How to Respond to Sin

The Old Testament character King Saul can help all of us understand our responses to our sins. The life experience of King Saul as summarized in I Samuel 15 is a classic dramatization of our responses.

Saul was commanded by the Lord to exterminate all the pagan Amalekites. From a human viewpoint that sounds unfair. The primary purpose of life is to prepare for eternity. God knew that all Amalekites had reached a permanent mind set of rejection, and continuing to live would not change their hearts. He wanted a base of evangelism in the land and knew King Agag and his people would hinder it. Therefore, based on His divine wisdom He gave Saul orders to annihilate them.

Saul disobeyed and spared King Agag and the best of the livestock. When confronted with his sin he  – – –

DENIED his sin. He lied and said: “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (I Samuel 15: 13).

Just then could be heard the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the cattle he had spared. His sin had found him out.

Saul next RATIONALIZED his sin. He pretended he spared the best of the animals to sacrifice them to God (I Samuel 15: 15). God said, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (I Samuel 15: 22b).

Let me share with you the seriousness of disobedience. If you have a disobedient heart, a rebellious nature, a critical spirit resulting in unwillingness to submit to authority you need to read I Samuel 15: 23: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

To help our understanding of the seriousness of rebellion against God’s word Samuel said, “Rebellion is as serious as witchcraft.”

Saul, having been caught next tried to EXCUSE his sin by blaming others. Note in verse 15 he says, “They have brought them back…” Who? “The people spared the best…”  In verse 21 again he blames the people: “The people took the plunder…” In verse 24 he once more blames the people by claiming he “feared the people and obeyed their voice.”

Saul then CONFESSED his sin. In Scripture there are two kinds of repentance. Judas repented and went out and hanged himself. Peter repented and went out and converted much of the known world. The form of repentance expressed by Judas was regret over getting caught. The type experienced by Peter was a broken heart over what he had done.

These two kinds of repentance are expressed in II Corinthians 7: 10: “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

How are you dealing with your sin? At what stage are you? Are you still denying it? Have you mastered the art of rationalization? Are you presently excusing it? Have you come to the point of confession? If so, is it “godly sorrow” or “the sorrow of the world” which “produces death”?