There is a “cover-up” in life that is most attractive to the Christian. Now, I know the word cover-up doesn’t sound at all virtuous; it makes one think of political scandals, and probably raises some doubts in your mind about where I am going with this! But after you read today’s message, I think you will agree that cover-up is one of the most beautiful words you can utter, one that puts on display the lovely fruit of the Gospel. Let’s take a look:
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)
The dictionary definition of “cover-up” is a concerted effort to keep an illegal or unethical act or situation from being made public. It is also a loose outer garment.
The Christian cover-up, however, is something altogether different. It is living out the Gospel by covering (forgiving and forgetting, rather than repeating and putting on display) the wrongs, faults, or sins of another. And this is something we need much more of in the church today!
I want to be clear about my meaning here: I am not talking about hiding some sin or offense that must be exposed in order to protect the health, safety, and spiritual well-being of others. Proverbs 17:9 does not suggest anything of the kind! Indeed, what we are being taught is a Christian cover-up that advances the cause of the kingdom and blesses those who belong to it.
Instead of rehashing old sins that have been committed against us, we are to “cover” them with forgiveness. Instead of informing others of someone’s offense in order to pay the offender back for his or her wrong, we are to cover them with love that builds up. How often we cover up our refusal to cover the faults and sins of others under the guise of seeking prayer for them. Far too many Christians use this technique to engage in the sin of gossip.
The Gospel frees us from the need to pay back or get revenge. We know that our Lord has used a cosmic cover-up in our lives by forgiving every sin—past, present, and to come. Our sins are covered in the blood of the Lamb. And not only is this so, but in the process He has forgotten every one of them! God never brings our past iniquities back up to the surface after He has hurled them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). God never shoves all the times we messed up into our face after He has put all those sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17b), never to be seen again.
Many of you have memorized the wonderful words of 1 John 1:9-10—“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That is God’s remedy for bringing our sins under the covering blood of the Lamb. Repent of our sin, confess it to God, and then forget it!
When we placed our trust in Christ as our Savior, The blood of the Lamb of God, which takes away all the sins of all who place their trust in Him, has not only covered up all of our sins, but has carried them away forever . . . just as the scapegoat described in Leviticus 16:8-20 was sent out into the desert, never to be seen again. Our Lord never dredges up all of the times we have fallen short of the perfect mark of holiness set before us (Matthew 5:48).
So when you and I call these transgressions up in our own memories—and we all do this—we can know for certain that it is not the Spirit of God calling these sins to our mind; it is the world, the flesh, or the devil doing it. As Corrie Ten Boom beautifully explained Micah 7:19, “When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever … Then God places a sign out there that says ‘No Fishing Allowed!’”
The Gospel frees us from our past and the Gospel frees us from bringing up the past of others. This is the Christian cover-up we could all use a little more of each day!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!