We only need to spend a few minutes in the Psalms to see the rich adoration and love that King David had for his God. Sadly, we only need to spend a few moments in 2 Samuel 11 to see how far he eventually fell. Walking on the roof of his house one afternoon, he saw Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, bathing on her roof. In a catastrophic and shocking series of sins, David had her brought to him, committed adultery with her, and then, realising she was pregnant by him, had her husband killed to hide his sin.
In the next chapter, God sends the prophet Nathan to rebuke David for his wickedness. Psalm 51, flows from that rebuke, as he expresses his sorrow, his repentance, and his hope in his God to restore him to a right relationship with Him (it’s a good passage to read if you’re trying to understand what ‘gutsy guilt‘, the subject of a previous post, looks like). In the midst of his anguish, he begs God,
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
It’s easy to skip over this verse as we read through such an intense and powerful psalm, but it’s foundational to our eternal joy in heaven, and so I want to spend a little time considering one question: What if God had not chosen to do this? What if He didn’t hide His face from our sins? What if He didn’t blot out all our iniquities?
God is infinitely deserving of praise, worship and adoration, and is infinitely offended and hurt by our sins. He knows everything, on a level that we cannot begin to appreciate. If He did not hide His face from the sins of His people, who have been saved through faith in the work of Jesus Christ, heaven would almost certainly be endless experience of regret, discomfort, and heartache. If He did not blot out all our iniquities, guilt would almost certainly consume us. We would spend eternity, with all our sins forgiven but not forgotten, in the presence of the One who was hurt by them to a degree that we cannot begin to understand.
And so we should overflow in praise to the God who is far more gracious than we can imagine, because He has dealt with our sin from every angle. In Hebrews 8:12 we see that, through Jesus, God’s promise that He will be merciful toward our iniquities, and will remember our sins no more, is a reality for every believer. His promises not only to forgive, but also to completely (and mysteriously) forget, our sins, to put them out of His sight, are all over Scripture (Isaiah 43:25, Jeremiah 31:34, Jeremiah 50:20, Micah 7:18-19, Hebrews 10:17, Psalm 103:12, and others). Rather than being tolerated, we are welcomed as sons, and daughters (Ephesians 1:5, Galatians 4:5, etc.), and instead of feeling the Father’s disapproval for the lifetime of sin that we have committed, He will (and already does) delight in us, because it is as if we have obeyed Him perfectly.
Of course, we haven’t obeyed Him perfectly, but Jesus did, and because we’re ‘in’ Him through salvation (1 Peter 5:14, Romans 8:1, Galatians 3:26-28), we are given the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:21-22, etc.). Through Jesus, God has granted to David, and all of us, that He will indeed hide His face from our sins and blot out our transgressions. When we who are in Christ enter into heaven, we will be welcomed as sons and daughters of God. There will be no awkwardness, guilt, or discomfort; we will be home.