If I Regard Iniquity


Posted by Matt Postiff December 22, 2014 on Matt Postiff's Blog under GeneralĀ 

Recently I received this question:

I've been thinking about the verse in Psalm 66:18: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." I understand this to mean that if we are sinning that the Lord will not hear our prayers. It seems as though we (as humans) are sinning all of the time, whether we know it or not. Does this refer to sin we know about that we haven't confessed? If so, where does the forgiveness of our sins as born-again believers fit into this?

I sent back this reply:

Great question. That is a convicting verse, isn't it?

I have understood the verse to mean that if we we are trying to hide sin in our hearts, the Lord will not hear our prayers. In other words, it does not mean only "if we are sinning" but

  • "if we are sinning and like it," or
  • "if we are sinning and trying to hide it from God," or
  • "if we are sinning and not confessing it to God," or
  • "if we are sinning and we know about it = regard it but don't do anything about it,"

that is when the Lord will not hear us. This is because we are being hypocrites if we sin in one 'part' of our life, and then pretend there is no sin in the prayer-part of our life, as if the parts can be separated one from another.

We do sin frequently, but we can also have the blood of Jesus Christ constantly cleansing us as well, providing forgiveness as we confess sin to God.

We should also note that it is not God's auditory processing faculty that is blocked by sin, as if He had ear plugs in His ears. "Hearing" refers to acknowledging, answering, or doing something about the prayers offered. God doesn't acknowledge the prayers of those who try to hide sin in their hearts. His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous, but His face is against those who do evil (1 Peter 3:12).

The last part of the question is an even bigger matter. I think you are talking about sin being dealt with once for all versus how we have to deal with it daily. This has to do on the one hand with the legal forgiveness of sins that establishes our relationship with God, and on the other hand with the family forgiveness that maintains the close family fellowship with God. I think you will be helped if you read the article here.

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