So you said the “sinner’s prayer”, and you were told that your sin is covered. But how does that work? Is it OK to keep sinning? They tell us that Jesus covers sin. Does God show us how this process works?
John, the Baptist
John, the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He introduced Jesus to the world, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which TAKES AWAY the sin of the world.”
Notice, John said “takes away”, not “sweep under a rug”, or “blind himself to”. Jesus didn’t come so that God would blind himself to the sin of the world. Jesus called out sin, and hypocrisy at every turn. Obviously, Jesus didn’t turn a blind eye to sin.
Does God See the Sins of Believers?
And after the death and resurrection of Jesus, God saw sin in the lives of believers. He gave them strict and stern warnings! Consider Revelation, chapters 2, and 3, the sins of the CHURCH was seen by the Lord. And not only seen, but He gave sever judgments against those who would not repent of their sin.
Freedom from Sin in the New Testament
The Apostle Paul said clearly,
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
The Apostle John boldly declares:
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8
Powerful verses in the face of a sin-friendly culture. But it says that Jesus’ death covers our sin, right?
Yes, He has us covered in the sense that He empowers us to repentance. i.e. He sweeps up the mess.
But NO, not in the sense that He throws a rug over it.
Eternal Principle of Repentance
When Jesus was speaking with the EX prostitutes, the EX tax-collectors, the EX sinners, the Pharisees condemned Him for it. As much as they were aquainted with the scriptures, they missed a very important principle.
God makes it clear: repentance is the great expunger. Without repentance, sin is taken into acount. But a sinner that repents is NOT a sinner!
Ezekiel 18:19 Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. 20“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.
21“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22“All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. 23“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
24“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. 25“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? 26“When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. 27“Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 28“Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29“But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?
30“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. 31“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”
And yet again, in proverbs we read:
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13
As you can see in these passages, mercy, and forgiveness DOES NOT come without repentance. And by “repentance” I mean CHANGING your ways.
What Covers Sin?
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
This is a KEY verse to understand the meaning and context of the sense of “covering” sins.
The word “hide” here in the King James Version, in the original Greek, is “καλύπτω” ( kä-lü’p-tō ). It literally means “cover”. And it is translated as “cover” in all these Bible translations:
NIV remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
ESV let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
CSB let that person know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
RSV let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
ASV let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
DBY let him know that he that brings back a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sins.
YLT let him know that he who did turn back a sinner from the straying of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
HNV let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.
NET he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Repentance Is the Prerequisite that Covers sin
Therefore, you cannot have your sins covered without TURNING from your sin. We find that all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
It is the first message that Jesus preached, the first message that the disciples preached, the first, and last messages in Book of Acts, and scattered throughout the letters of Paul. It is the command to REPENT.
Jesus’ last word to His church in the book of Revelation, chapters 2, and 3 is “REPENT”. In fact, Jesus didn’t say it once, not twice, but several times to at least 5 out of the seven churches – REPENT!
Therefore, the scriptures are clear: God has a plan to “cover” sin.
- By faith, we believe in and identify with the death of Jesus’ on the cross (Galatians 2:20)
- We repent of our sins. We change the way we think. Thus, we change the way we live. We are no longer slaves of sin. Rather, we have died to sin. (Romans 6)
- By faith in Jesus’ resurrection, we rise to newness of life. All of our old ways are gone. The desire to sin is gone. We don’t attempt to justify sin anymore. Rather, we humble ourselves and submit to God’s authority no matter how we feel. We rise with Christ in newness of life. Thus, we are “born again” to live according to God’s law.
So then, Jesus covered your sins in the sense that He gives people the power to repent, and subsequently, His forgives.
But no, Jesus does not cover your sin in the sense of sweeping it under a rug. The kingdom of God is NOT full of hypocrites who have skeletons in their closets, and a stinking rotting mess of sin under every rug.
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