What is required for God to forgive sin? Repentance. But even repentance does not ensure the removal of the consequences of sin. The consequences often remain as a reminder of the terrible, destructive nature of sin.
David was forgiven for his grievous sins of lust, adultery, robbery, and murder. God forgave him absolutely and removed his sin from him completely (Ps. 103:12). God did not, however, remove the pain that David would endure as a result of his transgressions. The child born of David’s adultery died (2 Sam. 12:14). David’s son Amnon raped David’s daughter Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14). David’s son Absalom murdered Amnon (2 Sam. 13:28-29). Absalom brought the kingdom into rebellion (2 Sam. 15). For the rest of David’s reign, violence filled his home and his kingdom. Although David knew he was forgiven, he bore the painful consequences of his sin for the rest of his life.
It is presumptuous to assume that God removes every consequence the moment you repent of your sin. Do not think that the instant you show remorse God will restore everything as it was. He may not. Some sins, such as adultery, come from a flawed character. God forgives sin immediately upon repentance, but it takes longer to build character. It is character, not forgiveness, that determines what God brings next to your life.
Because we know the devastating consequences of our disobedience, let us diligently avoid every sin and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1b).