Can Our Sin Affect the Physical as Well as the Spiritual?

For believers, sin most definitely may make its way into our physical realms, showing that it’s the spiritual aspect that leads our lives, not merely the physical.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Verses 1-2 show how devastating sin is. It is rebellion against the authority of God Almighty. And even if you try with all your might, you cannot reach His standard. Your very soul is crooked, twisted, and corrupt. But here, David describes the feeling and the experience behind this.

In verse 3, David shows that he is keeping silent about his sin—and the effects of that silence are destructive. “My bones wasted away through my groaning.” God’s heavy hand was upon Him; his strength was dried up.

Did David have anything in particular in mind? Psalm 32 connects with Psalm 51. The title of Psalm 51 says, “To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the Prophet went to him, , after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” If you read 2 Samuel 11-12, David as King sends his army to battle, but stays behind. This was not his post, for in that time, he should have been leading his men on the field. He’s up on his patioed roof and sees a woman bathing—Bathsheba. This is no ordinary woman, for she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s Mighty Men and one of the leaders of his army.

David sends for Bathsheba—and soon she is found to be with child. David tries to cover his sin by bringing Uriah home from the battlefield to spend the night at home with Bathsheba… but Uriah couldn’t, not with his men on the field. So he slept on the doorstep of David’s home. So David tries another way to cover his sin—put Uriah on the front lines. He was soon killed. David thought he was home free. I encourage you to read through 2 Samuel 12 to see how God sent Nathan the prophet to expose his sin.

How did David react? First, he acknowledged his sin to God. Only God can ‘cover’ our sin—not us. If we try to cover it, it will destroy us but also find us out!

So rather than keeping silent, David used his mouth to speak what he acknowledged and confessed it. He confessed his rebellion against God’s law (transgressions), and forgave the inner corruption (iniquity) that made him miss the mark. David was a man after God’s own heart. But that nature is there.  Thomas Brooks once said, “Sin dwells in the believer, but does not reign over the believer; they rise by repentance.”

Are you trying to cover your sin? When I read verses 3-4, I think of the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 with the Apostle Paul that brings forth the practice of the Lord’s Supper.  But after describing the elements, Paul gives some warnings for approaching the Table in a cavalier manner:

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

So in Psalm 32 and in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 that sin may affect the physical and the spiritual.  While we realize that not all physical ailments are spiritually cause, we must not discard it.  For we see the converse, that many are physical specimens who are atheists or even those who are in sin.  But for the believer, these could definitely come to bear in the flesh. 

Why were some in the past and present have not permitted those who are in unrepentant sin to come to the table?  They are profaning the body and blood of Christ, and it’s for their protection and to shake them to repentance. “Who are we to judge?” This is the Lord’s table, and we are his church.  Are we trying to cover our sin? Or will we have Christ cover ours by His blood!

What’s amazing is that when we cover our own sin, stay silent about it, we think we stay strong in the world’s sight—and by repenting, we show our weakness. Not so! For what matters is what our Lord says about the matter. Keeping silent about it weakens! Confessing strengthens! You rise by repentance.

What sins are you hiding this morning? Are you hiding them because of the fear of what others will think? When the people of Israel were to take possession of the promised Land, Yahweh told them to “take up arms to go before the LORD for the war… every armed man.” Then he says, “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure, your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:22-23).

(You may listen to the entire sermon here, preached at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO on 8/11/2013.)

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