1 John Bible Study

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 7: Fear and False Teachers

1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 7: Fear and False Teachers
Please Read: 1 John 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 4:1-6

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 13: Do I follow false teachers?

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

I’m always dumbfounded when I hear Christian women say – in response to being told their favorite false teacher is a false teacher – something to the effect of, “You’re so negative, judgmental, and nit picky. Jesus just said to love people and not to worry so much about whether their theology is different from yours.”

It always makes me wonder if they’ve ever actually read the New Testament, because that’s absolutely not what Jesus said while He was on earth, and it’s the exact opposite of what God the Holy Spirit spends so much time saying in the balance of the New Testament. This passage of First John is just one of dozens which warn us away from false teachers.

  • Which Spirit is controlling true Christian teachers? What spirit is controlling false teachers according to verse 3? True or false: If you’re following a false teacher, you’re following a demonic spirit.
  • What does it mean to “test the spirits”? (v1) How did the noble Bereans test the spirits?
  • What do verses 2-3 tell us is the first, most basic test of whether or not someone is a false teacher? What does verse 5 tell us is an indication of a false teacher? Are these the only tests for a false teacher?
  • To whom do the words “we” and “us” refer in verse 6? According to verse 6, do false teachers listen to and teach the same things the apostles taught? How does verse 6 work hand in hand with Galatians 1:6-9?
  • According to verse 6, if you willfully disregard apostolic (biblical) teaching in favor of false teaching, are you really a Christian? Do you argue with people who can demonstrate to you from (rightly handled) Scripture that you’re following a false teacher?

1 John 4:7-12

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 14: Is my motivation for love Christocentric?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

If you could state the theme John’s teaching in one word, what would it be? My answer would be “love.” In his gospel, his three epistles, even in Revelation, the concept of love permeates John’s writing. And here again, John draws our attention back to it. The facet of love he focuses on this time is the motivation behind our love for others.

  • According to verses 7-8, who defines, originates, and is the embodiment of, love? How does this tell Christians Who and what is to motivate any love that we might feel or show to others? Is the “love” that non-Christians feel or show to others motivated by God or by other factors such as affection, selfishness, lust, etc.? Can you truly love others if you do not know God?
  • If the love you show others is not motivated by God, are you really saved?
  • In verses 9-10, what is the ultimate definition and demonstration (what action did God take) of the phrase “God is love”?
  • The word “so” in verse 11 takes us back to God’s ultimate demonstration of love for us in verses 9-10. Think about the people in your life. What are some practical ways you can “so love” one another the way God, through Christ, loved you?
  • Verse 12 tells us “no one has ever seen God.” How can the world know of God’s love if they have never seen Him? What does the remainder of the verse tell us about how they are to learn of God’s love?

1 John 4:13-15

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 15: Do my words and actions confess Christ?

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

  • How do we know, according to verse 13, that we belong to Christ? How can we tell if we have the Spirit? In what ways do our actions show that we have the Holy Spirit?
  • John says he and his fellow Christians testify about Jesus. (14) They verbally proclaim salvation through Christ to others. This is a mark of the Christian. Do you share the gospel with others? If not, are you really saved?
  • Does verse 15 mean that anyone who says the words, “Jesus is the Son of God,” is a Christian? What does it mean to “confess” Jesus? Is it just the words we say or is there more to it? What role does the heart play in this confession?

1 John 4:16-21

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 16: Am I afraid of God’s judgment?

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Verse 16 makes an interesting statement: “we have come to know AND to believe the love that God has for us.”

  • What is the difference between knowing God’s love for you and believing God’s love for you? Do you both know AND believe God’s love for you?

Verses 17-18 talk about “perfect” love and being “perfected” in love, but will we ever love God perfectly, or perfectly know and believe His love for us? Not this side of Heaven. Thank goodness these verses aren’t about our imperfect love for Christ, but, rather, Christ’s perfect love for us! The Greek word translated as perfect or perfected means to accomplish or consecrate, to carry through completely, to add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full. In other words, Christ’s love is accomplished or made full in you when He saves you.

  • What does the perfect, saving love of Christ give us, according to the middle part of verse 17? What does the last part of the verse, “as he is so also are we in this world” mean? Who is “he”? Why would this give us confidence for the day of judgment?
  • What word does verse 18 use to convey the opposite of confidence (17)? While Christians will have confidence and face God’s judgment without fear because we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, how will lost people feel about facing God’s judgment? What do they fear according to the first part of the second sentence of verse 18? What punishment will lost people face?
  • What does our love (or lack of love) for others say about whether or not we truly know God? (20) What does verse 20 call people who claim to love God but do not love others? Are such people saved?

 

This week we’ve looked at four more checkpoints in our “Am I Really Saved?” study:

Do I follow false teachers?

