of the disconnect from the Creator as pointed out in this passage. The physical tree is part of God's life-giving power. Why? You'll need to ask Him. The verses cited above make this clear don't they? Or is God simply making a point with something not really true? God is just and TRUE(Rev 15:3), so I don't see deception or anything other than this being truth concerning the power of that tree from our perspective. Yes, the power comes from God, but evidently through the tree.

              It is any different today? If you eat nothing, how long will you live? If you eat unhealthy things, how long will you live compared to eating healthy things? With God, anything is possible, and He has chosen to give us eternal life through a tree. I love eating good things and look forward to partaking of the fruit from that tree!

          • Hi Robert

            You asked: "I wonder how you are interpreting Gen 2:17(as well as the other passages you referenced) Phil."

            I find that there essentially are two things necessary for life of sentient beings to be possible:

            1) Ongoing connection with God who ongoingly (eg, Acts 17:11; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16,17) provides the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).

            2) Ongoing harmony with the mechanisms/laws/principles/constants of life. These laws operate on an inherent cause-and-effect nature (the inherent cause-and-effect principle within reality is confirmed in Galatians 6:7,8 where the destruction comes inherently from the actions of the flesh, not from the actions of God).

            Both appear necessary for life and living. Violate (disobey/rebel against) these as the prerequisites for life and life does not exist. Sin is most succinctly defined as lawlessness (1 John 3:4: anomia) is the condition of being out of harmony with that which is necessary for life.

            Therefore, I concur that "...If not for the Lamb of God, Adam and Eve would have died (2nd death) that day,...". However I believe that it would be from self-destruction due to Adam and Eve having embraced a path that separated them from what was necessary to maintain life. As Galatians 6:7,8 and James 1:15 point out, sin/lawlessness is the causative agent of cessation of life.

            You also stated: "...why would God need to ban them from the tree of life so they would not live forever as sinners?" The concept of sin being able to live forever does not appear to make sense - given the nature of what sin is as anomia. And, if it were hypothetically possible, Satan's allegation in Genesis 3:4 would be truth and God would therefore be arbitrary as Satan was insinuating. The Hebrew word forever (leolam) is also used in 1 Kings 1:31 with reference to King David who is not still alive nor immortal. Hence leolam does not automatically mean immortal. Thus I believe that Genesis 3:22-24, which occurs after God has already intervened to prevent the death that should have happened instantaneously (via separation from the conditions needed to ongoingly sustain life), is God mercifully acting to limit further duration of suffering for Adam and Eve via leaving them to eat of food sources that are now commensurate with their new condition. I do not believe that the Tree of Life had 'magical properties' - but it appears it had something that somehow promotes duration of life.

            With regard to: "I believe the teaching that God does not "cut off"/destroy sin and sinners in the end brings reproach upon the Truth of God's Word and upon Sovereign God Himself", I would propose that it only brings reproach upon the kind of Sovereignty that is exercised in an authoritarian manner. In contrast, the teaching that God is not the causative agent/agency of destruction is entirely consistent with an authoritative Sovereignty.

            Thanks for the interchange Robert...

            • Thank you Phil for explaining how you interpreted that passage, which shows why you answer as you do.

              If we believe scripture to be accurate as it reads, then I cannot find agreement with your conclusions. If it is enshrouded with mysterious meaning, then you could be correct and most others misled by an inaccurate translation of what God actually meant to say. Of course, I am unable to believe God's word has been passed down to His people inaccurate since "the Truth of the LORD endures forever"(Ps 117:2).

              It is my belief that, without the Lamb of God, the guilty pair in Eden would have perished by whatever means God would have used, and not by their own means, such as hanging themselves like Judas(Matt 27:5), or jumping of a cliff like the swine(Mark 5:13). Why do I believe this? See Ex 14:27,28, Lev 10:2, 2 Sam 6:7, 2 Kings 1:10, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Rev 20:9.

              God's "wrath/anger" will be exercised(I don't believe we can understand or explain it) as we are told, and by means He will use, sinners will be "cut off/destroyed". If left to die themselves, why the 2nd resurrection of the wicked, for some, their 3rd death?

            • Thanks Robert

              I appreciate your reply and what you have said.

              With respect to your final question, "If left to die themselves, why the 2nd resurrection of the wicked, for some, their 3rd death?", that is a good and valid question to ask.

              As this thread is coming to a conclusion, I will keep my eyes open for an opportunity to address this question in future posts.

        • “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy utterly…”(James 4:12).
          Enoch prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with His holy ten thousands to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:15). This Judgment is executed by Christ, Son of God (Jn 5:22,27; Acts 10:42;17:31).
          Death was God’s judgment against Adam’s sin/rebellion. We know it was penal, “for he who has died is liberated from sin (justified) (Rom 6:7; 1 Pt 4:1). A holy undefiled Substitute could not bear this penalty in redemption and remain holy and undefiled while justifying many. If sin executes this sentence the redeemer must need sin in order to die for sinners. Those sinners could not be justified or redeemed. The redeemer would be deserving of death…
          Adam’s rebellion incurred three deaths: spiritual, physical, and the “second” or last death. God endowed Adam with the capacity to meet and understand God, at the human level. He was capable of appreciating God’s purposes and cooperating with Him in fulfilling those purposes: spiritual gifts which distinguished and dignified him above the creatures he would rule. God would not leave him with those powers to serve Satan. The effects of this “death” were seen when Adam thought it “good” to hide from God, to cover/hide the glorious bodies they were given of God, to consider God an enemy, to covet darkness. The Life that was the light of man God switched off.
          God banished Adam from the garden so that he could not access the tree of life. Of course they would not die before they had children. God had reserved some of Adam’s progeny for the second Adam (Rom 5:14; 1 Pt 1:20; Jn 15:16,19; 6:39; 17:6,9,24; Eph 1:4…). How does one die the natural physical death? Ps 104:29 says: “You take away their spirit, they expire and return to their dust.” God commanded Moses to go up the mountain, see the land, and die (Dt 32:49,50). Scripture went to such lengths to say: “Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.”(Dt 34:7). How did Moses die?
          The “second death” is Christ executing God’s final judgment against sin, the lake of fire etc.

