It was an amazing show of sportsmanship. Tiger Woods walked into the gallery and was met by Jack Nicklaus, arguably the world’s greatest golfer. Jack complimented him for his performance—his winning score of 67 matched Jack’s own record. And then he told Tiger that his birdie on the 16th hole was one of the greatest shots he had ever witnessed.
Why was this conversation so remarkable? For the simple reason that Jack knew the heinous sins of Tiger. He witnessed the planet’s most popular golfer meltdown morally and behave in ways that were a complete embarrassment to the sport. He rendered grace and dignity to an athlete he could deliberately have avoided.
Romans 4:7,8—How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered! How joyful is the man the Lord will never charge with sin!
The Apostle Paul never watched a golf tournament, but he understood a great deal about gracious behavior. He quoted King David’s words of the joy that comes to the person whose sins are covered by God. David understood spiritual covering. To the wicked King Jeroboam, God, through the prophet Ahijah, said, “But you were not like My servant David, who kept My commands and followed Me with all of his heart, doing what is right in My eyes” (1Kings 14:8b). Huh? David murdered Uriah the Hittite, failed to discipline two sons—one a rapist the other a murderer, looked the other way when his commanding general twice murdered a more honorable general, and took a census that greatly angered God. So what gave him cause to praise? God forgave him and blessed him with a powerful reign. He set aside his sins, remembering His faith and faithfulness.
Do you suppose Paul could relate to David? He participated in the slaughter of Jesus’ followers. He directly opposed God’s Son. To his young protégé Timothy, he wrote:
This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Ti. 1:15,16)
Since God is willing to cover our sins and fill us with joy we have to make splendid applications. First, we let go of the resentment we hold towards those who have wronged us. Second, we stop living in fear of our past. If our faith is in Jesus and we commit to obeying Him, our future is assured. Third, we start living joyfully! Fourth, we share what God has done for us. Contained joy is questionable. Radiated joy is the proof of covering!
Expiation refers to covering sins.—RC Sproul in The Glory of Christ
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)