Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: July 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Census, Consensus, and Censorship

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).
Over the last 40 years I have been involved in many fellowships of churches or pastors. I won’t list them all, but each provided some blessings to me and much encouragement from other fellow Christians. I have never been part of a Convention of Churches because I believe that joining such an organization creates something larger than the local church and I believe that would be unscriptural. The associations or fellowships that I participated with, whether they were of local churches or pastors, never had any authority over the local church I pastored or any say in the decisions of those churches. We were bonded together merely by a chain of sand in like precious faith and in our missional purposes.
Although there are great blessings in being part of a fellowship/association of local churches or pastors, I have also discovered some things that I think can be very dangerous to both individuals and to local churches. I believe any individual or local church involved with these kinds or organizations needs to guard against three things that I see that develop and grow within these organizations:
1. Census
2. Consensus
3. Censorship
The central meaning of the word census is the counting of people and the accounting of their property holdings and wealth for the purpose of taxation. Census is about numbers. There is nothing wrong with counting things. The problems begin with what we do with those numbers.
Often, when I go to fellowship meetings, the first question other pastors ask me is, “How many are you running now?” In most cases, they do not really care how many people are attending church services where I pastor. They are keeping score. The mentality of this thinking is that a person’s importance is measured by the number of people that come to hear him preach, the size of the church’s budget and missions giving, and the size of the church’s facilities. Those with larger ministries are looked up to by those with lesser sized ministries. When I have pastored larger sized churches and had this happen to me, I was offended by it. I was especially offended by the fact that I was promoted in the eyes of others simply because of this, when there were many more noble, spiritually mature, and gifted men who were seldom given the opportunity to speak before the fellowship, or chosen for leadership positions.
One state fellowship of churches I participated in was an especially sweet fellowship because the leadership carefully guarded against this kind of nonsense. It was often said that this state fellowship of churches was superior because it did not have any big shots in it. Of course, it did have men who had large churches and most of those men were deeply spiritual men and very gifted. They were also very humble men. Perhaps that was the very reason their ministries were very successful in bringing glory to God and seeing much fruit.
State and nation wide Bible conferences often choose their speakers on the basis of the size and the success of their ministries as well. In an attempt to attract large numbers of pastors and people to these conferences, big name preachers are brought in to fill the platform. In a success oriented society we tend to gravitate to people who we view to have achieved what we are working toward. We think they will have a key that we have not discovered or some new program that was successful that we might implement to be our own springboard to similar results. All of this generates, or perhaps is generated from, very humanistic thinking that is separated from the true supernatural spiritual dynamic involved in true church growth.
It is important to interject here that in pointing out theses dangers that must be guarded against, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. The vast majority of these big name preachers are humble, spiritual men who have amassed enormous wisdom over their years in the ministry. They have a great deal to offer to the masses that attend these conferences. However, we must constantly be on guard against hero worship and glory theft. Genuinely humble people manifest humility in very practical ways. They will refuse to receive glory for what God has done through them. There is a great danger in ego worship within pastoral circles and it tends to generate pride. The truly great men of God have always guarded against these things from within their peer groups and carefully guarded their own hearts from being pierced by the deadly arrows of pride and self-promotion, to which all men are susceptible.