          • Thanks Kenny for your responses.

            You stated "If sin executes this sentence the redeemer must need sin in order to die for sinners. Those sinners could not be justified or redeemed. The redeemer would be deserving of death…"

            Under a penal/forensic paradigm this is true. Under a healing paradigm it is not. By way of an imperfect analogy, cancer is not healed by the doctor becoming a substitute and taking on the cancer of the patient and then dying in the place of the patient. The doctor gets involved to acquire and administer a cure. This is why the understanding of Jesus as the second Adam (Romans 5:12-19) is so important.

            Jesus did not acquire salvation for all who are willing by dying a substitutionary death-penalty. He acquired salvation via (as the 'substitutionary' second Adam) actually achieving Atonement as a valid member of humanity who did what the first Adam should have done - holding on to self-giving love ('The Law of Life') rather than relinquishing if for self-seeking. This is why Romans 5:19 points out that it was the obedience of the second Adam that makes the many righteous. And Philippians 2:8 unpacks what that obedience was - living in obedience to self-giving/sacrificing love (Philippians 2:3-8) without deviating from such even to the point of death.

            With respect to Jesus as judge, note Jesus enacting of that judgment (John 3:19) and that judgment is not something that is imposed by Jesus, but is inherent to something each person does or fails to do (John 3:18). For further detail regarding the nature of Jesus/God's judgment, note 1 Corinthians 4:5.

            I would submit that we too easily fall into the trap of extrapolating the ways of this world to how God does things - forgetting the principle outlined in Isaiah 55:6-9 that God's ways (of being and doing) are conceptually "higher" (ie very different) to our ways.

            With regard to interpretation of Old Testament references (an by extension New Testament references to Old Testament passages) to God as the cause of things, there is need to be aware of the operation of Hebrew Idiom as per the document Methods of Bible Study (see section 4, point 16). This is in harmony with the principle outlined in 2 Timothy 2:15.

    • Phil- I read your take on the lesson but going back to the Bible David did not acknowledge his sin after all that was done. He did not came with a willing heart to the Lord. To me, he was in the same position like Adam and Eve. He down played the message the man brought about Uriah’s death, as, you know, people usually die in battle so what’s the big deal. Do we know if the Lord was using that man to point out his sins?
      It was until the prophet Nathan who was sent from the Lord came to him and told him straight, then he acknowledged, then confessed. No one can confess unless they acknowledge they are doing wrong. I believed if the sins in David were not checked he would have repeated them.

      • Lyn

        Saul was confronted/‘checked’ about his sin by Samuel - but Saul made excuses.

        David was confronted/‘checked’ by Nathan and straight away acknowledged his guilt - no excuses.

        I would submit that confrontation of itself does not bring repentance. Rather, it brings out what is already growing within a person. Sauls heart was hardening, David’s was troubled (see Psalm 32:3-5).

    • David acknowledged that he had done evil in the LORD's sight and that the LORD's sentence and judgment i.e. his punishment was fair and just. What was the sentence? Separation from the LORD's presence. David asked for two things forgiveness and restoration of his character. Forgiveness was only possible because Jesus would bear his sentence on the cross. Restoration was possible by David surrendering his will and accepting the Holy Spirit to transform his heart, mind, spirit and body to be in His image again.

      • Hi Shirley

        So I understand you better, when you state “Forgiveness was only possible because Jesus would bear his sentence on the cross”, what is it then that is required before forgiveness can be made possible? Are you saying that forgiveness requires that punishment be carried out before it can be offered?

        • I have a question for you, Phil, without reference to "punishment."

          What would be/are (in this world) the consequences of law not enforced uniformly? What happens when lawbreakers are "forgiven" without facing consequences?

          Here in the US, a certain politician raised money to pay the bail of rioters arrested for damaging property. This ended up essentially meaning the individuals faced no consequences. I submit that the result of some of the same people ending up on the streets doing the same things was predictable.

          Now, arbitrary laws can be arbitrarily ignored, depending on their importance. And all human laws are essentially arbitrary.

          However, since God's Law is not arbitrary but designed into the very fabric of His creation, can He afford to just "forgive" without any consequences? Would that not mean changing the very Law itself? And if the Law could be changed, why did Jesus have to die?

          I think these questions are some of the ones the redeemed will examine in much greater depths as part of learning more and more of the character of God revealed in the plan of salvation.

        • I believe that the Word of the LORD teaches that Jesus died so that my sins can be forgiven. From the fall until His death, it was based on the promise and since His death on the fact that He died for me.
          2Cor 5:21, 1Peter 2:24, Isa 53:4-5

        • Thanks for your responses Inge and Shirley.

