I hate sin. I absolutely despise it with all my being. It has caused and continues to cause so much horrible atrocities in the world and so much residual pain that it is not only personal sin but the overall affects of it on the entire creation which should hold our ire.
My family has been focusing a lot lately on the story of Creation. Discussion about how and what God created on the first 6 days, how long the days were, the farce of evolution, the beauties of God’s work and His special creation, man. We have discussed the importance of marriage, what marriage is (and isn’t) and what a family is.
Now we are delving into the destructive nature of sin and its first entrance into our world. It is so tragic to consider the perfect state of man before the fall; that there was no pain, no suffering, no dying, no thorns, no bloodshed, no sickness, no disease, no death; then in what seems like a moment — paradise is lost. The first humans go from watching humpback whales breaching or a herd of brachiosaurus wondering the plains, and from communing daily with our Lord; to being ejected from the garden to till the ground for the rest of this world’s current existence.
Due to man’s pride and rebellion (Romans 5:12) we have fallen into this current state. Due to the rebellion of one man, we find ourselves battling sin committed by other people and ourselves daily.
It isn’t so much the sin that is done in front of people but the sin which is done when no one is around that disturbs me the most.
It seems worse because this sin isn’t due to peer pressure since no one is around to see it. You sin because you are enticed and drawn away by your very own lusts and desires (James 1:14). Whatever your appetite for sin is at that time you feast upon the putrid filth for a moment of fleeting pleasure.
There is also an immense amount of shame that comes from this sin since you are doing it in front of the throne of God. John MacArthur once said something to the effect of “it’s as if you are walking right through the gates of Heaven and before the throne of God and committing this sin right in front of Him.” That is an accurate and horrifying statement.
Think also about those few people in your life who think you are a capable Christian; one who seems to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. They know you have struggles, but they can still rely on you when they need a word of encouragement from the Scriptures or a prayer of support; maybe even a tough question about a particularly troubling past. You are thinking (at least I am) that if they knew some of the thoughts or actions, words, deeds or negligence of my private life then they would much rather go somewhere else to get help.
Sin separates us from our fellowship with our Savior. That has to be the most unbearable part of this all since it drives a wedge between your fellowship with Christ until you repent.
What I have tried to do over the years is amass an arsenal of Scriptural principles that would help in those dire situations when intervention of the Holy Spirit to stop me from sinning is needed. Paul did say that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So when sin begins to overtake you, look for your way out. It will be there.
Here are some arrows which can be added to your quiver for help. Commit these scriptures to memory and remember the principles to the next time the desires come, they can be rushed away (Psalm 119:11):
- Jesus died for this sin, how can I commit the same sin repetitively that nailed Him to that cross?
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross,” Colossians 2:13-14.
Our sins put Christ on the cross. When we reach for the mouse to click on that inappropriate picture; when we lose our temper with our children; yell at our spouse; curse the driver in front of us; get lazy at work; lie; steal time; cheat on our taxes and ________ (you fill in the blank) we are choosing to commit those very sins for which the Savior took the pain upon Himself. We are “crucifying once again the Son of God to [our] own harm and holding Him up to contempt” and “trampled the Son of God under foot, who [have] treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified [us], and [we have] insulted the Spirit of grace,” (ref Hebrews 6:6b & 10:29b).
Sin is an ugly curse and Jesus has already died for ours. Why do we want to relish in that which killed our precious Jesus?
- Does this glorify Christ for what He has done for me?
“Man’s chief end,” states the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” All that we do in life is to be done fervently to glorify Christ as our Lord and Savior. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says it best: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Is this sin glorifying Christ in your body? To the world?
- If Christ were to come back right now would this be something I would want to be doing?
I am not going to get all “Left Behindy” on you but I will say that the Lord’s return is imminent. He is at hand ready to come back and take His bride and be with her for eternity. Is this what you want to be doing when the trumpet of God sounds and Christ comes for you?
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief,” 1 Thess. 5:1-4.
When He comes back for His bride, do you want to be caught doing whatever sin it is you are enjoying?
- Would this be something I would want to do if this were my very last breath?
You never know when you will die. Does this mean you are condemned in hell if you sin in your last moments? No; but we should desire to present our bodies to Christ unblemished especially if it is the last thing we do.
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b.
- God is omniscient – He knows all;He sees all and God is omnipresent – He is present with you while you are doing this sin. This is one of the most terrifying yet comforting attributes of all. God knows and sees all – even that sin you conceive, are in the process of committing and have done. I shudder to think of all that the Savior has seen me do and what He has heard…
“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
- Will this damage my testimony before the world of God’s saving grace?
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.
“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us,” 2 Corinthians 4:1-7.
Our lives are a shining example of what Christ has done for us and a trophy of grace that exemplifies His love for mankind. Are our actions conducive to showing that love?
Don’t be discouraged at the raging battle of sin inside you; be encouraged that the struggle is part of the fruits of repentance; Jesus is on your side and He is for you (Romans 8:31). Know that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). Think on these things the next time you start to sin and hide these Scriptures in your heart. Let’s glorify God through His Son, Jesus by mortifying the deeds of the flesh.
Soli Deo Gloria