In a strange post, Just Thomist argues that God saves sinners by “making them feel better.”

Our natural impulse to accuse David of a crime in Psalm 51 “is both utterly reasonable and completely contradicted by the both Testaments.”

Really? “Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” (Mt 5:25-26)

Consolation is contingent upon penance, and penance requires that one gives away his ill-gotten goods. And David did, he was forced to, since Nathan prophesied the death of his and Bathsheba’s child. “David pleaded with God on behalf of the child. He kept a total fast, and spent the night lying on the ground clothed in sackcloth.” But all in vain, and the child died as part of the Lord’s punishment. (See 2 Sam 11-12.)

Even if it was Satan who accused David, it was the Lord who judged David guilty according to the accusation and exacted payment against him. And of course it was not Satan but Nathan the prophet, a holy man. In any case, the idea that all accusations are Satanic is ridiculous: “They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.” (Rom 2:15-16) Isn’t conscience the “voice of God” rather than of Satan? The only sensible distinction is between conscience as true accuser and Satan as false accuser insofar as the demons hate men and seek to ruin them by deceiving them.

David’s prayers afterward may have kept him out of hell and may even have restored his state of grace; but they did not prevent divine retribution. And perhaps that’s just JT’s point: God is liberal with both forgiveness and restoration, and one should ask for these things. But then the demonic lie is not the (true) accusation but the (false) accompanying suggestion that the sin cannot be forgiven and that all is lost.

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