Summary: Everybody sins. But the Christian has a unique place to turn that will take him past his sin and on to forgiveness.

How To Come Back When You’re Down


Gary MacDonald

Everybody sins. But the Christian has a unique place to turn that will take him past his sin and on to forgiveness.

Read Scripture Passage: Psalm 51

The devil tempts you to sin by suggesting to you that, "You can get away with it." Then, after tempting you to sin, he spends his time accusing you with, "You’ll never get away with it!" He wants you down and discouraged, thinking that you will never ever be able to get back up again. But the Bible tells you how to get back up after you’ve been knocked down.

David committed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba. Then, while trying to cover up this first sin, he made matters worse and compounded his problem by committing murder. It was only after he was confronted with his sin that David repented, thus writing Psalm 51, the psalm of the repentant. That Psalm expresses the need of a believer, from his heart, to be right with God.

The Capability of Sin in the Believer

When you get saved it doesn’t mean you lose the capacity to sin. We are all sinners, and we never completely overcome our nature to sin as long as we’re still here on earth. 1 John reminds us that if we think we have defeated all sin in our lives, we are deceiving ourselves. But many times sin in the believer is an unexpected opportunity from an undetected weakness. The sin doesn’t take away our salvation that God has given us, but it can knock us down spiritually and emotionally. Sin brings suffering. Your eternal security doesn’t offer you protection from temptation. As long as you live on this earth, you will be capable of sinning.

The Consequences of Sin in the Believer

When David wrote Psalm 51, he began with the words, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin".

David knew that sin had consequences, and those consequences were taking a toll on his life.

Sin Soils the Soul

The first thing sin does in the life of the child of God is to soil his soul. David asks God to wash him because he felt dirty. He wasn’t dirty on the outside, but on the inside he had a filthy soul. If you’re a Christian, sin will make you feel dirty. Now, if you don’t belong to the Lord, sin doesn’t really bother you. If you rebuke a non-Christian for taking the Lord’s name in vain, he’ll say, "What’s wrong with that?" He has no difficulty with sin. Sin comes naturally to him. He’ll leap into sin and love it. But a Christian loathes being dirty with sin. That’s why David asks God to cleanse him.

Sin Saturates the Mind

Another thing sin does is saturate the mind. Notice what David says in verse 3: "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me." Night and day, the evil thing David had done echoed through his conscience. He could not get rid of it. It had left a wound in his mind, and the Holy Spirit was there to remind him of his sin and his need for forgiveness. Again, that is a difference between a child of God and a child of Satan. A non-believer can sin and forget about it, but a believer will have that sin rattling around in their subconscious. It will show up as an inability to concentrate, or an inability to pray, or as an irritable temper. The sin is ever before them.

I think there are two kinds of wounds that come to the human mind. One is guilt and the other is sorrow. I recently spoke with a woman whose husband had passed away, and she was wounded with sorrow. It was a deep wound, but it was clean. It will heal. I have also spoken recently with a man who has done his wife a grave wrong, and the guilt of his sin has created a dirty wound that I believe will fester until it is cleansed. That man will continue to have that sin before him until he deals with it before God. Sin not only soils the soul, but saturates the mind.

Sin Pricks the Conscience

"Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight" (v. 4). David is conscience-stricken. He cries out against the sin, knowing that he has done evil before a holy God. You see, David not only sinned against his family and his wife, but against God. David saw sin as an insult to the Holy God who loved him and had redeemed him.

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