Three confessed their sin but did not forsake it, and it led to their ruin. If we confess our sin, and forsake it, we can go on to find mercy and prosperity.
Pharaoh – Exodus 9:27, “Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, ‘I have sinned this time; the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.'” This was just the cry of a frightened man; white chunks of ice fell, lightning running on the ground. He feared, but his heart was as hard as ever. He said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?” It says the Lord hardened his heart. The Lord just sends His word and our response is either to harden our hearts or soften them. Pharoah could have had a place beside Aaron and Moses, but he hardened his heart. A frightened man cried, “I have sinned.”
Salvation means to get rid of the rocks or hardness. Ten plagues were sent to try and soften Pharaoh’s heart; that is just like ten experiences or ten gospel meetings. There were thunder and lightning and he said, “I have sinned.”
An un-professing son dove into shallow water, broke his neck – was in hospital, paralyzed from below the chest. He did not know if he would live or die. He asked for the workers to come and pray and read to him. Then slowly the feeling came back into his body, first he could move his big toe, then the leg. Movement came back, and now he did not want the workers any more. A cry born in the storm, died in the calm. The sailors say, “When they reached the shore, they prayed no more!”
All of God’s work starts with a soft heart. The potter needs soft clay, the farmer needs soft soil to weed out and sow, the blacksmith needs soft metal to unite it, God needs a soft heart.
King Saul – I Samuel 15:24, “Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned:for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words; because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.'” He said, “I have transgressed – feared the people and obeyed.” It came from a rebellious heart, and he made excuses. It was a mixed confession, with excuses. We should not say, “If I have hurt you, or if I have offended you, I am sorry.” We should say, “I have offended you, I have hurt you.” His cry did not mean anything because of a rebellious heart and excuses. He said, “I obeyed the voice of God.” Next he confessed with excuses. The oxen lowing, and things still alive need to be fed; they were not taken care of. “When you were little in your eyes you were made King. Why did you not obey?” Partial obedience is not obedience. Selective obedience is not obedience. It’s like cafeteria style where you pick what you like – partial obedience is not obedience.
At one convention it was said, “Obedience, Obedience, Obedience!” There are three kinds of obedience – unwilling obedience, willing obedience, and selective obedience – which is for convenience. Saul thought partial obedience is obedience. When I was a teacher, I asked my students to do their homework in ink, with double spaces – available for correction, and their name in the upper right hand corner. I said I would not accept it if they didn’t do that. I wanted obedience. I didn’t expect the right answers, but they had to obey. God does want His people to obey. The Author of eternal salvation wants His people to obey.
Jesus is the author of salvation to those who obey. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Faith is the sacrifice of our understanding. And obedience is the sacrifice of our own will. It is the sacrifice of our will that God wants. To hearken means to listen with the intent to do; it is better than the fat of lambs. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. We know witchcraft is wrong. Rebellion is just the same.
Saul wouldn’t obey, and was slain on the high slopes of Gilboa by an Amalekite, that he had spared. His “I have sinned” didn’t mean anything to the Lord.
David – II Samuel 12:13, “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.'” When David said, “I have sinned,” the confession came from the heart of a genuinely repentant man. David put away the sin. God also put away his sin, because he forsook and confessed it, and he went on to prosperity and blessing. David put away sin so the Lord did not have to put him away. He did not sin when he was a boy, but when he was in the height of glory, in luxury, and prosperity and ease – not as a shepherd, or in adversity, or fleeing from Saul. He became self-indulgent. This is written for our learning. He that standeth let him take heed lest he fall. David fell, sinned.
Judas – Matthew 27:24, “Judas said, ‘I have sinned and betrayed innocent blood.'” His repentance to the priests meant nothing to them. They said, “That is your business!” The Pharisees continually found fault. A hard-hearted person can find fault even with perfection. Judas cried out of remorse and regret – that is not repentance. Judas was with Jesus from the beginning – saw miracles – heard and saw the same as the other disciples did, but his heart was still hard.
Matthew 27:2, Satan put it into Judas’ heart, then, it says, “Satan entered his heart.” His heart hardened, their heart softened. John 13, Satan put it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus. He entered in because of his hard heart. Satan uses a hard heart for the foundation of his work. God uses a soft heart for the foundation of His work. The prince of the world came to Jesus and found nothing in Him to work on because His heart was always soft. Jesus was always meek and lowly and the devil found nothing in Jesus’ heart he could use, (capitalize use). The devil uses hard hearts. Satan can build on greed, selfishness, etc. The prince of this world comes to look for something to work on.
John 13, Jesus was with his disciples. He took the towel to do what none other would do. Peter felt condemned, he said, “You will never wash my feet,” and Jesus said, “Then you have no part with Me.” He wanted a part with Jesus. Jesus also washed Judas’ feet, but the water never reached Judas’ heart, He could not wash the dust off Judas’ heart. In Matthew 26, Judas said “Is it I?” The Lord said, “Thou hast said.”
The captain of the Titanic received many warnings about the icebergs ahead and that they were on a destruction course. But he would not listen or change. It takes a soft heart to take instruction and warning. Judas did not change. Jesus gave Judas the sop to show He still loved him. Jesus kept a soft heart towards Judas even when Judas was gone. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, with a demonstration of love but a terribly hard heart. Next day there was no comfort for him, and he said, “I have sinned.”
The purpose of sin is to bring us to the feet of Jesus. But Judas, when he had sinned, went to the priests and not to Jesus. If our heart is soft and humbled, and we come to the feet of Jesus, provision is made for our sin. Judas could have had forgiveness at Jesus’ feet; he could have found mercy. But he went to the hard-hearted priests. There had to be a Judas, but it did not have to be that Judas. Three confessed their sin but did not forsake it, and it led to their ruin. If we confess our sin, and forsake it, we can go on to find mercy and prosperity.