By Ron Thomas
I read a sermon outline the other day by brother Wayne Polk (Shelbyville, IL). The title of his sermon he preached is “Dealing with our secret sins.”
Do you have any? It is likely that you have more than one that you struggle with, and I am sure you are very much aware of it. You say nothing about it to anyone because the shame you would experience is too great. Yet, the Lord knows all about it, even better than you do.
Brother Wayne used Psalm 90 as his text, the words of Moses. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance (90:8, ASV).
As Moses led the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, he was plagued not only with his own failures, but was additionally burdened with the murmuring and complaining of many people who had differing perspectives about this and that. One can’t imagine how bad it was for such a great man like Moses; try as he or she might, both come up empty.
In Psalm 90:7-11, the great prophet of God gives attention to the Lord’s wrath as the Israelites journey toward the land of promise, perhaps Moses reflected on the entirety of their journey, near the end of his own life when he penned these words. If so, notice what Moses said of the wrath of God.
The Lord’s anger terrifies people throughout their journey (v. 7), the Lord’s anger was hovering above them (v. 9), not because the Lord was interested in threatening them, but because each person had something hidden within not addressed (v. 8) and the Lord, even in His mercy, has a limit to His toleration. The NKJV, in v. 8 reads, “secret sins” (the ASV, ESV, JPS read the same), the NET reads “hidden sins”.
Secret or hidden sins—what are they? Of course, those secret sins can be any moral infraction one can think of, be it stewardship failings, promiscuity, loose tongues, dressing to be seen rather than dressing to be received by the Lord, abuse, you name it! One’s secret sins are those that have not been given up, an enjoyable little bit of indulgence, perhaps. That little bit of indulgence, however, is a big-time troubler!
And we know this!
Let us be reminded that as we walk in life, what is known by others is very little. On the
other hand, For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Eccl. 12:14, ASV).
What shall we do? The answer is in Psalm 90:12, So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom. I suggest this means 1) have a clear understanding of the brevity of life, 2) with this understanding, also understand that with the end of life we all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the things done in the body, whether good or bad, 3) allow the Lord’s word to teach you, but as He teaches you, allow those words to sink deep into the heart and reshape who you are. Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth...having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth (cf. 1 Peter 1:22-23).
Your secret sins may not be easily discarded, but the importance of them being thrown away is obvious to every thinking person. You may struggle to the end of your days, but are you not glad the Lord exhibits a great deal of mercy to those who love Him and lean not on their own understanding? I am.
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/