And now…the first book of Samuel, the 15th chap. and 24th verse: “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned.” Here is the insincere man — the man who is not like Balaam, to a certain extent sincere in two things; but the man who is just the opposite — who has no prominent point in his character at all, but is moulded everlastingly by the circumstances that are passing over his head. Such a man was Saul.
Samuel reproved him, and he said, “I have sinned.” But he did not mean what he said: for if you read the whole verse you will find him saying, “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words; because I feared the people:” which was a lying excuse. Saul never feared anybody; he was always ready enough to do his own will — he was the despot. And just before he had pleaded another excuse, that he had saved the bullocks and lambs to offer to Jehovah, and therefore both excuses could not have been true. You remember, my friends, that the most prominent feature in the character of Saul. was his insincerity. One day he fetched David from his bed, as bethought, to put him to death in his house.
Another time he declares, “God forbid that I should do aught against thee, my son David.” One day, because David saved his life, he said, “Thou art more righteous than I; I will do so no more.”
The day before he had gone out to fight against his own son-in-law, in order to slay him. Sometimes Saul was among the prophets, easily turned into a prophet, and then afterwards among the witches; sometimes in one place, and then another, and insincere in everything. How many such we have in every Christian assembly; men who are very easily moulded! Say what you please to them, they always agree with you. They have affectionate dispositions, very likely a tender conscience; but then the conscience is so remarkably tender, that when touched it seems to give, and you are afraid to probe deeper, — it heals as soon it is wounded. I think I used the very singular comparison once before, which I must use again: there are some men who seem to have india-rubber hearts. If you do but touch them, there is an impression made at once; but then it is of no use, it soon restores itself to its original character. You may press them whatever way you wish, they are so elastic you can always effect your purpose; but then they are not fixed in their character, and soon return to be what they were before. O sirs, too many of you have done the same; you have bowed your heads in church, and said, “We have erred and strayed from thy ways;” and you did not mean what you said. You have come to your minister; you have said, “I repent of my sins;” you did not then feel you were a sinner; you only said it to please him. And now you attend the house of God; no one more impressible than you; the tear will run down your cheek in a moment, but yet. notwithstanding all that, the tear is dried as quickly as it is brought forth, and you remain to all intents and purposes the same as you were before. To say, “I have sinned,” in an unmeaning manner, is worse than worthless, for it is a mockery of God thus to confess with insincerity of heart.”
From C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon CONFESSION OF SIN — A SERMON WITH SEVEN TEXTS – SERMON NO. 113 DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, JANUARY 18, 1857, AT THE MUSIC HALL, ROYAL SURREY GARDENS.