The tragic sin of King David, as heartbreaking and disgusting as it may be to many readers, presents lessons God’s servants need to learn if they want to take the Great Commission seriously. These are some of those lessons.
Sin is not confined to the slums. While it is true that the gospel message often finds greater reception among the poor, those who live in kings’ palaces are not immune to temptation and sin. Some sinners are easy to spot because of their habits and manner. Others, however, because they seem outwardly moral, talk in a civil way, and do good deeds, are just as much in need of Christ as the criminals and the prostitutes. The affluent segments of society need to be targeted with the gospel and prayed for just as much as the typical mission field. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). In other words, our sin separates us from God, who is perfect holiness and God must therefore judge sinful man. Power, prestige, and position do not lessen the temptation to sin.
Sin is deceitful. Left unconfessed, it often leads the sinner to commit it again and even to do what is necessary to cover it up. Sin has a way of blinding people to the fact that it is wrong and can quickly become like a cancer on the soul. It can spread ever so subtly and lead us into all kinds of things that only compound the problem.
Sin displeases the Lord. For some inexplicable reason, sin has a way of convincing the sinner that everything is all right, that God approves of what he has done. Sin, however, is the breaking of God’s law. God is never pleased by sin, nor does He condone any sinful act. Sin committed by a king is no different in God’s eyes from that committed by a pauper.
Sin is a burden. One often does not recognize the increasing weight sin places on the heart and soul of the sinner. It can happen so gradually that the person never knows how burdensome sin is until confession is made.
Sin is forgivable. When confession is made to God, He forgives. The Lord stands ready to hear the sinner’s confession and remove the burden the sinner has carried. This is the wonderful news a sinful world needs to hear, and it is what world missions is all about.
Sin may be forgiven, but its temporal consequences may still have to be dealt with. When Christ died on the cross, He paid the eternal penalty for sin. At the moment of saving faith and confession, the sinner stands before the Lord redeemed from his former condition.
There may, however, be some unpleasant, even long-lasting, consequences of a life of sin. The person who abused his body with sinful habits may still have to suffer physical illnesses because of his sin. Sin’s result may affect the emotions or other areas of a person’s being as well.
These lessons are applicable to the missionary both personally and in terms of ministry. The missionary must never forget his own sinfulness and how alluring temptation is. The fact that he is now a missionary will in no way reduce the temptations he will face. He must be on constant watch over his own soul. The servant of the Lord must look to himself first and then be about his ministry. The gospel must be poured from clean vessels.