Repent and Prosper

By Pastor Teck Uy

Many hide their sins and shrug off any possible consequences. It is because other appeared to have been able to get away from them. However, the Scripture clearly says that “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Prov. 28:13). No wonder many of them are living in misery or in condemnation. They are unable to enjoy their lives in spite of their wealth or their successes. The fact is that having wealth or being successful in life is not always proof of God’s favour. There are indeed many wicked people that are wealthy and successful because the Bible tells us that “God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).

Confessing our sins is very liberating. It quickly releases us from guilt. However, if we hide them, they will come to haunt us again and again. The Book of Proverbs beautifully describes the true life condition of one who lives in guilt when it says, “The wicked flees even if no one is chasing, but the righteous are as bold as lion” (Prov. 28:1). It is not uncommon to see thieves or criminals flee at the sight of police officers because their guilt drives them to do so. But those who are upright in heart welcome men and women in authority since they have nothing to hide.

In his Psalm, King David fully expressed the agony of one who tries to hide his sin. He said, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4). But when he confessed his sins, he was set free and only then could he experience the blessedness of one whose sin was forgiven and covered. Indeed, we cannot hide or cover our own sins. Only God can cover sins. In the Old Testament, we are told that God covered the sins of the Israelites once a year on the Day of Atonement. Today, it is through the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that our sins are atoned.

While many willingly confess their sins, they do not renounce them. Given the opportunity, they will again be living in sin. The Bible made it very clear that merely confessing our sins is not enough. We ought to also renounce or turn away from them. Besides, we need to be fully repentant of our sins. This is seen by the manner in which we repented, and validated by our subsequent actions. To better understand this, it is worth looking into the manner that King David, King Saul and Judas repented. They all confessed their sins but only King David received the forgiveness of his sins. When King David confessed his sins, he said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). His subsequent actions showed that he was so remorseful that he pleaded for God’s mercy. He even acknowledged that when he sinned it was not against man but against the Lord (Psalm 51). For this, God forgave him through the Prophet Nathan who said to him, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die”.

When King Saul sinned, he confessed, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord” (1 Sam. 15:24-25). It can be gleaned from this confession that he was not remorseful. It was full of justification and he tried to pass on the blame to his men. Besides, he was very much concerned about his name or reputation. It appears that the only reason he made his confession was that he wanted the prophet Samuel to continue to walk with him in the sight of the people. As for Judas who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ, his confession was far off. Instead of going before the Lord, he went to the chief priest and elders and confessed, “I have sinned for I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4). Since his confession was directed to men, the response he got was, “What is that to us? That’s your responsibility.” He did not receive the forgiveness he sought. Rather, he received condemnation for his action. The truth is that only God can forgive sins. Not having been forgiven, Judas hanged himself.

Since everything is laid bare before the Lord, it is futile to conceal our sins because these will be exposed before men in due time. Meantime, we shall be haunted by guilt and will not enjoy life to the fullest. Again, let us heed the warning, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” May we all repent of our sins and prosper. Hallelujah!