          Inge, you raise an excellent point.

          Could it be that forgiveness and consequences are in fact two distinct though related 'phenomena' - with differing degrees of convergence depending upon the specific situation.

          If I look at Jesus offering of forgiveness unconditionally on the cross (Luke 23:34) in conjunction with the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), I find that God proactively (rather than retroactively) forgives and that He does "just forgive". God's nature and character is to be forgiving - period. So, I believe that God can and does "just forgive".

          Beyond that, there is the matter of consequences. Any time sin is engaged, consequences are unleashed. Due to the nature of reality, this cannot be bypassed. Sometimes God contains the scope of those consequences, other times He does not - according to which outcome will bring the greatest benefit to the situation.

          Shirley, as I pondered your response I noted that it is not sins that are forgiven - even though people often refer to sins being forgiven. Rather, it is the person that is forgiven. This makes sense because a sin cannot actually be forgiven - only a person can be forgiven.

          I reflect upon Jesus words on the cross: Father forgive them (ie the people) for they (the people) are ignorant of the truth of what they are actually involved in.

          I consider the Lord's prayer which at a superficial glance seems to say 'forgive us of our sins'. But when I look at the parallel statement "as we forgive those who sin against us", we see the focus is on the forgiving of the person who sinned - not forgiving the sin (again, sins themselves can't be undone once they have been done).

          You are correct Inge, we still have much to unpack at greater depths about God's higher ways - and I believe God is inviting us to start to do so now...

          • Phil, your response raises the question, "What is forgiveness? " as you see it - particularly since you say that sins cannot be forgiven. What does John 1:29 have to say on the subject? (I suggest a search for instances of "sin" and "forgive" appearing together, remembering that when God communicates with humans, He uses human language better than the best human communicator.)
            Do you equate forgiveness with reconciliation? (I see forgiveness and reconciliations separate though related issues.)

            • Thanks Inge. You are correct - it does raise the question, “What is forgiveness?” I note that the topic of forgiveness comes up in next week’s lesson. With regard to your suggestion of the relevance of John 1:29, what do you see?

              And you are also correct that forgiveness and reconciliation are likewise distinct yet at times related. Where there is reconciliation there will have been forgiveness. But sometimes even where there is forgiveness, reconciliation is not an outcome or even a possibility.

            • Ok Inge. I'll go first...

              In a nutshell (referring to all that is written below), sin is in the singular form in this verse. Hamartian, the Greek word for sin, has at its core the notion of "missing the mark". That leaves the question of "What is the mark that is missed?". I would propose that the mark is most broadly the abundant life (zoe) of John 10:10 - the quality of life that God lives and has imparted to His creation but which was unfortunately 'surrendered/forfeited' at Genesis 3.

              From my understanding, John 1:29 is referring to the totality of Jesus dealing with the sin-problem and that this encompasses:

              * becoming the faithful second Adam (to address the problem outlined in Romans 5:12-14) to achieve redemption of the human race from its terminal condition at a species level
              * facilitating actual restoration in each person who is willing to collaborate with such via the work of the Holy Spirit to renew hearts and minds and characters.

              Thus, as I see it, John 1:29 is referring to all that is involved in returning all members of humanity who are willing back to abundant life. It is what is involved in achieving actual Atonement and Covenant restoration.

              'Fixing' the sin-problem, the missing of the mark, from my perspective is a healing issue - not a human legal-paradigm issue (as per the climax of Isaiah 53:5). This involves healing of people - which matches what I see regarding people being 'forgiven'. I know it is a big topic and therefore beyond the scope of address in any single post, but I find no evidence of a legal issues being raised at sin's inception. Rather, sin was a very 'personal' matter that 'broke/damaged' people (and by extension the entire earth and its associated solar system). Hence it is healing that is needed - otherwise, I submit, Isaiah 53:5 would have concluded with a word like 'pardoned'.

              Yes, people are forgiven of their sins - but it is the people that are forgiven, not the sins because you can't forgive an inanimate thing. Forgiveness is a very personal phenomenon.

              Disclaimer: I have tried to be as precise as possible with the words I am using, but language is limited and inherently risks misperception. So it is possible that others may attribute different slants to particular words or phrases than what I am attributing.

              I also acknowledge this topic is vast and will continue well beyond here... thus, to be continued at future points.

            • Phil, you wrote

              From my understanding, John 1:29 is referring to the totality of Jesus dealing with the sin-problem and that this encompasses:

              * becoming the faithful second Adam (to address the problem outlined in Romans 5:12-14) to achieve redemption of the human race from its terminal condition at a species level
              * facilitating actual restoration in each person who is willing to collaborate with such via the work of the Holy Spirit to renew hearts and minds and characters

              I don't disagree, but we need to remember that the Lamb typology was central to the Hebrew sanctuary services, and it focused attention on a particular aspect of salvation. (I'm not sure that the "second Adam" is represented by the Lamb, even though it is also an important teaching.)

              The Hebrew sanctuary services centered around animal sacrifices that were to be offered by the sinner, and the sin would be "forgiven" him. Check out how many times this sequence occurs. Of course, sacrifices without a contrite heart meant nothing. But God did specify that believers were to demonstrate their faith through the animal sacrifices as a type of the Messiah that was to come to redeem the race. The sacrifices were not optional. That's why Cain's sacrifice was not accepted.