The word consensus simply means general agreement or concord; harmony. Within most pastor’s fellowships or local church fellowships consensus is the basis for the existence of the fellowship in the first place. These people gather together because they share communion in doctrine and purpose. The central focus in these gatherings is upon edification and encouragement in the “work of the ministry.” These are very good and noble purposes that deserve to be promoted. Many pastors are discouraged and need encouragement. Many are struggling with finances, personal and family issues, and just the everyday difficulties of trying to teach sheep to fly. I do not want to criticize these very precious necessities of edification and encouragement within these fellowships of pastors or local churches. Holding up one another’s arms is often one of the most important things one Christian can do for another. When I attend these gatherings, I try to be sensitive to the other men around me and try to provide some encouragement if possible.
However, there is also a great danger within most fellowships that promotes Centrism. Centrism is a political word. It is the very reason many men refuse to be part of fellowships of pastors and local churches; they hate political maneuvering in that they view it as manipulative. Centrism purposefully adopts a middle of the road position, or course of action, that controls everything that happens within the fellowship. Centrism promotes Moderatism, which is just another word for progressive lukewarmness. The danger is in the promotion of unity in purpose above unity in doctrine. This forms a pseudo-consensus that tends towards inclusivism.
The very nature of true consensus is exclusivistic. In other words, to create a pseudo-unity with pseudo-consensus destroys the very nature of true consensus. Theological consensus in doctrine and purpose must be actual, not merely philosophical. Consensus that is manufactured by avoiding areas of disagreement in doctrine or purpose is artificial and false. Creating a pseudo-unity with pseudo-consensus removes the necessity for separation by individuals from the fellowship by avoiding the discussion of anything that might challenge the pseudo-unity. I believe this is why almost all fellowships eventually become New Evangelical. It is because they want to maintain a wide base of theological positions. Over the years this wide base grows wider and wider. They create a pseudo-unity with pseudo-consensus and then criticize those who leave the fellowship and label them as extreme because they refuse to be partners in the pseudo-unity and pseudo-consensus. Evil is inherent in these kinds of practices.
Bible colleges and seminaries are not immune to this kind of Group Think. In many cases they create the Group Think and write its syllabus. They understand that they draw their students from a wide stream of churches and they want to keep that stream as wide as possible. Many pastors, who are alumni of a college they once attended, falsely assume that the same things they were taught when they attended are still being taught. Alumni tend to have a loyalty to their Alma Mater that is above their loyalty to the Truth. This is a great evil. Pastors need to spend a day or, even better, a number of days in the classrooms of colleges and seminaries they recommend so they can actually hear and see what is being taught. They should personally question professors and teachers regarding their theological beliefs before they recommend a school. They should question school leaders about their views about certain theological positions and how things deemed as aberrations are dealt with in the student body and amongst the faculty. Inclusivism always breeds broader Inclusivism.
These kinds of fellowships and schools want to avoid being labeled. They will often avoid using a label that takes on negative connotations and narrows the base from which they draw their support. Many times they simply invent a new label that they define and then apply it to themselves. I believe this is what is happening in the use of the new label: Conservative Evangelicals. These individuals want to separate themselves from narrower and more exclusivistic labels in order to maintain a wider and more inclusivistic base within their constituency. This is why these types or organizations do not simply abandon the fundamentalism that they so adamantly and regularly criticize. They still want to be influential within fundamentalism in transitioning people away from that which they criticize to their kumbaya Conservative Evangelicalism. This is Rodney King Evangelicalism; “can’t we, can’t we just all get along!” Therefore, the critics keep one foot in Fundamentalism as they seek to destroy it and lead as many out of Fundamentalism as possible before they will finally and ultimately be abandoned by those they criticize.
Secondly, these kinds of fellowships and schools seek to redefine theological positions by changing emphasis and direction within theological positions. This can be seen in the following quote from Dr. Kevin Bauder from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, MN in an article from a few years ago:

“It has been suggested that we practice ecclesiastical separation because we are concerned about the purity of the church. Strictly speaking, that is not true. We practice ecclesiastical separation because we are concerned about the purity of the gospel.”[1]
When certain areas of theological discussion are purposefully eliminated from theological dialogue within a fellowship in order to create a pseudo-consensus, there usually develops a strong sense of covert censorship within fellowships. Certain voices cannot be allowed to be heard if the pseudo-consensus is to be maintained. The fact that this censorship is covert is especially evil.
This covert censorship is usually done through private assassination by innuendo. Another word for this is gossip. Covert censorship takes place when any person poses a threat to the pseudo-consensus of the Group Think. Such a person’s influence must be limited or eliminated in order to maintain the pseudo-consensus. This person then becomes a sacrificial lamb sacrificed to the pseudo-consensus. The wickedness of this all is that the person’s position that is being censored is often (usually) misrepresented.
This covert censorship is manifested in the another article by Dr. Bauder under the guise of presenting individuals or local churches with certain positions as abnormal, and like some kind of infection that needs to be removed from a fellowship.

“Much of what transpires under the name of fundamentalism is not the idea, but rather appurtenances. If fundamentalism is going to be made healthy, it needs a good expectorant. A few boils need to be lanced. Perhaps some tumors will require surgery. These procedures may cause discomfort, but they are done for the health of the body.
Someone who criticizes the phlegm and pus may not hate the body, but rather desire its health. Someone may lay a tumor bare because the tumor disfigures and threatens the body. The body is healthier without it.”[2]

