Vol. 7, No. 9
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
While reading Psalm 50:1-2, I was struck by David's request for forgiveness. He asked God to blot out his transgressions, to wash him thoroughly of his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. Scholars tell us this is the Psalm David prayed after his sin with Bathsheba. In any case, it made me look more closely at David's prayer regarding the different ways we disobey God. This passage points out we disobey God by our transgressions, our iniquities and our sin. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, these words are defined as follows:
Transgression = To rebel, to revolt; an absolute breaking away from; living an apostate way of life.
Iniquity = To bend, to deviate from the way; to do wickedly; consequence of an unrighteous act that passes through the generations.
Sin = To pass beyond the limits set by God, to miss the mark, to be guilty of hostility toward God, to cross over a boundary.
In Psalm 19:13 we read, "Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me, then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression." Vine defines presumptuous sin as "not dreading or shunning through fear, to be very bold, shameless and irreverent daring."
In the model prayer of Matthew 6:9-15, Jesus uses the word trespasses when asking for forgiveness. He said, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Verses 14-15). Vine defines trespasses as "primarily a false step, a blunder, a deviation from uprightness and truth, a fall beside."
There are numerous biblical examples of these five ways that we disobey God. An example of each will be noted as follows.
When Eve disobeyed God and she was called into account, God asked her what was this she had done? Eve did not possess the mental capacity to comprehend the gravity of the sin she had committed! Paul addresses it this way: "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression." (1 Timothy 2:13-14). Do we understand the consequences of our disobedience at times can be catastrophic?
When the children of Israel disobeyed God in rebellion against the report of Joshua and Caleb regarding the taking of the Promised Land, they paid with their lives! Every person from 20 years old and above died in the wilderness! God told the 10 faithless spies, "And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your iniquity one year, namely forty years, and you shall know my rejection" (Numbers 14:33-34). Do we realize the consequences of our wrong doing and wrong choices sometimes cause others to suffer?
When Stephen stood boldly before the Jews, he called them stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. He went on to say their fathers had persecuted the prophets who had been sent to them, and they had become the betrayers and murders of Jesus Christ! Luke records, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." "And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:54; 59-60, emphasis added). What is our reaction when our sins are pointed out to us?
When Peter wrote his second letter, in chapter two he addresses the dangers, destruction and description of false teachers. In his description of the depravity of these false teachers he writes, "...the Lord knows how to deliver the ungodly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries" (2 Peter 2:9-10, emphasis added). What about us? Do we despise the authority of the leaders in the church? Are we self-willed, self-seeking and self-serving?
When Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, he addressed trespasses. In Galatians 6:1 he wrote, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (emphasis added). Are we kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving?
We all have our crosses to bear as we attempt daily to follow Christ. We must support, encourage and pray for one another at all times because our adversary the devil is seeking whom he may devour!
When we become more painfully aware of just how despicable sin is in the sight of God, we will sin less, and less, and less! We will pray the prayer that David prayed, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 129:23-24).