              It is not mentioned in every instance, but for sin offerings, the one bringing the offering would bring the animal to the door of the tabernacle, place hands on the animal and confess his sins, then slit the throat of the animal while a priest assisted in catching the blood, which was always taken into the sanctuary. Thus sins were, in type, transferred to the sacrifice and thence to the tabernacle. (For some sacrifices, the blood was not taken into the sanctuary, but the priests were to eat the sacrifice, thus symbolically bearing the sins.) That's why the tabernacle needed cleansing at the end of every sanctuary year - typifying the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.

              I agree with the healing view. It is an important aspect of the plan of salvation. But proposing this as the whole is a type of reductionism, just as the penal substitution view proposed as the whole is a type of reductionism. If the plan of salvation could be accurately represented by either view, God would not have needed so many different analogies to teach us about His plan, nor would we need eternity to begin to understand it.

              Rather than rejecting an aspect that differs from our personal conclusions, let us wrestle with the truths presented and seek to harmonize them. We lose much if we do not do this.

              J.B. Phillips, the Bible translator wrote a book entitled Your God Is Too Small. I believe the title alone will tell you that he wrote about just this kind of reductionism in talking about God. (I believe I read it nearly 30 years ago and thus don't remember too many details.)

          • So what are sinners forgiven of? Are they not forgiven of their sins? If someone sins against you, what do you forgive them of?

            We are saved from the "wages" of our sin, so we must be forgiven of our sins, since Jesus took the sins and their wages upon Himself. What does Jesus mean in Mark 2:9,10?

            Study the etymology of "forgive". In essence it means to "forget" an offense. Act as if it never happened. However, would this be just in society? Therefore, in order to be just and justifier, God set forth Jesus as our propitiation (Rom 3:25,26, study every word in this passage).

            • Thanks Robert.

              The only way I can state my perspective is that sinners are forgiven - and that includes of their sins. But that it is the sinner that is forgiven because forgiveness is a personal or perhaps interpersonal phenomenon (but not always responded to therefore not always a two-way phenomenon). Being personal, it can only take place with a person - not with the inanimate sin.

              Yes, I looked into Mark 2:9,10 only yesterday as it appears on the surface to contradict what I am saying. From my perspective, the key word is forgive which the root form in both verse 9 and 10 is aphiemi which I find according to Strong's means to send - to send forth. Unpacking of sending forth involves releasing from and to. Bearing this in mind, the person is being sent forth from being bound by their sin/s to restoration - which Jesus then paralleled with releasing the man himself from being bound by paralysis to freedom to 'go forth'.

              I have studied the etymology of "forgive" - and I find a different meaning to you. I find it to involve full acknowledgement of what is and therefore to be willing to step in and beneficently assist towards healing via offering a gift of not holding the 'sin' that has been committed against the other person - but to instead be willing to share in/bear the cost that is inherently involved in offering an opportunity for restoration (of the 'sinner') to be possible.

              Please note I am not saying that forgiveness and reconciliation are the same thing - they are distinct though sometimes inter-connected. Thus, Jesus offered unqualified forgiveness when hanging on the cross (Luke 23:34) - but not everyone benefited from (participated in) that offer.

              Regarding Romans 3:25,26 I have studied that passage deeply. I agree with propitiation - but my view of propitiation is to fix that which is broken and thereby alleviate the separation that has resulted from the brokenness. I see these verses through a non-legal paradigm and therefore see it differently to what you have written. As I have previously proposed and maintain, God's form of 'just' and 'justice' is conceptually higher than our human ways (as per Isaiah 55:6-9) - and therefore more dissimilar than similar.

              That you and I see things differently is not surprising. Each of us needs to be fully persuaded in our own minds (as per Romans 14:5 principle) as a result of our searching out for ourselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (as per Acts 17:11 and 2 Timothy 2:15 principles). I know you and I both desire to learn/see truth and that is what is more important than whether or not we agree of disagree of some of the details (as per 1 Samuel 16:7 principle).

            • Yes Phil, the word of God does appear to contradict what you said. I would also point out the complicated explanations required to hold your view. Doesn't this say something?

              I am thankful for the simplicity of Truth.

              I would also point out that the underlying meaning of "forgive" is "forgetting". Sin confessed is "forgotten" by God, but never the repentant sinner(Isa 49:15).

          • Phil, you wrote:

            I find that God proactively (rather than retroactively) forgives and that He does "just forgive". God's nature and character is to be forgiving - period. So, I believe that God can and does "just forgive".

            I agree that God proactively forgives and that his nature is to be forgiving.

            However, your statement implies that He can just forgive without any cost to anyone. If that is so, why did He not just forgive Adam and Eve?

            Why did He prescribe the sanctuary services in which a sacrifice, along with a contrite heart, was a condition for forgiveness? (Check out the references to "forgiven" in the books of Moses)

            • Hi Inge

              Thanks for your responses that keep giving my neurones a workout in the course of iron sharpening iron!

              You asked, "...why did He (God) not just forgive Adam and Eve?". I would propose He did. Could it be that God is in fact able to be more gracious than we are able to comprehend without compromising 'righteousness' and 'justice'? If we use human frame of reference for righteousness and justice, we will have difficulty with this. But if we begin to search out God's "higher ways" (Isaiah 55:6-9 and Jeremiah 9:24 principles) and use those as our frame-of-reference perceptual filters, I believe we will see things quite differently.

