Conceal, confess, convert

This is chapter 2 of Your sins are forgiven

a manual for the ‘class of forgiveness’

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28 verse 13, NIV).

When a baby is conceived and born, both the father and mother should confess their sin – not about the pregnancy or the baby but – about their transgression of God’s commandment.

Do you agree with the final sentence of chapter 1?

Maybe you think: Why does the church say it is sin to have sex before marriage? This is what all our young people do, with or without contraceptives. It may not be smart to have a baby while you are in school. But why is it wrong when everyone does it?

Wrong in God’s eyes

When do we say something is a sin? Not when people say it is wrong. ‘To sin’ means to transgress the law of God. It is sin when it is wrong in the eyes of the Lord.

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A clear example in the Bible is the story of king David.

Please open your Bible and read 2 Samuel chapter 11 verses 1-27.

David was very much loved and blessed by the Lord. But he abused his position by sleeping with Uriah’s wife and by having her husband killed. Were the people in Jerusalem aware of it? Even if they were – “What can we do? David is the king.” They had to accept it.

But the Lord was not pleased with what David had done (2 Samuel 11:27 GNB).

People may accept a certain tradition or lifestyle. But what does God say? He sent his prophet to David to rebuke him and to punish him: “Why did you do this evil thing?” (see 2 Samuel 12).

Concealing or confessing

It took king David a long time before he confessed his sin. He tried to continue with his life as if nothing had happened.

Please open your Bible and read Psalm 32 verses 3-5.

Did you ever as a child lie to your parents? You broke that beautiful tea cup. But you behaved as if you were innocent: “No mum, I don’t know!”  – It is not nice to have such a secret. You dare not look your mum in her eyes. Trying to hide your sins will not make you happy …

David knew something stood between him and God. It made him sick to his stomach. Until … he confessed his sins and asked for forgiveness. Read the second part of Psalm 32 to see the difference. David is still in trouble but now he knows God is with him to protect him.

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Sex before marriage is a sin that displeases the Lord.

Do not try to ignore or conceal it. Go to God in prayer and tell him what happened. Ask your pastor or someone else to pray with you.

Then you will – like David – experience the joy of being forgiven (1 John 1:7-2:2):

… the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (…)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Forgiven and forgotten

Is it possible to forgive and forget?

Not for us as human beings. If someone asks you to forgive what he did – “I am sorry for the pain I caused you! Please, forgive me!” – you may try to do so. But it is difficult to trust that person again. And when he does the same thing again, you will remember his former mistakes. How could you forget?

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But our Lord really forgives and forgets.

Christ came on earth to take your sins away. He died on the cross because of your transgressions. If you confess your sins, his blood purifies you from whatever you did. Do you believe that?

[God] who blots out your transgressions … and remembers your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25).

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of [your people]? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19).

Thanks to Jesus, your sins really are forgiven and forgotten!

Confess and renounce

It is not enough to confess your sin. Whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy (Proverbs 28:13 NIV). “Confess them and give them up“ (GNB).

Being sorry and asking for forgiveness because of having sex before marriage does not help if you are continuing to do the same sin again. It would be like a thief asking for forgiveness for this theft and then returning to stealing again …

Do you and your boyfriend / girlfriend have plans to marry?

  • If not, how real is your remorse? Do you think you will be able to change your lifestyle and not to have sex again before you are legally married?
  • If yes, how do you see the way forward? Are there plans to pay lobola? Is there a date set for the wedding?  Do you think you will be able not to have sex again before you are legally married?

We cannot cover all the different situations. It is important to discuss it honestly with your partner, with your parents and with your pastor.

In that discussion you can also talk about the Marriage Policy, sections 4 and 5.

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