Bad to the Bone

| 01 September 2020

Everyone reading this knows that sin is bad. We know that it is bad for our souls, but did you know that it is bad for your bones as well? Maybe, George Thorogood wasn’t that far off when he claimed to be “Bad to the bone. B-B-B-B-Bad.” When you think about it, that isn’t too far from what David says here in Psalm 51, that hidden, ignored and unconfessed sin can actually be so bad for us that it is bad all the way down to our bones. 

Now, at first glance this might sound like a strange way to talk about sin. We don’t tend to think about sin as something that can affect our physical bodies. Sin is a spiritual problem that causes primarily spiritual consequences… or so we’ve been taught. However, I think the fact that David’s language here messes with our preconceived notions ought to tell us something: Either we have a poor understanding of sin or we have a poor understanding of what it means to be human or both. In this case, I actually think it’s both. 

Most of us have grown up being taught a worldview which strongly asserts that our bones are one type of thing (a physical substance) and our souls are a very different type of thing (a spiritual substance). In fact, we have been taught (often without even knowing it) that one of those substances is very, very important, while the other just gets in the way. Yep. You got it right, the soul is much more important than the body. But, what if I told you that this concept is actually more of a remnant of Modern Philosophy than of Biblical Theology? You see, strictly biblically speaking, there is no real distinction between soul and spirit and mind and body. You are one thing, not two or three, just one. And that means that sin affects more than just a part of you, it affects all of you. 

What is bad for you spiritually can be bad for you physically and vice versa. This is why David longs for his broken bones to rejoice again. In Psalm 38:3, he says, “there is no health in my bones because of my sin.” 

Of course, not all physical infirmities are caused by sin, but clearly some are. And those that are caused by sin are apparently caused by unconfessed sin, (see Psalm 32:3). Have you ever thought about the feel of sin in your bones? Have you ever felt bad to the bone? Maybe it’s time to consider that question. Maybe it’s time that we realize what our sin is really doing to us and to pray like David. Spend some time today praying that God would allow even your bones to rejoice in Jesus. 

Josh Rose
Pastor of Adult Ministries