              You then appropriately also asked, "Why did He (God) prescribe the sanctuary services in which a sacrifice, along with a contrite heart, was a condition for forgiveness?" With respect to this question, I would propose that sacrifice is not a pre-requisite to forgiveness. Rather, sacrifice is (unfortunately) inherent to Atonement/Covenant restoration (with the services hoping to teach the foundational necessity of the restoration of a self-seeking back to other-seeking/self-sacrificing heart that is the only basis on which life can viably exist). Thus, as I believe we both concur, forgiven and reconciled are not automatically one-in-the-same thing.

              I agree that a contrite heart is a condition for reception of forgiveness such that the forgiveness offered by God actually results in benefit to the one being forgiven. Jesus offered unbounded forgiveness in Luke 23:34 - but not everyone to whom it was offered benefited from that offer. In order for a gift to be given, I don't need to submit to receiving it. Whether or not I do so has no bearing on the capacity of the beneficent giver to give. But it has a dramatic bearing on my capacity to benefit from the gift being freely/'grace-iously' given.

              God could have forgiven humanity and not implemented the plan of Salvation. Humanity would then have perished - forgiven, but not restored. Thus, I find that 1 John 1:9 succinctly reflects the two distinct though also potentially inter-related 'dimensions' of the totality of Salvation.

            • Inge,
              I really appreciate your analogy that the various aspects/explanations of the Atonement/Plan of Salvation are like the facets of a diamond. It sparkles, is rock solid, sharper than a two edge sword. These are some of the various aspects that I have discovered so far:
              Broken relationship - Reconciliation
              Debt - cancelled
              Lost - Found
              Kidnapped - Ransomed
              Pawned - redeemed
              Life threatened - rescued
              Darkness/blind - Light/sight
              Orphan - Adopted
              Dirty - Cleansed
              Slavery - Freedom
              Sickness - Healed
              Guilt - Justification/Pardon/Acquittal

              Jesus' messages of mercy were varied to suit His audience. He knew “how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4); for grace was poured upon His lips, that He might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth. He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds, and surprise them with illustrations that won their attention. Through the imagination He reached the heart. His illustrations were taken from the things of daily life, and although they were simple, they had in them a wonderful depth of meaning. DA 254.2
              Desire of Ages 254.2

            • Thanks, Shirley. I really appreciate your listing some of the biblical analogies. (I'm pretty sure there are more, and I have a list some place, but Vacation Bible School is very demanding. 😉 )
              Perhaps others can come up with more analogies. The parables of Christ are a rich source.
              All these analogies/parables/types/symbols are meant to help us understand the Atonement as far as we are able. But I believe there is more to understand as we grow in our knowledge of God throughout eternity.

          • Inge asked what forgiveness is. As an accountant, I know that it is the discharge of a debt without full payment on the part of the debtor. There is sin, and there are sins. Without a doubt, both put us into debt to God far beyond our ability to pay. It is not trite that "Jesus paid it all." His discharge of our debt, combined with our availing ourselves of its provisions through faith and repentance, opens the way for our reconciliation with God. I think that Inge was suggesting all of this with her questions. There surely must be much more to be understood in regard to the subject, but nothing will ever negate these basic and commonly preached facts. They are the gospel after all.

            As to consequences, I agree with what I believe Phil was suggesting. When a person is forgiven, God allows that person to bear only the consequences that will benefit him or her. "All things work together..." This benefit may come partially or wholly through the good of others, but in this universe, what is good for one is good for all.

          • Phil's thoughts make sense to me.

            David’s psalm reveals this essential truth: a broken relationship with God reveals itself in broken relationships with people. Sin is nothing but the symptom of that broken relationship. Forgiveness of sin is not the forgetting of sin. Instead, it is being willing to take or bear the consequences of sin for the purpose of healing and restoring relationship.

            This willingness costs. For example, Christ will bear the marks of the cross through eternity and he eternally became human to fully express and reveal God’s character to mankind. He willingly bore the consequences of our sins that our relationship with God might be restored. Forensic (“legal”) explanations fail miserably because “paying” for sin does not restore relationship. Jesus did not “pay it all.” Instead, Jesus loved us to his death on the cross. This is why he prayed “Father forgive them because they do not understand what they are doing.”

            When he finished his redemptive work of God’s love, he cried out, “It is finished.” And then he rested from his work, and we rest too if we believe in his finished work of redemption.

          • Thank you Inge

            There was a reason I intentionally inserted a disclaimer to my response. And the misunderstanding that I anticipated might happen due to my trying to be brief on what is too large a topic to cover in a single post (or even an entire article) appears to have happened.

            I can assure you my aim and focus is not to be reductionistic. Rather, I support any and all dimensions that are supported by sound biblical evidence. Truth can afford to be fair - it lacks nothing by close investigation. And that is what I do - close investigation to look at things with as fresh eyes as possible. We are told there is to be growth in our understanding across time with diligent studying and reliance upon God's guidance. And we are also told that in that process, we have many things to learn - and many to unlearn.

            I was raised under a predominately penal view and when I first heard about a (as opposed to the) 'healing' perspective, I was sure that it was merely the bias of the various presenters. So I investigated for myself to prove this was the case. But as I investigated, to my discomfort I started to find there was evidence supporting that view. So I then thought there must be a 'hybrid' position as I was convinced that the penal view had merit. The more I investigated, the more I began to see what I had previously been blind to (only way I can describe it). And now I can't unsee what I see.