The “phlegm and pus” in the “body of Christ” referred to in this article is anyone who believes that ecclesiastical separation is mainly about “purity of the church,” rather than just the “purity of the gospel.” This is a dangerous change and reduction in the historical position of Baptist separatism. In other words, there is no longer any need to separate from other religious organizations over errors in Pneumatology, Christology, Eschatology, Ecclesiology, Anthropology, or any other area that does not affect the “purity of the gospel.”
Covert censorship is certainly seen today in fellowships and schools in the discussion of textual preservation, Bible translations, and in the rise of Calvinism, Reformed Theology, and Covenant Theology within Baptist circles. In order to maintain a pseudo-consensus, there is covert censorship that just will not allow discussion of these issues. The influence of those who think these issues need to be exposed as heretical are covertly censored by taking away the credibility of their voice by labeling them as extreme. They certainly will never be allowed to be addressed from any platform or pulpit provided by the fellowship or school. These issues are divisive and therefore cannot be allowed to challenge the pseudo-consensus. The very fact that the discussion and preaching on these kinds of issues is covertly eliminated manifests a promotion of Inclusivism over orthodoxy. This too is a great evil. The consensus to allow this evil is in every way that which generates the pseudo-consensus.
I have no objection to censorship. Every pastor I know protects what is taught from his pulpit by censorship. However, it is unethical to do so covertly. If I disagree with what a man believes, I tell him so personally. He will not be allowed to preach from the pulpit the Lord has put under my guardianship, even if he agrees not to speak on the area we disagree on. A man who holds to heresy is a heretic. I have a responsibility to tell another man that I believe his beliefs will lead people astray if they are allowed to be preached. I may have friends who I believe are heretics, but I do not partner (“fellowship”) with them in the “work of the ministry.” They should do the same with me if they believe my beliefs are heretical. I will not be offended by that. However, I will be offended by the unethical practice of covert censorship in order to maintain a pseudo-consensus. I view this as extremely wicked.
Another aspect of this dynamic is self-censorship by the individuals within a fellowship in order to be able to hold leadership positions within the fellowship. I know of many men who strongly disagree with the acceptable and unacceptable norms (the pseudo-consensus), but who refuse to publicly address things they think will not be acceptable because of political reasons. They think they will not be asked to hold a position, speak at the fellowship gatherings, or be given recommendations to another pastorate should they need one. These men will totally avoid talking publicly or privately about divisive issues lest they be labeled divisive. This is an aberration in that Christ said, “34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:34-37). Neutrality is a position that is equal to unfaithfulness. To self-censor is to be silenced by selfishness and self-protection. Self-censorship because of fear of the consequences of speaking out is an act of cowardice.
I have often wondered how the Apostle Paul would have fared in many of these fellowships. I think we can be confident that he would never self-censor. I think we can also be confident that he would never minimize any doctrine to generate a pseudo-unity. In fact, I think we can be confident that this is exactly the substance of his warning to Timothy and all future generations of preachers.
What does it really mean when a person says, “We agree to disagree”? In my experience, that means two disagreeing people agree that they will not discuss those things they disagree about so as to have a pseudo-unity built upon a pseudo-consensus. I think God has a word for that; ABOMINATION! It can also be spelled C-O-M-P-R-O-M-I-S-E! Those willing to enter into such alliances based on this pseudo-consensus have sacrificed their spiritual integrity for pseudo-unity. This too is a great evil. When the voice of dissent is silenced by self-censorship, it becomes a voice of consent.

[2] Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, “Now about Thoses Differences, Part One: Why This Discussion?” In the Nick of Time, May 28, 2010
A PDF of this article is available upon request along with a Power Point presentation. Send request to: LanceKetchum@msn.com

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, July 5, 2010


1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar” (Psalm 51:1-19).

The introduction to this Psalm tells us that it is written “To the chief Musician.” This is important in that this Psalm of confession and repentance was to be sung by the priests before the congregation of Israel. There is an absolute kind of acceptance of accountability and transparency in this introductory instruction. This is what is meant by verse 3, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” The eternal consequences of this particular chain of sins in David’s life would be a continual testimony of his transgression to all generations of mankind and into eternity. We will never know the impact of one moment of selfishness upon the lives of those we hurt, and those we lead astray by sin, until we see those results at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No one will possess genuine repentance until he can genuinely reflect upon the hurt caused to so many and the all encompassing eternal consequences.

“Have mercy upon me, O God”

David is not pleading his case before God or trying to justify his actions in any way. There is no blame-shifting or the devil made me do it cop-out. This is a defining characteristic of genuine repentance. There is no plea bargaining or talk of Bathsheba should not have been on that roof naked. David accepts the full responsibility for his sin and throws himself upon the mercy of God.

