Why do we do it? Why do we keep our sin to ourselves?
In Romans 4:7-8, Paul quotes a Psalm of David when he writes, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
In chapter four of Paul’s letter, his main point is about justification by faith. One of Paul’s arguments is to quote David. David wrote of his great relief in living in the forgiveness of God. It came from no work of his own. In confession of his sin to God, he found forgiveness in the grace of God. In talking about this, David defines forgiveness as sin being covered and sin not being counted against him. He’s totally aware that he is guilty of sin and talks in a way that he describes God’s forgiveness as blessedness. This means that David is living with a contented joy in his life because forgiveness has removed all concern that sin will be counted against him when he stands before God on his final day. Paul’s point is that if this is something we have to work to achieve, we will never cut it. Forgiveness of sin is something that can only be given as a free gift by the one who has been sinned against.
Forgiveness is something that only the guilty can receive. If a man is wrongly condemned and then it is rectified, we would call that justice. When it comes to the human position before God, if we are to receive justice, our guilt demands the eternal consequences of our sin. John tells us that in the confession of sin that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This actually means that God is faithful to forgive because he has promised to do so for all who come to him in faith. It also means he is just to forgive because the sin has not gone unpunished. Instead of us receiving the eternal consequence of our sin, Christ has borne the punishment in our place and The Father has accepted his substitutionary sacrifice. Forgiveness has to be the greatest possible relief that any of us can possibly experience. Sin has not gone unpunished and we are free from its debt.
In the Psalm that Paul quoted, David also recounts his position when the guilt of sin was continually contributing to his spiraling depression. He says, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3-4). I can imagine that before the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin with Bathseba and killing Uriah, David was a walking example of the terror of guilt. The best gift David could have received was to be confronted with his sin and to come to repentance finding the forgiveness of God. Guilt is a gift from God, never to be suppressed, but to lead us to a confession of sin.
Having given account of his position prior to confession and repentance of sin, David then gives an account of having confessed his sin and receiving God’s forgiveness. He then describes what God’s forgiveness becomes for him. “Therefore, let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from my trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (32:6-7).
So, why do we do it? Why do we keep our sin to ourselves? Why do so many of us harbor sin day in and day out without running to our refuge and deliverance? Why would we resist from confessing our sin to our God who has both ability and desire to forgive? Why would we groan all day long under the fear of his holy wrath rather than being delivered into his preserving love?
Why would any of us not daily confess unto the Lord as we live in the daily reminder of his infinite mercy? Search me Lord, and see if there be any wicked way in me.