But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (NIV).
Some time ago, we had several posts on Psalm 19. We return to the concluding verses of that great psalm. Last time in this series, we considered the meaning of secret or hidden sins. Next or second, let us think about the danger of secret sins. They can be more harmful to the person committing them than open, known offenses. Why are secret sins dangerous?
- Secret sins deprive a person of the help he might receive if his sins were known. When others know of our iniquities, they might call them to our attention, rebuke or correct us for them, or pray for our repentance. However, since such sins escape observation, we are cut off from a valuable means of grace. The sin is like an internal infection, growing in strength, unnoticed until it affects the whole person.
- Secret sins work on the inner person of the heart, turning spiritual resources to the satisfaction of the sin when they might be far better employed in worship and knowing and fellowship with God.
- Secret sins help heat the soul for more open sins. If a few coals are spread apart, they quickly cool off, but when gathered together, they stay warm. So secret sins warm the person toward the practice of open rebellion against God.
- Secret sins help polish the hypocrisy of a person. The more he wants to hide his secret sins, the more skillful he becomes in presenting himself as something he is not.
Third, the person who truly knows the Lord recognizes his guilt for these sins. He senses his need for forgiveness, for inner cleansing, though no other human observes his guilt. The spiritual person wants a heart clean of offense before God. Ac 24:16. “This is a singular difference between pharisaical and real sanctity: that is curious to look abroad, but seeth nothing at home: so that Pharisee condemned the Publican, and saw nothing in himself worthy of blame; but this careful to look at home, and searcheth the secret corners, the very spirit of the mind” (Nathanael Hardy, quoted by Spurgeon, The Treasury of David). The spiritual person knows that God is holy, that God desires fellowship with him, yes, that the Spirit of God lives within. The direction of his soul is to love this Holy God, and not to offend him in anyway. Therefore, he knows that he needs forgiveness even for these hidden misdeeds.
The great point is that we must not dabble in secret sins. A verse that has been a help to me has been Romans 13:14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (ESV). We should realize that in our Lord and Savior, we have real help, as the Spirit makes Christ present in our hearts. When we feel a temptation to dabble in secret greed, lust, fear, anger, or laziness, etc., Christ has more than sufficient power to help us resist temptation. We should not fret about the temptation, but by faith in Christ act against that temptation. It is good to start each day by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace, David