The request for “mercy” is asking for something not deserved. The plea of David for mercy goes beyond this in that he is asking for mercy in the place of what is deserved due to his monstrous chain of sin. David deserved to lose his position as king and he deserved to be stoned to death for his crime. His plea for mercy acknowledges his guilt and what he deserved. Sin under the Law is always viewed as a criminal offense deserving justice. David’s plea for mercy does not demand forgiveness. It is a plea that God be merciful toward him regarding his crimes and the administration of justice.

We should remember the circumstances surrounding David’s sin. God had rejected Saul as king of Israel. Saul was not God’s choice. Saul was the people’s choice. David was God chosen king. Yet, in the chain of event surrounding David’s sin, David has become a despotic monarch setting in his royal palace while his friends fight his battles. He had accepted a life of leisure. What is apparent in the account, and amazing, is that David has allowed himself to come to a place where he acts without any real cognizance of God. It is that man of injustice and self-centeredness that Nathan the prophet addresses in II Samuel 12:1-14. As we read Nathan’s confrontation of David in II Samuel 12:1-14, we notice that God does give David mercy in that his life is spared (II Samuel 12:13) and David is allowed to remain as king. Although David was forgiven, what God said He would allow to happen in David’s life in II Samuel 12:10-12 still happened.

1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. 5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. 7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. 13 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. 14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (II Samuel 12:1-14).

God’s chastisement happens when He merely removes His providential hand of protective care and allows evil to run its natural course from its birth fountain. David’s chain of sin was the birth fountain of five outcomes that would impact his children and his household for generations.

1. “The sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me;” Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar and she is defiled before Israel. Her full brother is Absalom, who has his half brother, Amnon, killed (II Samuel 13)

2. “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house;” Absalom would seek to overthrow his father’s throne through insurrection (II Samuel 15).

3. “I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun” (public ridicule and shame because ‘thou didst it secretly;” this was fulfilled by his own son Absalom who took his father’s concubines, II Samuel 16:21-22)

4. The sin “hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme”

5. “The child also that is born unto thee shall surely die”

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).

The emphasis of the statement is that of complete confession of his chain of sins. The word “transgressions” reveals this to refer to the specific chain of sin that began with David’s transgression in becoming a despotic monarch whose first failure was when he stayed at Jerusalem when the rest of the men of Israel went to war. The word “transgressions” refers to public confession and acknowledgement of the whole chain of sins involved in this matter and remorse for all levels of the impact of his moral turpitude.

The statement “my sin is ever before me” reveals that David could not escape the vision of the impact of his chain of sins upon the nation of Israel as a whole, thousands of people connected to the lives of those he had murdered to cover up his sin, and the generations of his own children that would be impacted by his terrible testimony. On top of all of this was the fact that the pagan nations were given opportunity to speak against the Name of God and blaspheme His character.

This conviction of sin literally weighed David down to the place he could do nothing else or think of nothing else. He just could not get away from the depth of the corrupting influence of his failures. His life was immersed in the agony of the sorrow in the lives that surrounded him, which sorrow was a flood caused by his chain of sins and God’s chastisement upon his life. His sins were like arrows that never stopped wounding souls. They would pass through one person’s life only to continue until they hit another, and another, and another, ad infinitum. Although David’s sin was forgiven by God, the consequences of that sin continued before David’s eyes for the rest of his life and into eternity.

The statement “my sin is ever before me” reflect more that remorse and tears for the trouble that had come into David’s life because of his selfishness. These words reflect a mourning that comes from the very depth of his soul. David was mourning for all the hurt he had caused in the lives of so many people and all the hurt that the river of consequences would carry forward into future generations.

The depth of David’s repentance is conditioned upon his understanding of the overwhelming spiritual corruption that his own failures had injected into the lives of all those even remotely connected to his life. This chain of sins was not an accident. This chain of sins was on purpose, but without any consideration of anything beyond the moment of the sin. That is the very nature of selfishness. Therefore, genuine repentance is no longer about the person who committed the sin and started the chain of catastrophic events that would hurt, maimed, and destroy thousands of lives. Genuine repentance is the overwhelming burden that understands all of that hurt and destruction and mourns for those that are injured. There is a loathing of sin and the selfishness of that sin in this kind of repentance. It is not just tears of remorse. Genuine repentance looks into the eyes of those injured by the sin and sees the pain and spiritual anguish caused by the sin and take the full load of the ongoing corruption onto one’s own shoulders acknowledging one’s self as the fountain of that corruption.

