Beloved, I urge you as soujourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11
For the Christian, this is why the immediate after taste of sin is so awful. Sin wars against our soul.
Unfortunately pastors get front row seats to sin and its consequences. As I’ve thought on this fact, I was scanning over old posts and found this one. Since I wrote it, figure I’ll repost it. Edited it a tad hither and yon.
Here it is:
I’m good at sinning. I am also accountable. I got grown men who can and will check me. I have to submit to that. Jesus submitted to the Father. It’s Christ-like to submit.
I’m not in some gross sin. That’s NOT why I’m writing this…as an internet confession. No, we all sin and that sin is never isolated to ourselves. It affects the whole. This is one of the cancerous deceptions of sin.
It is simply good to test ourselves and make sure that we are walking with Jesus and with each other in righteousness.
The more I love the church, the more any foreign viral infection hurts me personally and I perceive that it hurts the whole. Sin is dark, heavy and awful for everyone in covenant community.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- The gospel overcomes sin.
- The gospel is where we can take refuge when we do sin.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.