Introduction: There are more than 25 Hebrew and Greek words translated "cover" in the Bible. A recurring alternate synonym is "conceal." A couple examples to illustrate "cover" are: Exodus 24: 15 and I Corinthians 11: 6 ("to cover fully), 7, (briefly explain the covering matter of I Corinthians 11: 3-16). "Sin" is lawlessness (I Jn. 3: 4, ASV). We sin when we fail to do what we "know" we should, and when we do what we should not (Jas. 4: 17; I Cor. 5: 1, cp. 6: 18). Hence, when we speak of "covering sin," we refer to concealing or hiding sin. "Covering sin" is used positively in the scriptures: Ps. 85: 2 (I Pet. 4: 8, cp. Lk. 17: 3, 4, 2 Cor. 2: 10, 8, 7). Then there is the negative or condemned situation involving covering sin: Prov. 28: 13, in the positive use of "covering sin," there is an attendant blessing; in the negative use, there is a curse, "shall not prosper."
I. The desired covering of sin (when God covers sin).
A. Consider and explain the teaching of Romans 4: 7 (cp. Ps. 32: 1, 2). Notice "iniquities are forgiven" and "sins are covered" (they are tantamount statements). When sin, then, is forgiven by God, it is covered or concealed.
B. See and explain the correlation between Matthew 26: 28 and Acts 2: 38 (22: 16). Scriptural baptism is when God covers the sins of the non-Christian. Walking in the light and confession is when God covers the sins of the Christian (I Jn. 1: 7).
C. When God covers sin, the sin is not just concealed, but the covered sin is wiped out and forgotten by God (Acts 3: 19; Heb. 8: 12).
II. The undesired covering of sin (when man attempts to cover sin).
1. Man sometimes endeavors to hide his sin rather than address it. Man hides his sin in various and sundry ways (I Pet. 2: 16, by using a "cloke," see Jn. 15: 22; I Thes. 2: 5, preaching was not to be used s a cloke, cover, to gain money from others).
2. Some specific instances in which man has attempted to cover his sin:
A. Adam tried foolishly to cover his sin by hiding himself among the trees in the garden (Gen. 3: 8 (cp. Ps. 139: 2-8, 11). Adam and Eve also tired to transfer their guild to others (Gen. 3: 12, 13).
B. Aaron blamed the people in an effort to conceal his sin (Ex. 32: 22). The utter foolishness of Aaron's determination to cover his sin is seen when he blames the "fire," "there came out this calf," cp. vs. 2-4, vs. 24. We often look just as silly in our efforts to keep our sins from others.
C. Achan tried to hid the "accursed thing" in the earth (Josh. 7: 1, 21).
a. We learn from Achan that even though one may "repent," there are often remaining consequences to our sin and our efforts to conceal them (Josh. 7: 20-25).
b. Also, others often suffer because of our sins (Josh. 7: 1, 11, 12).
D. Some of the Jews attempted to cover their sins by murdering the one who exposed them (Acts 7: 51-60).
Conclusion: "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known" (Matt. 10: 26). "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 12: 14).