Was King David Forgiven of His Adultery?

King David was one of the greatest leaders in all of Israel’s history. He contributed more to Old Testament worship than any other individual and his influence is still felt in the New Testament church today. David is known for great victories, like defeating Goliath, bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and securing Israel against her enemies. However, David is also known for some colossal failures. Most notably, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and ordered the death of her husband.

The Bible says in several places that sin will not go unpunished. For example, Proverbs 6:29 says that the man who commits adultery will not escape without punishment. In Exodus 34:7 God tells Moses He will “by no means clear the guilty.” The book of Numbers describes the sacrifices for unintentional sins, but then says the person who sins knowingly and willfully will be cut off from Israel. “His guilt shall be upon him.” (Number 15:31)

King David suffered terrible consequences for his adultery and murder. The son born of his adulterous union died in infancy because of David’s sin. David’s family suffered for many years because of David’s sin. One of David’s sons led a rebellion that caused David to flee Jerusalem and started a civil war in Israel. David, his family and the entire nation suffered because of David’s sin. The terrible things David suffered suggest he was not forgiven for his adultery.

Yet, even though he sinned greatly David continued to write Scripture. The majority of the Psalms of David were written after he committed adultery and murder. At his death David was called “the anointed of the God of Jacob and the sweet Psalmist of Israel.” (2 Samuel 23:1) David had an incredible relationship with God after his terrible sin. This suggests he was forgiven for his adultery. Was David forgiven of his adultery and murder or not?

David suffered terrible consequences of his sin during his life. However, earthly consequences of sin are not the same as God’s eternal punishment. The wages of sin is not a bad life, but eternal death. (Romans 6:23) Those who are the children of God, as David was, will be chastened by God to bring them to repentance and to show God’s holiness. They will endure earthly punishment for severe sin but will not suffer God’s eternal wrath. On the other hand, those who are not the children of God often escape any severe earthly consequences of their sin, but they never escape God’s eternal wrath. The punishment David suffered should not cause any one to doubt he was the child of God. Instead, his punishment is confirmation he was the child of God. (Hebrews 12:5-8)

God’s forgiveness of David shows that forgiveness is never based upon the merit or deeds of the person. Forgiveness is always the gift of God freely given to those who trust Him for forgiveness. An adulterer and murderer who brought great shame on the name of God and did great harm to the innocent people he was supposed to protect was completely forgiven of all his sin. David was not forgiven because of any good things he had done. Romans 4 uses David as an example of salvation by faith apart from works. “But to him who does not work but believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.” (Romans 4:5-6) David proves that salvation is not earned, but given.

God’s salvation does not give people what they deserve. God forgives men by giving to Jesus what He did not deserve, death, so sinners could be given what they do not deserve, life. No one deserves to go to heaven, therefore, salvation is entirely and always a gift of the grace of God completely apart from the deeds of the person. If you believe Jesus as your Savior your sin will be forgiven and you will have eternal life, no matter what you have done.


What is the essence of Christianity?

What makes a Christian truly a Christian? What makes a Christian church genuinely Christian? In this age of self-identification there is value in considering if a person is a Christian by identifying as one or is something more required to truly be a Christian? If so, what is it? Is there a single doctrine, creed or statement that comprises the core elements of Christianity? The World Council of Churches once declared the way to distinguish false Christianity from possibly true Christianity is through the affirmation of the statement, “Jesus Christ is God is Savior.” Does this simple statement encompass all that is essential to true Christianity? Are all those Christians who affirm the Deity and salvation of Jesus?

Surveying the scope of Christendom today does not provide an easy answer to these question. Not all churches which call themselves Christians would affirm this statement. Many Christian churches would not consider an affirmation of that basic statement evidence of Christianity. However, the question is not what churches today believe, or what churches in history have believed. The question is what does the Bible teach is the essence of Christianity.

