Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adultery, Leadership, and the Infinite Depths of God's Forgiveness

I respect the argument that Dennis Prager has made regarding the merits of disqualifying a candidate merely because he has cheated on his wife, has been unfaithful to his spouse.

Adultery is a terrible thing, yet God's mercy forgives even adultery. David continued on as King of Israel after the shameful affair with Bathsheba and the planned demise of her husband Uriah on the battlefield.

God forgives everything, no matter how horrendous the sin.

He has the power to do this not because we are sorry enough, or because we have said or done enough to merit God's forgiveness, but only through the Finished Work of the Cross.

We cannot emphasize to ourselves the greatness of God's goodness in paying off our infinite sin debt through the death of His Son. There is nothing, not one thing that we can do to earn or qualify ourselves.

At first, this may seem like utter despair for every person -- "There is nothing I can do to be saved?"

The disciples posed this question to Jesus :

"Who then can be saved? " (Luke 18:26)

Jesus answers them:

"And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27)

He is irresistibly moved to do everything for us:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

Then what is our part, if Christ has done everything for us at the Cross? To receive this grace by faith

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We receive the grace of God shed for us at the Cross by faith!

Christ's death covers every sin, no matter how vile, no matter how shameful. He took a red-blooded rebel like Saul of Taurus and turned him into one of the greatest evangelists that the world has ever known, a man who wrote three quarters of the New Testament!

God forgave David his terrible shame with the wife of another man:

"And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." (2 Samuel 12:13)

David admitted that he sinned against the Lord. The previous King Saul did not demonstrate this godly repentance:

"17And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

"nd the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

"herefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

"nd Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

"But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal."
(1 Samuel 15: 17-21

The Lord commissioned Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, which he did not do, sparing the king of that pagan and people and the best of their spoils. Saul even had the audacity to declare right to the prophet Samuel that he had indeed kept the voice of the Lord, when it was apparent to all that he had not. Saul even resorted to blaming someone else for his disobedience, in this case the people of Israel!

Samuel cut off Saul's dissimulation, and then Saul tried to make it right:

"And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24)

Unlike David, Saul acknowledged that he had sinned, but he did not acknowledge that he had sinned "against the Lord" as David had done after his conviction from the prophet Nathan. Saul did admit why he sinned, the one problem that plagued Saul throughout his life and his reign: he feared the people, he sought the approval of the Israelites, instead of resting in the loving and unmerited favor which the Lord had lavished on him.

Saul tried to make himself right with the Lord:

"Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD."

He asked Samuel to pardon his sin, but no one but the Lord can forgive sins. David knew this, and that is why he went straight to the Lord:

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." (Psalm 51: 1-2)

David appealed beyond the judgment seat of God, right to the mercy seat, "according to the lovingkindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies." David dispensed with seeking forgiveness from one of the prophets. The moment that David confessed that he had sinned "against the Lord", Nathan declared right away:

"The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." (2 Samuel 12:13)

We appeal to the mercy of God, and He is amply willing to supply us His grace.

This is why Paul could so boldly declare:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

Which later he followed with:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8: 31 - 34)

God covers every sin, even sexual immorality.

In the world, in the Body of Christ, there is still a great shock when it comes to sexual immorality, like adultery. We are more offended when someone comes clean about a private perversion. Instead of rushing in with rash and irrational judgment, we must recognize above all that Christ has paid for and covered everything, even sexual immorality.

David was pardoned for his sin because he sought the Lord's mercy. Even though the child that David had with Bathsheba perished, God blessed his marriage with Bathsheba, and from her was produced Solomon, who would go on to reign during the most glorious period in the history of Ancient Israel.

God takes our sin, and he makes wonders with it":

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8: 26-28)

The Holy Spirit helps us with our infirmities (lit. ἀσθένεια, astheneia: want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, calamity, frailty.)

Our flesh is weak (cf Matthew 26: 41), and the works of the flesh are evident, including adultery (cf Galatians 5: 19). Yet the Holy Spirit works within us, transforming us from glory to glory, making us more like Him who saved us and lives for us, in us, and through us!

Rather than be dismayed and eternally disappointed by sexual immorality, we must trust in the grace of God, give no faith or trust to our own flesh, and let the Spirit of the Lord guide us.

What about those who live in openly immorality, who openly despise their marriage vows? Such individuals are not under the grace of God, but are acting out the condemnation that weighs on every soul. To be under grace is to live by faith, trusting in Christ's Finished Work to transform us:

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Philippians 3:3)

Rejoice in Him, walk in the Spirit, and behold, the desire to cheat, to commit any immorality, even sexual, will leave us:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)


"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25) In this verse, "if" would be better translated as "since", as the proposition is presented as true.

You live in the Spirit of God, therefore walk in the Spirit, not the lusts or the failing efforts of the flesh!

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