Psalm 51 is thought to have been written by David after his sin with Bathsheba. In II Samuel 11-12, we are told David committed the sin of adultery and then murder trying to conceal what he had done. He was confronted by Nathan, the prophet. David admitted he had sinned, and in this Psalm, he appealed to the mercy of God and asked for His forgiveness.
In verse 3, after acknowledging his transgressions, he said, "... my sin is always before me." David knew he had been forgiven, but he would not forget the awful deeds he had done. He would always carry a picture in his mind of murder and adultery. Although forgiven, he still had to face the earthly consequences for his sin.
Consider the apostle Paul who had persecuted Christians prior to becoming a Christian. He was forgiven by God, but no doubt his sins were always before him. Note what he said in I Timothy 1:13-15, " although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Like David, because of God's mercy, he received forgiveness. But it is clear he never forgot his past.
Consider the following story:
"Years ago, a father tried to teach his son how wrong sin was. Every time the boy did wrong, the father nailed a nail into the tree in the backyard. After several months, the boy was broken hearted over all the nails in the tree. He asked his father if he would take a nail out of the tree for every time he behaved well. The dad agreed. Finally, the day came when the last nail was removed. The son thought he would be excited. Instead, he was saddened. Though all the nails were out, the scars and holes remained. Though a person becomes a Christian, the scars of sin remain." (author unknown)
Truly, sin scars. It can even have long lasting earthly consequences, and this would be one reason to avoid it. One way to avoid scars is by staying away from sin.
Although it may be difficult to forget our past, we must always remember that God loves us, and he will forgive us if we comply with his conditions. Further, we should never let the past hold us back from faithfully serving God. We learn from the past, but having been forgiven, we press forward with joy and confidence. Note Paul's statement in Philippians 3:13-14, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
By Mike Johnson
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /