Question #118

Why did David remain with Bathsheba if he repented?

Just a couple of questions regarding the issue of Christians who've remarried after unscriptural divorces. If David truly repented of his adulterous marriage to Bathsheba, why was he allowed to continue the adulterous marriage? I mean, he already had wives, and then headed a wife by illegal means. When he confessed his sin in front of Nathan, he immediately received God's forgiveness, right? It appears he didn't have to do anything to prove his repentance, like terminating the marriage - he kept the object of his lust. We know that for a thief to receive forgiveness, he should confess his sin and also STOP the sin of thievery. We know that one who has committed fornication must STOP fornicating, confess his sin, and receive forgiveness. But David continued in the very thing he repented of... Does this mean that true repentance for David was that he NEVER entered into another relationship with a woman after Bathsheba? that he never ventured into another adulterous marriage? Was that the repentance God sought - not to repeat this sin? Or should David have given up, or turned over his bride of adultery to God and separated himself from this adulterous state? Was that the kind of repentance God required? Scripture reveals the former, it seems to me. Please help me understand this.

The Answer:

This question primarily inquires why David did not have to leave Bathsheba. Of necessity, it also involves the meaning of repentance when an adulterous marriage is involved. Both questions are answered in Lesson 2 on Marriage & Divorce from our class on Questions & Answers About the Bible. The inquirer should read the entire lesson.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)