Every Christian should be an expert in sin.
We all know about sin, mostly in a fairly general sense, and we know we must stay away from it. If we fail and fall into sin, we are taught to repent and seek forgiveness from God.
Colossians 3:5-6 “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.”
But how quickly do I notice it rising up in my heart? Is my conscience sensitive to its coldness? Do I recognise the progressive development of its power in my life?
Because we are not yet made perfect, we can be desensitised to the effects of the disease and not notice the grip it is getting on our lives. The effects of the world and its attractive offers of success, can also numb our souls to the deadening effect of its powers. And the enemy will raise up all kinds of desires and excuses for soft-pedalling on sin and letting things slip.
We need to know the strategies of all these forces that militate against the Christian. We must recognise the approaches of sin in the early stages, before it cripples our walk with God. The lethargy, procrastination and down right disobedience, will put a clamp on our growth in godliness and make us un-attracted to holiness. We are still bent towards the pull of evil, and the fight remains to overcome it in our daily lives.
It is fairly obvious what wrong doing is and what it does to us. We can recognise lying and stealing and unfairness, but there is a whole crowd of sins that seem to slip our attention. Pride and selfishness, for a start, and the many and varied manifestations of these monsters. Sins that infest the heart and smother our lives and render us useless. We are not willing to look for them, let alone face them squarely and repent and reject them. They are the sins that feed the more outward ones and grow over our souls, keeping us from closeness with God.
1 John 1:7-9 “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Self-justification is a powerful tool of the enemy to keep us feeling right, but in the wrong. We do not suspect ourselves of the serious sins, and regard ourselves as less needy of forgiveness than other bad sinners. This is a subtle and sly trick of the mind, which can keep us in the darkness of hypocrisy.
Proverbs 28:13 “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy”
Self-examination is the skill of being able to look honestly and closely inside ourselves and facing up to what is there. Only when we see our own rottenness, will we face our personal wretchedness and bring the whole sorry lot to God. There is no other way. We need to look at sin in our lives, face it, accept our guilt and repent earnestly to God.
Isaiah 64:6 “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”
Christ crucified on the cross should let us see our need like nothing else. What Jesus suffered was the result of my sin. I must see it.
When I first come to Him for forgiveness I must see it. Every day as I continue to see, confess and repent of my wrongs, is a process of walking closer with God and loving Jesus more. As I understand sin more, so I also grow in gratitude for what Christ has done for me.
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
It is a personal walk. A close personal relationship. No Christian is better than another. We are all bankrupt sinners. We have nothing to give God. My sinful heart only produces sins.
Romans 6:12-13 “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life;”
If we have been changed by God and brought into His family, we should be different. We should be sensitive to our sins and gave a holy horror of them. We should pray that God will open our eyes to see our sinfulness so that we can deal with them and confess them to Him. This is the process whereby we “see the Lord.”
No unholy person will ever see the Lord. Do I really want to see? Then my first priority will be facing my moral and spiritual failures and seeking holiness in my life. There are no half measures. It’s all or nothing… God is holy and requires holiness in us and from us…
Romans 6:18 “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Even as we seek God and walk with Him, the enemy will seek to undermine our credibility. He will bring forward the sins we easily fall into and preclude our witness and muddy our godly lifestyle. It is easy to talk theology, but living a life for God is quite another thing.
Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
Learn what the sin is, repent and turn and know God. Even as I write this I hear Him speak to me…