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Proverbs 28:1…:The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

 

Like a metastatic cancer, sin that goes unchecked, unconfessed, and unrepented of will spread to affect the entire person. First and foremost, sin destroys the relationship between God and unregenerate people, and for the regenerate (those who for the majority of their salvation live in obedience to the word of God, loving the Lord in the obeying, and who quickly and humbly confess their sins to those they sin against as well as to God and repent, hearts broken for committing the in in the first place), sin disrupts the fellowship between the Lord and His children, for our transgressions grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Beyond that, however, sin also has pervasive effects on the entire “psyche”. Paranoia and fear consume the man or woman who gives into sin impenitently.

That is the point of today’s passage, which tells us that “the wicked flee when no one pursues” (even more so when actually pursued!) (Proverbs 28:1a). Anyone who has battled secret sin understands the truth of this statement. Try as we might to believe that what we do in secret does not matter and that living our lives apart from God means we can cast off the fear of the Lord that gripped “less enlightened” generations, we all know that impenitent sin fosters terror in the heart. We know that our Creator keeps His eyes on all, watching for the evil and the good (15:3). Though we try to ignore this truth, we cannot escape it, for it is written on our consciences (Romans 2:12-16). Because we know God can really see everything, repeated, impenitent sin, particularly repeated secret sin, sustains in us the kind of fear that stalks us and threatens to overtake us. We worry that God will expose us, and then we transfer His all-seeing nature to those around us. We grow paranoid that others can see what we have tried so hard to hide (and eventually it does show), and we withdraw from our relationships (which always confirms what has been seen). We begin to believe that everyone is watching us, and we do not like it. Matthew Henry comments, “Those that have made God their enemy, and know it, cannot but see the whole creation at war with them, and therefore can have no true enjoyment of themselves, no confidence, no courage, but a fearful looking for of judgment. Sin makes men cowards.”

Ironically, we sin because we believe we do not have to fear God, and then end up fearing other people. On the other hand, the righteous, because they fear the Lord appropriately with filial honor and not cowering terror, end up being afraid of no man. “The righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1b). They need not worry about being found out by other people because there is nothing to be found out. Whatever sin they have, they have confessed to God and to who their sin affects. There are no secret sins to ruin righteous people, so righteous men and women can face others with boldness and scrutiny, not worrying about what their “enemies” will reveal about them. Numbers 32:23 says that our sin will find us out. We live in fear if we are in impenitent sin because we know the truth of this verse, namely, that we cannot hide our wickedness forever. The only solution to such fear is confession and repentance. Confessing our sins to one another puts fear and paranoia to flight because it brings our transgression out into the open, encouraging us to fight our sin and to take an honest stand for Christ as sinners saved by grace alone.

For further study: Isaiah 59:12-13 Romans 2:12-16

The word is clear that anyone who lives in continual disobedience (as in ongoing sin, or secret sins which are unconfessed and unrepented of and forsaken) is not a believer, as when Peter states in I Peter 3:1 that “even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won…”. And for that there is only one solution…Repent and be saved. May God grant those repentance leading to rebirth through the biblical Christ, and may they then be able to live as the righteous who are bold as a lion and flee no scrutiny.

(Ligonier)

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