The book of Acts shows what the apostles taught as the essence of salvation and the essence of Christianity. Acts 11 introduces the term Christian when it says that believers were first called Christians in Antioch. Those called Christians in Acts 11:26 are referred to as “the disciples.” Who were these disciples? What was required to be a disciple? Disciples in Acts are those who followed the footstesp of the twelve disciples by following the teachings of Jesus.

Acts 11:26 also indicates that the disciples assembled as a church. In Acts 2 the church is introduced and we learn what was necessary to be a part of the church. In short, those who were saved became part of the church. (Acts 2:47) These ones added to the church were also added to the number of disciples (Acts 2:41; 6:1) The substance of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 defines what is essential to be a disciple of Christ and to be a Christian.

Peter says that what is necessary for a person to be a Christian is to believe Jesus was a man sent from God and is the God of David (Acts 2:22, 25), to believe Jesus was crucified and died (Acts 2:23) and to believe Jesus was restored to life again. (Acts 2:32) To be saved a person must cease rejecting Jesus and receive Him for forgiveness of sin. (Acts 2:39, 41, 44) These same essentials of Christianity are found in Paul’s first recorded sermon in Acts 13 and are the same essentials found in the definition of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:2-4.

The essence of Christianity is belief that Jesus is God who became a man, died on the cross and was restored to life again. This belief turns in faith to Jesus and trusts Him to forgive sin. Other things can be added to give a proper definition of saving faith, such as, saving faith does not attempt to earn any portion of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 5:4) Additions are necessary for clarifying the Biblical truths of salvation, but the basic essence of Christianity- those things which must be believed to be a disciple of Christ- is the gospel message of faith in Jesus who is God and man that died and rose to life again to give forgiveness of sin.

Is the Gospel about Social Change?

The Great Commission commands the Christian to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) To fulfill the Great Commission the believer must understand the gospel. Unfortunately, this is not as straightforward as it might seem. The political and social turmoil of recent years has given renewed urgency to certain ones who teach that the gospel is about social change. Tony Evans said, “There’s the content of the gospel that takes you to Heaven, but there’s also the scope of the gospel, which brings Heaven to earth.” His perspective is widely held by Evangelicals. But it is not held by all evangelicals. John MacArthur spearheaded a group that issued a lengthy statement opposing making social reformation a part of the gospel.

The social gospel is a version of the gospel that makes the reformation of society, the promotion of social justice, provision for the poor and the advancement of equity in societal systems to be integral to the gospel message. According to this view a gospel that does not include the call to renovate culture is an abbreviated gospel. Does the gospel message include the renovation of culture?

The discussion of the social gospel is not a question of whether the gospel produces change in a society. Few would deny the profound impact salvation has upon the individual and, as a result, on society. The issue is whether the gospel message demands a call to bring about cultural change. When Tony Evans said the scope of the gospel brings heaven to earth, he is saying the gospel is designed to transform the world to be more like the kingdom of God. In many minds, a gospel without a call for social renovation is not the gospel.

The Bible gives a very clear definition of the gospel. Scriptures presents the gospel in many places and teaches the gospel in a variety of ways, but only one place in the Bible specifically sets out to define the substance of the gospel. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) This passage must be the final authority when creating a definition of the gospel because it is the only place in the whole Bible which intends to define the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15 lists several key facts of the gospel. First, is the person of Jesus- He is Christ. Second is His death. Third is the reason for His death- our sin. Fourth, is the fulfillment of God’s promises- according to the Scripture. Last, the burial and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel message is a message of individual sin and of God the Son who died to save us from our sin. The Bible never presents societal change as a component of the gospel. The Bible does not teach that man’s chief problem is an unjust political system or income inequality. The problem of man is not external to him. The problem of man is not social. The problem of mankind is internal to each individual. The problem of man is sin that resides in every human heart. The solution of the gospel is the forgiveness of sin, which makes each one who believes a new creature.

When enough people are saved and live in obedience to God society will change. This change is not the message of the gospel, but the result of the gospel. The distinction between of cause and effect must not be ignored. To confuse the results of the gospel with the gospel itself is to risk creating a false gospel.