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First Things @First

I was reminded the other day of the importance of forgiveness and how it is critical to spiritual health both with God and with those we live among.

David knew the personal nature of forgiveness. Like we, David was a flawed person who failed often in his life on earth, yet God forgave Him because he was willing to deal with the sin that severed the intimacy of his relationship with God.

Verses 1-2 of Psalm 32 speak volumes to anyone who reads it. "Blessed is he who transgression is forgiven; whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute (charge with) sin." David reveals the personal process of being forgiven from sin in verse 5. "I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.'"

The word 'sin' involves more than making a mere mistake or messing up. The word means 'to miss'; to miss the mark of God's glory. And according to God's word in Romans 3:23--all have sinned. All have 'missed the mark' of God's perfect design. It includes all and excludes nor excuses no one who understand the meaning of sin.

David 'missed the mark' with his behavior concerning Bathsheba and then further complicated the situation with his lies and deception, ultimately ordering the death of Uriah, Bathsheba's husband.

If you will read the account of David's rise and his rule, you'll discover that David was a mighty warrior and leader but a lousy husband and father. He had multiple wives and concubines of which many children were born. David disregarded God's design for family, and it cost him dearly.

At his death, recorded in 1 Kings 1, King David dies in the arms of a stranger because he had missed the mark of God's design so badly in matters of being a husband and a father.

It's difficult to imagine coming to the end of life's journey on earth and being so isolated from family that a complete stranger has to be brought to provide comfort in the last critical hours of life. But that is exactly what took place with David.

So, what was it that made this man that God described in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22 as 'the man after God's own heart'? The answer; God's faithfulness and forgiveness. David knew what sin was and what sin does. But he also experienced what forgiveness and grace do for those who confess their sin, as well.

David said in Psalm 32:5, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave me." This was not a half-hearted passing glance at misbehavior. This is a man gazing at himself in the mirror of God's holy standard and feeling overwhelmed with guilt and grief. By the way, guilt is God's early warning system that something is wrong in us. Grief is what occurs when we refuse to address it correctly and confess it completely.

For David, forgiveness was the result of his being willing to confess his sin to God whom he had sinned against. The word 'confess' is imperative in the entire process of salvation and sanctification.

O.S. Hawkins reminds us that the word 'confess' means literally 'to say'. Another meaning is 'the same as'. So, confession means 'to say the same as God would say.' We agree with God.

We don't seek ways to justify our behavior, pass the buck or blame others. We own it. David said, ' sin...' That's what David said and that's what David did in response. That's what we must do if we hope to enjoy the fullness of the relationship that God provides in Christ Jesus through forgiveness.

When we agree with God that we have missed the mark of His design for our life, God restores what sin robs us of by His grace. And His grace is inexhaustible!

David had many trials in life that were prompted by sin. But David ultimately triumphed over sin because of God's faithfulness! Save for Jesus, David was considered Israel's greatest king. David was a man that Jesus Himself was not afraid to identify with as the Son of David.

David is a great example for us today. He wasn't perfect; not even close. Yet, he was forgiven because he was willing to confront his own sin and confess it. He found God faithful to His promise to forgive and forget.

For you and me today, God provides that same faithfulness and grace! 1 John 1:9 says, "IF we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Don't overlook the hinge on which the door of God's forgiveness opens. "IF" we confess--'say the same thing as'; He will forgive, and your heart will be as tightly knit with God's as David's was.

God is faithful to His promises even when we aren't.

So, through all the flaws, failures and falls we experience in life, it is possible for us to be known to those who come behind us as people after God's own heart.

What a testimony of God's faithfulness!

Something to celebrate, indeed!

And something to share, as well!

God's best always,

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36