The concept of mourning in genuine repentance is not mourning regarding the sin itself. Mourning has to do with the losses regarding the consequences of sin. For instance, when a loved one dies, the more we love that person and the more intimate our relationship was with him, the deeper we mourn over the loss. The more we love someone the more we mourn over the hurt we cause him by our sin. The deeper we love someone generates a depth of mourning and the length of time of that mourning. The sense of loss is always with us. Selfish people reflect a repentance that is more about them than about those they have hurt. This is not genuine repentance.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).

Every “born again” believer is an artistic masterpiece of God in process. Sin is only against the Master Creator. Sin is like graffiti on God’s masterpieces. Sin defaces God’s masterpieces. However, spiritually shallow people see their sin like a smudge upon the glass that covers and protects the masterpiece. They think that forgiveness simply wipes away the smudge and it is never seen again. The fact is that sin mars the masterpiece. Yes, God can rework the masterpiece so the mar is fixed. However, that is the wonder of God’s masterpieces. The mars become part of the masterpiece in process. The mars are an eternal reminder of our selfishness and carelessness. Sadly, the mars of our sin do not merely impact our own lives, but thousands of other lives directly and indirectly touched by our influences. Genuine repentance mourns over those mars on the lives of all others.

Genuine repentance does not want the sin to be forgotten. Yes, it wants the penalty to be removed and the consequences to be minimal, but genuine repentance wants a monument of remembrance erected to the infamy as a warning to all those that follow. Genuine repentance erects this monument of remembrance saying “do not travel this pathway.” That is the purpose of David in Psalm 51. False repentance demands that the offenses of the sin are never brought up or remembered again. That is not the nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness GIVES the sinner a new beginning, but does not necessarily restore the trust that existed in the relationship prior to the sin. The genuinely repentant sinner wants the forgiveness and the new beginning in the process of restoring trust, but he purposely establishes a monument of remembrance to protect those he loves and to remind himself of his own spiritual frailties.

When David says, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,” he is not saying that the consequences of his sin did not affect thousands of others for many generations. He is acknowledging that all of the consequences of his sin were conceived in the womb of wickedness when he began to take God’s grace for granted. His sin took place the moment he forgot God and it blossomed into almost unimaginable destruction from that moment in time.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:13-15).

When David says “and done this evil in thy sight,” he is speaking in judicial terms. He had committed his sins in the presence of God and before God’s eyes. This reflects his understanding of the degree to which his mind had sunk in the view of himself as a despotic monarch. In this view, there was no one above him or to which he needed to be accountable. In this view, his personal choices were above and beyond questioning. In this statement, David acknowledges a Sovereignty above his own and accepts accountability to that Sovereign One. He offers no defense or excuse. God saw, knows, and understands absolutely. Therefore, genuine repentance accepts whatever justice the Sovereign One administers for the punishment of the crime. Yes, David had requested mercy, but he accepts God’s judgment as just regardless of what that judgment might be. The gift of forgiveness does not necessarily mean there will be no consequences for the transgression that was committed. People with disingenuous repentance want forgiveness without providing any kind of accountability or retribution for the damages they have caused. This kind of attitude creates contempt towards the sinner by those he has offended with his moral turpitude. That is because his counterfeit repentance is actually ridiculous. Genuine repentance appeals to those offended and injured for forgiveness and restoration receiving as just any form of continued relationship and taking upon himself the complete responsibility for the restoration of broken fellowship.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

The emphasis here is the inward realities that must precede outward expressions of desire for restoration. There are two broken necessities to genuine repentance.

1. A broken into many pieces or crushed spirit; the idea seems to be that of disassembly. God has taken this person apart. A person with a broken spirit sees himself as having been broken down at the very core of his essence regarding ambitions, desires, and will. In this condition, his only hope is in complete dependence upon God.

2. A broken (or shattered) and contrite (collapsed) heart; this implies a sense of sorrow and remorse that is so deep that the flow of life seems to almost stop. Whatever flows is just more bitterness and sorrow. The person with a broken heart is bleeding to death spiritually and nothing can stop the flow but genuine repentance and humility. That is the picture before us in the “contrite” or collapsed heart. There is nothing of one’s selfishness left. All the putrid vileness of selfishness has been emptied through the broken heart. Until this becomes apparent in the sinner’s speech, emotions, and thoughts, genuine repentance is not yet present.

If you would like this study in PDF or Word, send e-mail to: LanceKetchum@msn.com
There is a question sheet with the file.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.He has served the Lord for over 40 years.