Is my motivation for love Christocentric?

Do my words and actions confess Christ?

Am I afraid of God’s judgment?

Saved people don’t cling stubbornly to false teachers. They can usually sense when a teacher is “off” in some way, even if they can’t quite put their finger on what’s wrong. They welcome, rather than argue against, people who show them, from Scripture, why a false teacher is false. Their love for others springs from Christ’s love for them, and their words, actions and attitudes confess the Christ who lives in their hearts. They have no fear of God’s judgment and long to see their precious Savior.

Unsaved people are drawn to false teachers and angrily fight against those who try to warn them away. They may demonstrate actions and feelings that seem like love for others, but because God is the definition of love, and they don’t know Him, they can’t truly love others. Rather than confessing Christ, their words and actions testify that they don’t know Christ, and because of this, they are fearful and uncertain about God’s judgment and the punishment they face in eternity.

Additional Resources:

1 John 4– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Herein Is Love– by Charles Spurgeon

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 15-16)

1 John Bible Study

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 2: Dealing with Sin

1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 2: Dealing With Sin
Please Read: 1 John 1

Previous Lessons: 1

(Helpful Hint: Using the cross-references {footnotes to related verses} provided in your Bible or in the Bible Gateway links I’ve provided will be very helpful as you study.)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 1:1-4

As we saw in our introductory lesson last week, in the opening verses of chapter 1, John places a great deal of emphasis on the fact that he was an eyewitness to the ministry and teaching of Christ.

  • What are some key words and phrases in verses 1-4 that show John was tangibly present with Jesus during His ministry?
  • Why would this eyewitness testimony have been important in terms of John’s credibility? As you read the rest of 1 John, do you believe John has the right and the credentials to make the claims he makes (in addition to being inspired by the Holy Spirit)?

1 John 1:5-10

If you’ve never studied 1 John before, one thing you might find interesting is that John, generally speaking, is a pretty black and white kind of guy. He sometimes uses words that draw a sharp contrast between one end of a spectrum and the other as he does here in the last half of the chapter.

  • What are the two contrasting words John repeatedly uses in the first half of this section?
  • What/Whom does “light” represent? “Darkness”?
  • What is the key word for the second half of this section?

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 1: Do I walk in the light or the darkness? (6-7)

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

  • What does it mean to “have fellowship” with God? What are some words we use, labels we claim, behaviors we display, or activities we participate in that “say we have fellowship with him”?
  • What does it mean to “walk in darkness”? Do you think you might be walking in darkness while claiming to be a Christian?
  • What label does John use for people who live a lifestyle of walking in darkness while they simultaneously claim to be Christians? Are they really born again?
  • What does it mean to “walk in the light as He is in the light”? Does this mean we will never sin? How does the end of verse 7 answer this question?
  • Verse 7 tells us two results of walking in the light as He is in the light. What are those results? How does it impact the church when its members walk in the light? When they walk in darkness?

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 2: Do I confess or deny my sin?

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Most of us wouldn’t boldly stand up and say we’ve never sinned, but what about justifying our sin or denying that something is a sin when the Bible clearly says it is? Have you ever heard (or said) things like:

“I’m gay because God made me this way.”

“It’s just a little white lie.”

“It’s OK if we live together because we love each other and we’re married in God’s eyes.”

“God called me (a woman) to be a preacher.”

“I’ll respect my husband when he starts acting respectable.”

“She started it.”

  • Aren’t statements and actions like these saying “we have no sin”?
  • Verse 8 gives us two results of saying we have no sin. What are those two results? Verse 10 gives us two more results of saying we have not sinned. What are those two results?
  • What does it mean to “make him a liar”? (10) What do our actions say to others about God? What is another way to say “the truth is not in us” (8) and “his word is not in us” (10)? What implications do those phrases have for our lives?
  • Verse 9 gives us two results of confessing out sins. What are thse two results? How, and to whom should we confess our sins?

This week, we are examining our salvation with regard to the way we deal with sin in our lives. A person who is genuinely born again will still sin, but she will agree with the Bible about what constitutes sin. She will be grieved over her sin, confess it to God (and others when appropriate), ask forgiveness and cleansing, and will want to avoid that sin. Her greatest desire will be to walk in holiness and to be conformed to the image of Christ out of her love for Him.

An unsaved person cares nothing about holiness beyond her appearance to others. She might do and say “churchy” things, but her heart isn’t truly in it, because, not having been born again, she has no love for Christ. She will unrepentantly persist in her sin, even arguing that the Bible is wrong, outdated, or doesn’t apply to her when confronted with her sin.

Do you walk in repentance or persist in sin? Do you desire real, inward holiness or just the outward appearance of being a good person? Prayerfully examine your heart, asking God to make clear to you the way you regard your sin, and repenting of any sin He reveals. Thank Him for the foriveness He promises through the blood of Christ.

