Dealing With Sin

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. — 1 John 2:15-17

This past Sunday Brother Denny spoke about the nature of temptation, and the relation that temptation has to sin in the life of a Christian. There are three areas in which both the non-Christian and the Christian are tempted. They are, as John lists in his epistle, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The lust of the flesh is the love of physical pleasure, in whatever form it comes. The lust of the eyes is the love of material possessions, be they small or large in number, size, or cost. The pride of life is the love of power or prestige — one might say in another way that it’s the love of self-importance. All three of these temptations face every human being on the face of this planet.

There are some important things we ought to note about the nature of temptation and how it relates to sin. Christians do not struggle with sin. Sin is merely surrender. Once you have sinned, you have by definition given up any struggle that there was. The Christian’s struggle is with temptation. Temptation is not in and of itself sin, and God does not tempt us. Satan is the only tempter we have.

Of the tempter: he is a liar. He will even use God’s Word in an attempt to deceive us. A verse from a song comes to mind that describes this adversary: for still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his power and craft are great, and armed with cruel hate; on earth is not his equal. He will lie to us and attempt to convince us that guilt is something we should feel over simply being tempted and not actually falling. He will attempt to confuse us regarding our identity as God’s children.

Who are we then? The Bible teaches that human nature is either fallen or redeemed. These are the only two options and the two cannot coexist with one another. Those who do not have Christ are by nature fallen. They are sinners and if they remain in their sin, they will die as sinners and receive the due penalty of their unforgiven sin, which is separation from God and eternal punishment in hell. Believers are not sinners saved by grace, as some might contend. Believers are children of God. If we truly have Christ, we have a new heart and it is good. The place for sin is gone from the believer’s life. There is no place whatsoever for sin in the life of the believer. It is contrary to our new nature. Sin has no power over us. We are no longer obligated to be its slave. Jesus Christ has broken the power of sin so that we are free to become slaves of righteousness.

As Christians, we must remember that what goes on the cross dies on the cross. Sin was put upon the cross, and with Christ’s sacrifice and subsequent resurrection it was put to death. Satan is never allowed to tempt us beyond that which we are able to bear. God always makes a way out. We sin because we don’t look for the way out that God has provided. Temptation is the room in which the snare of sin resides. God has given us at least one escape from every temptation we face.

So how do we deal with sin in the life of a believer? We talked about this at 707 last night, interestingly enough. We confront it. We stop hiding like Adam and Eve. We stop lying about it like Cain after he murdered his brother Abel. If we live in the flesh, we will die. We must live in the spirit, because this is the path to life. Sin is crouching at the door, it’s desire is for us, it desires to devour us, and if we walk through those doors outside of which sin is crouching, it will have us because we have given it an opportunity to dwell inside us where it does not belong. Either we are killing sin or it is killing us. What we plant in our lives is what we will harvest. If we plant things of the flesh, we will harvest death and destruction. If we plant things of the spirit, we will harvest life and peace.

Sin has been dealt with in the past couple of weeks and is even now continuing to be dealt with in the lives of certain brothers and sisters who have fallen. Sin doesn’t belong in our lives as children of God and it is in fact contrary to our nature if we are true followers of Christ. We confronted sin of all sorts last night: immodesty, lust, drunkenness, gossip, judgmental attitudes, lying, greed, hatred, unforgiveness and more I’m sure. My hope and prayer is that it all got dealt with and that we as both individuals and as a community of the children of God stopped hiding our sin and will begin and continue to be honest about sin when it happens and confess it. Our failure isn’t final, but it needs to be dealt with. 1 John 1:9 assures us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God show to us and acquit us of our hidden faults, for we cannot even discern our own error many times (Psalm 19:8). Help us look for the way out because You have promised that it is there. Help us to confess our failures when they occur and to repent from our sin. Be faithful God and cleanse us from everything that we confess to You. Help us to put the flesh to death so that the spirit may live.

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5 Responses to Dealing With Sin

  1. Rich says:

    5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    The text is present tense and although it immediately refers to Paul (who is at the end of his life) is also refers to anyone who God calls through Jesus Christ

    especially note verse 15 – I am not sre where the idea that a redeemed man is no longer a sinner while in this age comes form but I am sure that it does not come from the Bible.

    Rich

  2. Bill says:

    I fully understand that I am a sinner in the sense that I sin. But does this mean that the two natures coexist within me? Do I have both the regenerate nature that Christ gives me and the fallen nature of mankind within myself after I have received Christ as my savior? Do I have a sin nature still or is this the pull of sin’s temptation because of the body in which my soul dwells?

    Romans 7:14-25 says

    “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” (verses 17-18 and 20-24 emphasized)

    Is my mind regenerated, but my physical body not so and this is why there is a war being waged in my mind and in the members of my body? What part of me (or is it the whole of my being) still retains this sinful nature?

  3. Rich says:

    John 6
    6:35
    Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
    6:36
    But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
    6:37
    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
    6:38
    For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
    6:39
    And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
    6:40
    For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    What you have is the opportunity to choose. From God’s call forward with Paul you can choose to believe and live like a man who has been transferred from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of Christ.

    Two truths – side by side – both true, God is calling persons to himself through the work of Jesus Christ and the one who is called is believing the One whom God has sent.

    God initiates the process and God completes the process. You and I believe. We trust the work of Christ.

    We have our mind renewed by God’s Word and we learn, little by little, to live in His Kingdom. We learn to live the right way – we learn to choose righteousness which God has given to us through the gospel.

    Romans 1:17
    For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

    Consider what Paul says God has done.

    Romans 3:19-28
    19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

    From Ro 8:1-9 -1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
    because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death –

    The story is completely God’s.

    26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

    Your ability to trust and therefore choose rightly is an act of the Spirit of God. Your ability to hear the Spirit of God improves through prayer and studying of His Word as presented in the Holy Scriptures.

    May God grant your prayers for a renewed mind and a self-less, Christ centered life.
    Trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ will transform you from being a “sin manager”.

    May you become one who seeks right living, holy living which is only possible by God’s work of grace.

    Rich

  4. Bill says:

    So I am fallen short of the glory of God (i.e. I am sinful man), but God has given Christ to demonstrate both His justice and that it is He who is justifying us. God has given me even the ability to trust and know Christ through the Spirit. God has given me the ability to choose to subject myself to God as a slave to righteousness and not to sin.

    God has done everything, I have merely trusted Him and chosen rightly or wrongly when He has presented me with the ability to choose between righteousness and unrighteousness.

    Is this a more proper understanding of sin? That is to say, it is the work of God alone and that God alone should receive any glory or praise for all that is done in our lives as we are transformed from death to life and conformed to the image of Christ. And we have done nothing but choose among what has been presented to us by God.

    I think this flows alongside the mindset of a higher view of God which we have briefly touched on in our conversations.

  5. Rich says:

    That is the life of Shalom which God alone provides. Your summary words are beautiful.

    Amen. I think this is the essential truth in Acts 17 as Paul unveils a worldview in which only Jesus Christ makes sense.

    Enjoy Jesus Christ. God our Father has given Him – remember the theme of “Desiring God” Jesus Christ in us, over us, and through us is how we glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Trusting in the completed work reflects a higher confidence in God and a lessened confidence in myself. which is to say that as my mind is renewed by God through His Spirit and His Word my view of God rises.

    Rich

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