Fighting Sin Is Hard

News flash: Fighting sin is hard work.

The fact of the matter is that none of us are sin free practically. In Christ we are justified, sin debt cancelled, righteousness of Jesus counted to us. Practically, however, we all still sin and this is why we need the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus’ eternal work work in the gospel is key to us not being condemned.

See, we have a new heart that loves God and wants to obey him because of the work of the gospel. But we have this leftover thing the bible calls “the flesh”(see Romans 7 for Paul’s struggle with it). The flesh is desires that are of the “world system” and desires that the “world system” appeals to (1 John 2:15-17). So, there is quite literally a war going on inside of every follower of Jesus. This war is full of wins and losses on a daily basis. Any person who tells you they don’t struggle with sin is not a  Christian because they’ve completely given into sin and no longer view their rebellion as sin. For the person who fights it, they will tell you that it’s all out war.

Sin for the Christian will 1) affect their ability to focus on what matters, 2) limit their ability focus on truth, 3) will hinder the ability to assign value to tasks, 4) affect the spiritual climate of warfare around them and their family, 5) will affect their view of the Father’s love for them, 6) will hamper their spiritual insight and influence, 7) will make them put up a self-imposed distance between them and Father, 8) will cause them isolate from fellowship, 9) cause them to run from prayer (because you have to talk to Jesus with that “elephant in the room), 10) will affect how they feel physically and a host of other things I’m sure you all can add affects of sin based on your experience.

Whats crazy is that post-sin no Christian enjoys the fruit of sin. We hate it. But we see the power of the rebellion and the curse to cause short memories of the bitter fruit so as to be fooled again by the promise of sweet tasting fruit. “You will be like God knowing good and evil.” You can just hear the hiss of the serpent in temptations that come our way. “This will be good for you. You can be the determiner of your own happiness.”

Romans 7:11 reminds us that sin is deceptive.

John 8:44 reminds us that Satan is the father of lies and deceit and this is his native language.

1 John 2:15-19; 5:19 reminds us that the lusts of our “flesh” are from the “world system” and this system is operated by the Liar.

Romans 8:13 reminds us that we must kill sin or it will kill us and we will evidence we are not really followers of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that we can, in Christ, win against sin by taking the escape route the ever-present Jesus gives us in the moment. We just have to fight to take it.

This last passage combats some of the lies of sin. 1) It reminds us that Jesus is near to the tempted not distant. Lean on that when tempted. 2) Jesus is actively providing a way to get out of that temptation. Look for divine escape routes. Look hard. Don’t let go of finding that passage to life. 3) In Christ, we can bear up under that lie that promises sweet fruit. We have the truth of God’s word, the witness of the Holy Spirit and the present Jesus to help us know that sin is bitter and that we like life better and we can go with the superior desire of life.

So, I invite you to journey with me as I try to put a sword to my sin. Let’s remember that sin kills. Holy Spirit gives life. Let’s kill sin and partake of abundant life!

 

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Why Should I Deal With My Sin?

Why should I deal with my sin?

The gospel makes the successful killing of sin possible because it a powerful and supernatural message that rips spiritually dead and blind sinners from the domain of darkness and transfers them to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Creation:

There is one God who is the creator of all things, including man created in God’s image. This Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is holy, just and the definition of love.

Fall:

Though we were once in fellowship with God, we are now cut off from him because of the rebellion started by our parents in the garden. The root of that rebellion was their choice not to believe God and to try and make themselves God instead. This treasonous act failed and the judgment was eternal death.

Terribly and tragically, this rebellion is passed on from generation to generation as a curse, the curse of sin and brokenness and death and all things wrong in created order. Even the dirt is now cursed.

All people inherit both the sin and the judgment. Our sin makes it impossible for us to earn our way back to Father.

Redemption:

Since we can’t earn our way back to Father and out of the curse, God the Father, being rich in mercy and eternal purpose began the work of redeeming us from the curse through revealing himself to man who once knew him face to face. The entire bible records and explains the culmination of that work of redemption in the coming of the ultimate missionary, Jesus, to break the curse and redeem us back to Father and establish his kingdom rule.

Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived perfectly and revealed Father clearly.

In the fullness of time he went to his appointed death on Roman cross as the perfect sacrifice to ransom us from the curse of the fall. Jesus paid the penalty of our sin and rose from the grave conquering death and proving that all he said and did was true. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection all those who will repent of our sin, believe this good news and follow Jesus have their sin debt cancelled and the very perfection of Jesus accounted to them so that they are adopted as Father’s children.

Restoration:

But that is not the end of the story. All those who repent and believe are given a mission to engage in taking this good news of Jesus’ rule to all nations and telling the good news that Jesus kingdom is being spread over all things and that Jesus is taking back all things from the curse of the fall, including people who will repent and believe, and he is going to return and complete the establishment of his rule in a redone and sin free created order where his people will have Eden regained and face to face fellowship fully restored forever.

  1. The gospel overcomes sin.
  2. The gospel is where we can take refuge when we do sin.
  3. The gospel is also how we live in killing sin by believing what is says about us, running to that truth, and living in that truth and by that truth.

In other words, doing what is says about us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Why should I even deal with my sin and kill it? Why not just ignore it and hide it?

I have to remember that sin is deadly. The wages of sin is DEATH. Sin is a killer. And sin not only kills the sinner, but it corrupts the spiritual environment of the who community, thus affecting others.

  1. My sin is never isolated to me.

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” – Hebrews 12:15

Hebrews 12:15 is an exposition of Deuteronomy 29:18-19.

“Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.” – Deuteronomy 29:18-19

What do we learn from these passages?

The “bitter root” is turning away from the Lord for little “gods”, which are nothing more than allegiances other than Jesus (food, sex, cars, houses, sports, peoples expectations, etc.)

Going after little “gods” produces fruit, not of the Spirit, but the fruit of the curse.

The fruit of the curse leads to a stubborn heart that fools itself into believing they are ok.

The fruit of the curse leads to God sweeping those who do not take cover in the grace of God away.

The writer of Hebrews warns that this kind of fruit defiles many.

My sin is never isolated to me.

  1. Our salvation is at stake.

I can’t live in rebellion against God and be a follower of Jesus. Followers of Jesus repent. (See 1 John 3)

Repentance is evidence that I’m “saved”, been transformed by the gospel.

Illustration: When you catch a fish and you get it up on land what does that fish struggle to do if on the ground? Get back into the water, right? Why, because it can’t live in the air. Because its identity and make up is, “fish”. It got fooled, took the bait, got caught, but was instantly sorry and worked with all its might to get into and stay in the water. It’s a fish.

When a Christian bites the bait of sin and gets landed by their folly, a follower of Jesus will flail with all their might to get right. Why? They can’t live in sin. Their identity and make up is, “follower of Jesus”. They got fooled, took the bait, got caught, but was instantly sorry and will work with all their might to get right and stay right. They are a follower of Jesus. It’s their identity.

A fish that stays on the land is dead and ceases to be a fish because it dies.

A person that loves their sin more than righteousness is not a Christian. They are dead in sin. They need to be saved or they will end up in hell.

  1. The gospel’s reputation is at stake.

If we don’t take sin seriously, we communicate that Jesus’ death was really of no account. Jesus didn’t die so we could make sin our pet. Jesus died to kill sin in us and reconcile us back to the Father.

  1. The church family is at stake.

Your spiritual vitality is at stake. There is more at work than meets the eye. If we don’t deal with sin and restore sinners then we allow the evil one access and run the awful risk of a harvest of “bitter roots” in a plethora of cancerous ways.

My great desire for you is that you would see and savor Jesus Christ in all things.

Everything we say is intended to drive you away from the rebellion, the curse and it’s fruit and drive you to see the majesty of King Jesus and his kingdom and love that more than the cancerous and bitter root of sin.

If you are in Christ, then all the power of the gospel is available to walk in righteousness and repentance. We have been rescued and owe all our worship to the King who rescued us.

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.