Additional Resources:

1 John 1– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

The Certainty of Sin, Part 1– John MacArthur

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 5-6)

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Judges 10

judges 10 15

 

Judges 10

After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.

After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

10 And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines?12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.

17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. Why did God place judges in authority over Israel?

2. Why was God angry with Israel? (v. 6-7) Which Commandment was Israel guilty of violating? How does Judges 10:7 illustrate that God is a jealous God?

3. Why is it so important to God that his people worship Him alone? What can we as Christians learn from God’s anger towards Israel in this chapter? How does this passage relate to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18?

4. In verse 10 and verse 15, Israel cries out to the Lord, confessing, “We have sinned.” Is there a difference between the two confessions? Were these confessions genuine sorrow over sin? How can you tell? What action on Israel’s part follows the second confession? (v. 16)

5. What does the word “impatient” mean in verse 16? Examine this verse in the HCSB, NASB, NIV, and KJV translations. How can cross checking other reliable translations aid in your study of God’s word?

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Psalm 51

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Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers

Forgiveness, Obedience, Old Testament, Sin, Sunday School

David’s Sin: You da Man! ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 5-18-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 20 ~ May 11-17
1 Chronicles 19-20, 2 Samuel 10-18, Psalm 20, 65-67, 69-70, 32, 51, 86, 122, 3-4, 12-13, 28, 55
David’s Sin: You da Man!

 

www-St-Takla-org--david

How could David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), sink to the level of committing adultery and murder? What was he thinking? How did he respond to being confronted by Nathan? What can we learn about how to deal with our own sin?

2 Samuel 11, 12:1-15, Psalm 51

2 Samuel 11- Setting the Stage for Sin

v. 1- “But David remained at Jerusalem.”
As we’ve read about David’s previous battles, where did we always find David when the fighting was going on? Back at the palace? No. He was out there with his men, leading things. This time, he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be. Can you think of a time when you were somewhere you knew you shouldn’t have been, which led to temptation?

v. 3- Eliam and Uriah: Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:34, 39)
Both Eliam and Uriah were part of David’s mighty men. These weren’t just nameless, faceless Joe Blows in his army, but part of his inner circle who had been with him through thick and thin with fierce loyalty.

v. 4- The paternity test
Lest there be any question that maybe this was Uriah’s baby after all, verse 4 makes clear that the reason David saw Bathsheba bathing was that she was cleansing herself after “that time of the month.” David took her afterwards and Uriah was miles away at the battle, so only David could have been the father.

v. 8- Making Whoopee
(If you don’t know what that means, you’re not old enough to remember “The Newlywed Game” from the 1960s-70s. YouTube it.) “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” Since washing was done right before bed, this idiom meant for Uriah to go home and enjoy “knowing” his wife in the biblical sense.

thv. 9-13- A man of valor
Uriah, possibly inspired by David’s past honorable leadership, acted more valiantly and loyally here than his king did.

v. 4, 26- A willing participant?
Notice that this passage doesn’t tell us anything about what Bathsheba was thinking or feeling about all this. Remember, David was the king. You didn’t say no to the king if you wanted to live, especially if you were a woman. And furthermore, she knew he was “God’s anointed.” Surely such a man wouldn’t lead her to do anything wrong, would he? So, even if Bathsheba had been attracted to David, there was some level of coercion and advantage taking going on here on David’s part. Verse 26 makes a special point of telling us that she lamented over her husband. She loved him. David didn’t just sin with Bathsheba, he also sinned against her.

v. 27- Evil
I think in this case, the HCSB captures this verse better than the ESV (my preferred/usual translation): “The Lord considered what David had done to be evil.” That pretty much sums up what David had done, and it sums up our sin in God’s eyes as well. Evil.

 

2 Samuel 12:1-15- A Guilty Verdict

v. 1- Confronathan
Nathan wasn’t just a prophet; he was David’s friend and adviser. God sent him to confront David about his sin, and gave him the wisdom and the words to do it in exactly the right way.

v.1-4- The cast of characters
The rich man represented David. The poor man represented Uriah. The lamb represented Bathsheba. What do you think the traveler represented?

v. 4- Leaving out the welcome mat for temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The traveler represented David’s temptation. Temptation is a lot like a visit from a traveling salesman. It comes and goes, it shows up unexpectedly, and it always tries to get you to spend more than you want to on something that seems fabulous but never lives up to the hype. When temptation rang David’s doorbell, he flung open the door and welcomed it in as an invited guest. As new creatures in Christ, we don’t have to do that. 1 Corinthians 10 says God will always provide a way for us to escape temptation.