            I understand you think I am reductionistic and that my view of God may be too small. All I can say is that it is going the other way - it is getting broader and broader in scope. Just to outline a few aspects: I see a God who can just graciously forgive because inherently forgiving is His nature. I see a God who can abundantly redeem and restore via 'justice' that does not require punishment to be paid but who instead would submit Himself to unjustified punishment by His creation in the course of making salvation available to all who are willing. I see a God who is absolutely Sovereign in an authoritative way. And more... A God whose omni-benevolent ways of being and doing are conceptually so much higher than our ways. We can begin to understand the principles of His ways, though we can't yet understand the specific literal form of those ways.

            With regard to typologies, there will be diversity but there should also be harmony and not inconsistency. I note the Greek word sozo refers to both Salvation and to healing via making whole - illustrating the synonymous nature of these dimensions/facets that incorporate Atonement and Covenant restoration. And as I reflect across scripture, I find that 'sozo' appears to be the overarching primary paradigm. But this does not mean salvation is takes place within a cosmic hospital. And there is reference across scripture with respect to 'judicial' typology - but typology from an ancient Hebrew court perspective as Maurice has pointed out, rather than typology of a modern judicial system. But where judicial typology is related to salvation, it needs to be kept in mind that God's 'law' of life is not synonymous with human laws and therefore the judicial typology is also not synonymous in the ways and to the extent that is it most typically held to be. I believe inclusion of 'judicial' typology is to illustrate that God is absolutely transparent and fair/just in all dealings with humanity - and diametric contrast to the deceptive nature of Satan. But the inclusion of judicial typology does not mean salvation takes place within a cosmic courtroom. With respect to 2nd Adam and sanctuary service typology, I find them to be synonymous. Perhaps I could say that the 2nd Adam was the overarching experiencing within which the Lamb took away the sin of the world and restored Atonement and Covenant. Thus the sanctuary typology pointed to and was fulfilled within the Messiah - the 2nd Adam.

            Having said the above regarding typologies, I need to state that I believe we can begin to understand the principles pertaining to God's higher ways (as per Jeremiah 9:24), but not necessarily the literal/actual form those higher ways embody. I would propose that 'we' unfortunately get inadvertently hooked into making the typology the reality and consequently infer some non-supported conclusions regarding aspects of God's ways.

            All the while, I keep comparing what I am learning and growing in with what others are also learning and growing in. I am not journeying in isolation.

            I am aware that try as I may, I still am so limited in my ability to express what I am learning and discovering. So again, there is a risk that what I am attempting to convey may be misunderstood.

            No doubt we will come across these topics again at which point we can perhaps resume our conversation...


            • Thank you for sharing, Phil. I apologize for applying the word "reductionist" to your view. That is not fitting for a view that is nuanced and has so many layers of meaning. May I ask you to "just forgive"?

              I am so very glad that you learned to see the Atonement through better lenses than a reductionist view of penal substitution affords. I don't know how long you journey has been, but my journey began probably around 45 years ago. And, no, you cannot "unsee" a richer view of the Atonement once you have seen it.

              You have raised many points, and I agree with most of them, and where I see different nuances, there may be another time to discuss these.

              May I suggest that a "hybrid view" is not a fitting image for embracing all the metaphors the Bible uses for the Atonement. I believe that the facets of a diamond provide a more fitting analogy. Even the proverbial elephant described by the blind men is a better analogy. The tail and the trunk of the elephant are not hybridized with each other. Each view is true in itself as part of the whole. So it is when we explore the various metaphors of the Atonement. We run into difficulty when we see our particular view as the only "accurate" view, not recognizing that we still "see through a glass darkly."

              I believe our common understanding is much greater than our differences. So let me ask you what you think of the following:

              Millions of people's hearts have been moved by the understanding that "Jesus died in my place. He died the death that I deserve that I might receive the life that He deserves. He was treated as I deserve that I might be treated as He deserves." Such an understanding has emotive power that is unequaled because it demonstrates the greatest love there is. (John 15:13) And love is the strongest power in the universe. It seems to appear to some that your view would take away this powerful inducement to accept Jesus as Savior. (cf John 12:32) Can you understand why those who have been drawn thus to the Savior would react negatively to interpretation of Scripture that appear to removes this vision?

            • Thanks Inge

              I can appreciate what you are saying when you say that:

              "Millions of people's hearts have been moved by the understanding that "Jesus died in my place. He died the death that I deserve that I might receive the life that He deserves. He was treated as I deserve that I might be treated as He deserves." Such an understanding has emotive power that is unequaled because it demonstrates the greatest love there is. (John 15:13) And love is the strongest power in the universe. It seems to appear to some that your view would take away this powerful inducement to accept Jesus as Savior."

              Though I differ in with respect what I find regarding some aspects of Atonement, I do agree with the essence of your statement that:

              "Jesus died in my place. He died the death that I deserve that I might receive the life that He deserves. He was treated as I deserve that I might be treated as He deserves."

              With regard to your last comment, yes, I can understand and appreciate why there are those who would react negatively to a differing interpretation of Scripture that appears to remove this vision.

