The Seriousness of Secret Sin

The Seriousness of
Secret Sin!

We’ve all read of nationally known personalities who were caught in a private sin of some kind.  It may have been taking drugs, an adulterous affair, or a financial compromise.  Well known preachers have also been exposed in their sins.  We think of the televangelist who was twice discovered to have been seeing prostitutes, who later tearfully confessed before the TV camera.  More recently there was a mega church leader, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who was exposed as having a relationship with a homosexual prostitute for some length of time.

Then there are those sins that are even more private—known to no one else.  People refer to such sins as “skeletons in the closet” for they are transgressions that no one knows about.  They are hidden.  Then are secret.  Or so people think.

The fact is that no sin is really secret.  Yes, these sins may be unknown to other people, but they are known to the One who knows all.  God is the One who knows all about us—including those sins of which no one else is aware.  Scripture says of the Lord: “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).  No person on earth should think that he and his life is really “hidden” from the all-seeing eyes of God!  The Bible is very clear about this: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).  Notice that we cannot escape God, we cannot escape His gaze, we cannot run from God’s presence!  No wonder the Bible refers to Him “who searches the minds and hearts” (Revelation 2:23).

God’s omnipresence and omniscience are a comfort for the Godly person who is living in God’s light.  David knew this and wrote these familiar lines:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,

Behold, O LORD, You know it all.


The psalmist was amazed but also comforted in knowing that God knew all about him.  He continues to extol the greatness of his God:


Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,

If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Your hand will lead me

And your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,

And the light around me will be night,”

Even the darkness is not dark to You,

And the night is as bright as the day,

Darkness and light are alike to You.


These words from Psalm 139: 1-4 and 7-12 are a comfort to the righteous one who is walking in the light, but the truths found there should bring terror to one who is living in known sin!  One who is in sin cannot hide from God, cannot resort to the darkness to commit sin, and cannot escape the presence of the Lord!

What’s more, not only does God know about every single sin, He will one day expose it to the light.  One day every one of the secret sins will be revealed!  Note this shocking statement: “God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  Notice that “everything which is hidden” will be brought to judgment.  Those sins that were covered up and hidden from any other person—even those will one day be revealed!

In Romans 2, Paul speaks of “the righteous judgment of God” (v. 5) and the impossibility to “escape the judgment of God” (v. 3).  Then the apostle speaks of a great Day when “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (v. 16).  He will judge what?  The secrets of men!  This is a reference to every sin that was hidden, every wrong that was covered over, every transgression that was concealed from human eyes.  All of these will be manifested on that Great Day!

Jesus often encountered Pharisees in His earthly ministry and He openly exposed their hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy is pretending to be one thing when inwardly one is something else.  Jesus warned, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.  Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:1-3).  Whereas the hypocrite hides his true nature and his evil deeds, Jesus warns that there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and nothing hidden that will not be known!

Not only will sinful words and acts be revealed by our omniscient God, but even our thoughts!  Paul writes that when Christ returns, He “will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5).  Think of this and the implications of this truth!  God will bring all of the dark things into the light of His holy presence! He will examine the very thoughts that were in our mind!  He will reveal even the motives of your heart that are unknown to others.  It is no wonder that David prayed, “Acquit me of hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12).  We should pray for God’s cleaning even on those areas of our life that are unknown to us—but known to Him!

God in mercy reveals these truths to you and me so that we will not foolishly think that we can get away with anything!  Everything will be revealed, so surely it is merciful of Him to let us know this right now, while we can still do something about this “dark” area of our life.  You see, we only have this life to repent and turn from all of our secret sins.  We are not guaranteed one more day to make corrections.  Now is the time to openly reveal our sins to God and seek His gracious forgiveness. 

He will forgive our sins through the merits of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, if we are willing to repent of them.  Peter said, “Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22).  The “intention of our heart” may also be forgiven if we repent!  We must also confess our sins to the Lord.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  We must also turn from those sins once and for all and make any restitution necessary to correct those sins.  “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).  “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsake them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).  Be willing also to confess your sins against other people (James 5:16; Luke 15:21; 17:3-4).

These promises are for those of you who have been saved in the past but presently are living with compromise of some kind in your life.  Obviously, if you have never become a child of God, you need to come to the Lord in full surrender and be born into God’s spiritual family through the new spiritual birth (John 3:3-7).  Be willing to humble yourself in repentant faith and express this by being buried with Christ in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5). Only then can you be completely forgiven of all your sins.

Are you tired of bearing those secret sins?  Are you weary of hiding—or trying to hide—those areas of darkness in your life?  Now is the time to turn from them once and for all.  This life is the only opportunity you will have.

Richard Hollerman



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