One of those ways of escape is to not be home to answer the door. As I mentioned earlier, David wasn’t even supposed to be home when that temptation came around. He was supposed to be out on the battlefield with his troops. One way to avoid temptation is to be where you’re supposed to be and not be where you’re not supposed to be.

v. 4- Offering sacrifices to the idol of self
We also see in verse 4 that the rich man not only refused to send the traveler away and welcomed him in, but he also slaughtered a lamb to feed the traveler. The Israelites did slaughter lambs for food, but what else did they slaughter lambs for? Sacrifices.

David didn’t just welcome temptation in, he sacrificed for it. He was no longer sacrificing to honor God, but to gratify his own selfish desires. He sacrificed things that belonged to him—his integrity, his morals, his reputation, his example to his people, and his relationship with God. But he also sacrificed Bathsheba and Uriah who did NOT belong to him.

What are some ways we might sacrifice things, or others, for sin?

v. 5-6- The log in his eye (Matthew 7:3-5)
Isn’t it interesting how we can so clearly see the sin of others while simultaneously being blind to our own sin? “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)

“He had no pity.” David never considered how his actions would affect Uriah and Bathsheba. He only thought about himself. Temptation and sin blind us to what we’re doing to ourselves, others, and God.

v. 7ff- Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6, Galatians 6:1-2, John 15:13)
Nathan was acting in three roles here. He was David’s friend, his brother in the Lord, and the man of God, and he loved David in all three capacities by showing him his sin. In the same way, we are to love our friends, our sisters in Christ, E1221909136and those under our spiritual leadership or influence. We care enough about them to help them out of sin, even at the risk of the relationship (Gal. 6)

Nathan confronted David wisely. Remember, David was the king—he could do (and had done) whatever he wanted to do, and he had already killed one man. Nathan knew this going in. Nathan also acted lovingly, boldly, and firmly. His commitment to what God had told him to do was greater than the love of his own life (John 15) or the love of his relationship with David. How often do we look the other way to keep the peace or preserve a relationship with someone instead of obeying what God has told us to do?

v. 7-9- Against Thee, Thee only…
I, I, I, I… Notice how many times God refers to Himself in these three verses? He is making it clear—and David gets the message as we will see in Psalm 51:4—that it is primarily God against whom David has sinned. Though others may be casualties or collateral damage (as Uriah and Bathsheba were), when we sin, we set ourselves up as enemies of God and wage war against Him.

v. 8- Gimme, gimme (Hebrews 13:5)
If all God had blessed him with had not been enough, God would have given him more. The fact that God had not given him more shows us that God had given David exactly what He wanted him to have. But David was not content with all the blessings God had given him. He selfishly wanted things God didn’t want him to have.

v. 9-10- Hatred for God’s word = Hatred for God
“Despised” and “evil”- When we sin, no matter how “small” it is, we are showing hatred for God’s word. Hating God’s word is evil. Notice in v. 9, “you have despised the word of the Lord,” and in v. 10, “you have despised me.” To despise God’s word is to despise God Himself.

v. 11-12- Public discipline for private sin? (Numbers 32:23)
Why did God discipline David publicly when he had sinned privately?

First, David had not sinned completely privately. Many people knew at least part of what he had done: the servants he sent to take Bathsheba in the first place (4), the servants who were in the house at the time(s) of the affair, Joab, likely several of the soldiers serving directly under Joab and with Uriah, probably the messenger who brought word of Uriah’s death, Nathan, and of course, Bathsheba herself. And you can bet that a lot of those people didn’t keep what they knew to themselves. “Your sin will find you out,” (Num. 32) is certainly true, especially for sins of this magnitude.

With all those people knowing what David had done, how would it reflect on God if He disciplined David privately? It would look as though God had given him a pass, that certain, special people were above God’s law. That’s how things were for kings of pagan nations. Israel and Israel’s God were different, not like the other nations. Furthermore, it would have diminished God’s justice in the eyes of Israel if God disciplined David privately and Israel couldn’t see it. How could they trust His justice if it looked like His justice was inconsistent?

Second, David was famous, highly visible. Like it or not, he set an example for the people. When he did right, it was a good example. Here, he did wrong and it was a bad example. Through his actions and God’s visible discipline, the people learned what not to do in their own lives.

v. 13- Admission of guilt
David didn’t try to justify his sin or retaliate against Nathan. It is precisely because he was a man after God’s own heart that he simply and humbly confessed, “I have sinned.”

v. 13-14- God’s merciful forgiveness
Because David confessed his sin and repented of it, God mercifully forgave him. While David had said the “rich man” should die for his sin (5), and David was guilty of crimes deserving the death penalty, God removed that penalty from him. The consequences of his sin would remain (the death of the baby), but the punishment was taken away.

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Psalm 51- Repentance and Restoration

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.