    • Phil, “without the shedding of blood” (Heb 9:22) there would have been no forgiveness/pardon of David’s sin. Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He, who was “foreknown before the foundation of the world”, was “manifested at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (1 Pt 1:20; Heb 9:26). David found grace because of the substitutionary act of Christ. He bore David’s sin up to the tree/cross, suffering the death, the expressed wrath of God (“why have you forsaken me” 2 Thess 1:9, 1Thess 1;9,10; Rom 5:9: Eph 5:6; Col 3:6). We are saved from God’s wrath, the second death.

      We are debtors to God. We have been condemned to death in Adam. That was God’s judgment of sin, His sentence against sin. Death was penal/punitive. How could a pure, holy, undefiled “substitute” die the death thus justifying many, unless it was punitive? Christ would have needed to sin if it is sin that executes its “own” death sentence. Scripture affirmation is found in Rom 6:7: “For he who has died is justified/acquitted of sin”. See 1 Pt 4:1. Christ payed His people’s debt, the ransom price, to God, His Father (Eph 5:2; Heb 7:27; 10:10, 12).
      “There is one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy… (James 4:12; Isa 33:22; Matt 10:28)

      • Hi Kenny

        Thanks for your input. I agree with every verse you listed. However I draw a different conclusion from each verse you listed because I see things through a primarily healing paradigm rather than a primarily forensic paradigm. If a forensic paradigm were primary, I would submit that the final word in Isaiah 53:5 would have been a forensic word. That the climax of Christ's work/experience outlined in Isaiah 53:4-6 is non-forensic says something significant.

        A primarily forensic view of Atonement has a long history - and is therefore deeply embedded. A forensic view of reality has the requirement of appropriate punishment against offence at its core - otherwise it allegedly 'isn't fair'.

        By contrast, a 'healing' view of reality has actual restoration back to the abundant-life-state as the marker of what is fair and just and right - along with release to inherent consequences of self-destruction/perishing that is the reality of all who freely choose to not participate in healing without the need for application of punishment.

        At its core, a forensic view has God's 'government' operating no differently than human government - which is contrary to the summary claim in Isaiah 55:8,9.

        Some might say I am being too black and white - all or nothing. I am up for anything that is supported by evidence to the degree that it is supported by evidence.

        But this is just my perspective... and each of us needs to be fully persuaded in our own mind (as per Romans 14:5 principle).

        • Interesting read this translation:
          Isa 53:4-5 ISV  "Surely he has borne our sufferings and carried our sorrows; yet we considered him stricken, and struck down by God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that made us whole was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.

          It includes punishment and healing - Jesus Christ suffered our punishment so we can be healed.
          I don't believe the Word of the LORD pits one understanding against the other.
          God is just and the justifier and restorer into His image.
          Rom 3:4, Ps 51:4, Rom 8:29

  3. For He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21.
    Christ makes a covenant with us, when He shall take away our sins. Romans 11:27.  Notice that we do nothing to make us white as snow, we are not the hyssop, rather it is Christ residing in us who cleanses us,  taking care of the mess for us.

    The God of peace making us Holy. So it is Christ residing in us that preserves our body, spirit, and soul, not us, it is Devine power that sustains us until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    1 Thessalonians 5:23.

    I love it. This puts the responsibility on Christ, not me.   He is doing all of this for us.  If only the Isrealites would have recognized this, instead of wanting to stone David even though he had asked for and recieved forgiveness.

    Like Paul we die daily(ask for forgiveness of sins),  not to avoid punishment, but to keep the Sustainer of Life in us.   Peace abideth, when He abideth in us,  a gift from God.  John 14:27.

  4. Most of us at some point in our lives had a moment of time where everything was so peaceful from a mental and maybe even a spiritual standpoint. Then life and reality once again take over. We find ourselves yearning for, wanting to get back to that moment of tranquility. This tranquility is only found in Jesus. David after the weight of his sin yearned for that tranquility which he had lost. He was asking God to do whatever it took to restore him to that place of "rest". The rest that can only be found in and come from God.

  5. David desired to be justified and sanctified. Simplest way to say it: restored from his sinful state into the very image of Christ/God.

    Perhaps we should take a closer look at these two incidents and see how similar they were. Adam and Eve had never sinned, and suddenly realized the fear that sinners must feel toward a holy God, and hid themselves in fear. David also “hid” by all he did to conceal the sin with a cloak of “fig leaves” until God convicted him through Nathan. Adam and Eve traded their fig leaves for the garments provided by the Sacrifice, which David also prayed for. I find no real difference between the two stories except that David had been down this road before(Ps 32:1-5; 51:5), while Adam and Eve had never felt the guilt of sin.

    The only thing that holds any sinner back from the joy of salvation is unbelief, often through pride, or love of sinful pleasure. Either we believe, or we don't. There is no 3rd option if we believe what the Bible says. There are only two classes on earth, regardless of race, religion or its lack, gender, nationality, etc. Faith or unbelief, those are the only two choices that matter in THIS life, and our choice will affect our eternal destiny.

    What could be learned from this story? Follow the instructions in Prov 3:1-8!

