Years ago I came across a couple sets of Bible verses that I think really help to reveal the heart of God.
The first set is 1 Kings 15:4-5:
4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem: 5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
Now when I read that verse I showed my husband and chuckled. Because when vs. 5 mentions that “matter of Uriah the Hittite”, it kind of leads one to think David accidentally stepped on Uriah’s foot, or something equally small or petty. But what actually happened in “the matter of Uriah the Hittite” is this (paraphrased):
Once a man named Uriah was out being a good soldier and fighting in a war for King David. One evening during that time, King David happened to spy Uriah’s wife bathing. Overcome with desire, he sent for her, and they slept together. Then he sent her home as if nothing happened. THEN she tells David she’s pregnant, and since her husband is still gone, it’s definitely David’s. So David sends for Uriah, and tries to cover up what he did by giving Uriah the opportunity to “spend some quality time” with his wife.
David: You’re working so hard. Why don’t you spend a nice night at home with your wife before you go back to the awful, lonely war? *chuckles to self, pleased with cleverness.*
Uriah: (full of integrity) How could I let myself have all that luxury when my countrymen are in such conditions even now? I will not.
David: (to self) Crap.
So Uriah goes back to the battlefield without having any “quality time” with his wife. Which means he would definitely have a few questions concerning how she got pregnant (or if not ‘how?’, at least ‘with who?!?!’).
David then had Uriah moved to a battlefield position where death would be unavoidable. Oh, and then David took Uriah’s now-widow as his own wife. Illegitimacy problem solved!
So let’s recap: Covetousness, Adultery, Lying, and Murder.
I bet some of you didn’t know the Bible was so intense.
Anyways, THAT’s “the matter of Uriah the Hittite” that the writer of 1 Kings was making reference to. And as I was chuckling, I thought “How can they make it sound like such a non-big deal like that?”
Here is the second set of verses, that really blew my mind (they come earlier in the text, but this is the order in which I found them, so this is the order I will relate them). 1 Kings 14:7-8:
7 “Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you ruler over My people Israel, 8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you; and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes;”
So I thought it was funny how a mere person minimized David’s flaws… and then I see that God not only forgave them, but forgot them! Not a new concept I know; I’d heard before “God will remember your sins no more”, and similar things, but here was proof!
Quite often I hear comments like the following:
About Other People:
“It’s so nice how God can still love that person despite their sins and problems. How quaint.”
“HOW is God loving THAT person?! Doesn’t He see their sins and problems?!?! How scandalous!”
(Full of woe) “Ohhhhhhhhhh God. Thank You for loving ME, a wretched, awful, horrible sinner with nothing but problems!”
“God can’t love me. Look at my sin and problems. It would be scandalous. There’s no hope.”
And then I read what God thought about David, and you know what? God is NOT loving you, me, or anyone else in SPITE of their problems, or in hopes they will change. In God’s opinion, all of humanity’s wretchedness has already been dealt with and done away with; punished on the person of Jesus Christ at the cross. There is no backup file somewhere that God is just itching to pull out later. The debt of sin has already been paid.
There is no reason for God to remember our sins, just as there is no way we are able to repay the debt by our own efforts or works. Have even our best efforts ever really been able to allow us to meet the Perfect Standard?
Religions of the world all put the work on people. People need to perform tasks, rituals and live right in order to make things right with God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Countless people try and turn Christianity into just another religion, but Christ came to restore man’s relationship with God. God knew people could never reach Him with their efforts, so the Son of God came down in the flesh, and completed the work for us.
Isaiah 53: 4-5 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;… 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Some people say God is still punishing people (or cities, or even whole countries). But if that were the case, it would make Jesus’ suffering pointless. Why would Jesus suffer God’s wrath and punishment for our sins, if God was just going to keep on punishing people? That would be nonsense.
2 Corinthians 5:21 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus did not just take away the sin of the world. He exchanged it for His own righteousness. When you put your faith in Christ’s finished work in taking away your sins, there is nothing separating you from God. There is nothing you have to go take care of before God will accept you. Because when God looks at a person whose faith is in what Christ has done for them, He sees the sinless, perfect, righteous sacrifice of Jesus. The greatest exchange you could ever hope for, all freely offered, freely given.
Isaiah 54:10 10 For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
Often, even at our best, most gracious moments, we can only comprehend God minimizing someone’s faults until they are little “matters”. That He sees them but says “Well so-and-so did that, but Jesus paid for it so it’s ok.” But He DOES NOT REMEMBER THEM ANYMORE.
And that’s what it’s talking about in the Bible when you read things like:
2 Corinthians 5:16-19 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh…. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ… 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,…
A question: Since Jesus put away sin, can people just live however they want and God doesn’t care?
Romans 6:1-3 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
“Grace” can be defined as the unearned, undeserved, unmerited favour God has given to us through Jesus. Since Jesus has put away all sin, can we keep sinning? No. That’s not even possible if you’ve accepted new life in Christ. You can’t believe Christ has provided new life for you without believing that He accomplished that by dying with your sin. When He died, your old self (sins, addictions, sicknesses) died with Him. When He rose again, you did too- your ‘new creation’ life in Christ that was mentioned earlier!
Romans 6:5-6 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
We WILL be in the likeness of Christ (in actions, speech, etc) KNOWING THIS…. That our sin has been put away with by Jesus! That it has no control over us anymore.
The key is the ‘KNOWING THIS’ part.
Too often Christians will bring people to church, tell them they need Jesus, get them to say the “sinner’s prayer” and then all of the sudden wallop them with a bunch of rules they need to follow to keep God happy.
“Read your Bible! Pray to God every day! Stop drinking! Stop having sex before marriage! Watch your language! Etc etc etc” and they get offended if the people don’t start having all this Christ-like behavior. But look above to the verses in Romans again. Us being in the likeness of Christ will only come after we are taught that He has put away our sins once and for all. That it is no longer our fight to win. That we are more than conquerors of any behaviors because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. Once people realize what Jesus has done for them, the light of Christ in them will naturally shine.