  6. The change of heart by which we become the children of God is spoken of in the Bible as birth. Birth simply means regeneration. Just as it took somebody to birth us into the World for the first time, so must it take somebody to birth us into the world for the second time. Jesus told Nicodemus: You must be born of water and of the Spirit. David needed something that would help him to continue to overcome sin which is a change from within made possible by the Holy Spirit. A right spirit and a clean heart. It's the right spirit that brings about a clean heart. We struggle to overcome sin because we don't have the right Spirit. A person may have the right Education that may help him/her to do certain things right to a certain extent but without the power of the Holy Spirit he cannot endure to the end. Pastors may have the correct Theology but they cannot do right because they have the wrong Spirit. Someone may have the wrong education/Theology but may do what's right because they have the right Spirit. The Prophet Jeremiah says: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good , that are accustomed to do evil. We make new years resolution : I will stop kicking the dog, love my enemies but in four days time bam they are all gone. Someone has said and it's a good quip : New Year's resolutions are like crying babies in Church. They are no good unless they are carried out. You can change some of your deeds but you can't change your heart. We are like Mike Twain, he said : I can resist everything except temptation. I have read a topic from the book Steps to Christ entitled : " The Test of Discipleship", and I would urge everyone to read it. There are Seven things a person who has the Spirit within him/her would do: In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, ennobles the affections, sweetens the life, and sheds a refining influence on all around. Steps to Christ, page 59.
    Finally, I wish to state that we will overcome every sin by following a simple formula : DP + HE = SUCCESS. This is the explanation of the abbreviation: DIVINE POWER WITH HUMAN EFFORT equals success. May we gain the victory over sin as Christ did. Romans 8 :3, 4.

    • John- you just nailed it!!! Many times we struggled with sin and sin overcome us. We promised not to do it again, just to fall/run/walk into that very sin again. Paul conclusion was- Oh wretched man that I am. Who can deliver me? It’s the Holy Ghost we, sinners, are devoid of. He needs to be dwelling in us, so doing, he will give us his heart then sin will loose its power over us. Sin has a grip on the unconverted human heart. Therefore the unconverted at heart is a restless human. It can’t find peace no matter the cause.

    • Hello John,

      The formula you provided seems similar to this: Faith + Works = Salvation. This is Catholic works-oriented theology and requires human effort to obtain forgiveness, salvation, sanctification and success to overcome sin.

      Romans 8:1 is very clear "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." It is believing that God through Christ will accomplish his work in us – that he will accomplish what he has promised to do in us – this is our salvation. Without this faith, any "success" that we might think to accomplish against sin is sin "because it is not of faith; and all that is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23b.)

      Any true success in overcoming sin is all God's work that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9.)

      Just some thoughts.


    • I will add my appreciation for you drawing attention to:

      "In the (re-born: John 3:3-6) heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, ennobles the affections, sweetens the life, and sheds a refining influence on all around." Steps to Christ, page 59.

      Thanks John for your contribution...

  7. It is instructive to remember that David and Bathsheba's second child was Solomon. Now there is grace and forgiveness for a repentant sinner. I can love and serve a God like that.

  8. I am a bit unsure how to understand the lesson’s title “Something New”, unless it refers to our ‘new’ relationship with the Creator Father, and so I focus my comments on that.
    I see His Hand working to bring about His grand Salvation Design - establishing His people, His Son’s coming to earth, His birth, life, and resurrection and how it impacts/effects our lives.
    I understand the ultimate reason for the Creator’s involvement in mankind’s life is because He wants to include ‘human/Adam’ in the newly created heaven and earth. The Creator does not want to create the human body again, He instead restores the living soul to be able to have the right relationship with Him.

    David’s life seen in this light, is a true example of the Father’s longsuffering love to restore 'humans' toward this new Life. Without God’s Grace, David would just be another man trying to face life’s demands.
    Psalm51:11-13KJV –”Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the JOY OF THY SALVATION; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
    There is nothing in all of David’s ‘kingdom’ that he desires more than to remain in the presence of God and His Holy Spirit. Joy is the most personal, the most central experience of his/our Salvation and he wants to share it with others.
    He desperately entreats God to restore His fellowship with him because he knows the difference of being without/outside of His presence.

    I see the question at the end of the lesson to be very important. Why do so few who confess their faith in Christ exude true joy and gladness in their lives? Christ Jesus offers the liberating power of the Father’s Salvation for all mankind - John8:36KJV; to be freed from the oppressiveness of this world, is this not the most precious aspect of the gift of Salvation leading to grateful appreciation and joy?
    David’s life is the example of a life lived in the middle of constant warfare, stress, and anxiety, demanding, physical warfare all the time; yes, toward establishing God's spiritual goal. God demanded a lot of David as he lived on the cutting edge of establishing God's authority; this requires the powerful presence of God's Spirit at all times.
    The old earth is defiled by sin, mankind and all its societal arrangements are beset with iniquity, and God’s universal law of Love and Justice requires it to be restored to the right order – His Order.
    We can ask many questions but will find only one answer as we read about individuals in the Scriptures whose lives have been touched by God - for what purpose, toward what end – Salvation - Psalm51:15-17KJV.

  9. The lesson suggests that David, unlike Adam and Eve, did not hide from God, but I would suggest David had been hiding from God for the better part of a year. If we read Psalm 32, which seems likely to be another psalm reflecting on this experience, vs.3, 4 suggest he was not doing so well spiritually. I don't see a huge difference between the situations.

    • I agree with your viewpoint, Christina, for the reasons you provided.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation...

  10. I am looking at the lesson from a TMI perspective. The king was supposed to be with his army battling but chose to stay behind for no reason given. This suggest that by neglecting God's work one can expect to be employed by another master. If David was in battle he would not have seen Bathsheba as he walks on the roof.
    There are two masters by neglecting the one you automatically serve the other. Let us cleave to Christ at all times, let us work as He is working


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