Understanding Sin

Understanding Sin

Sin is anything that comes between God and us: any person, place, attitude, belief, desire, or activity. It includes sins of commission and sins of omission. Satan is behind it all twisting and spinning the truth, tricking us into sin.

 

I was fooled as a young man. I was sure if I worked hard enough, I could get it all done and provide food, clothing, shelter, and transportation for my family. Which I did, but did not realize how my wife was becoming a single parent because I was never at home. She needed me there. Not as a worker, but as a husband and father; to go through life together and deal with all the stresses that a young family faces. I did not love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). I eventually figured it out.

 

Christ is the Key

Jesus is the ONLY way to overcome sin. We can not do enough or be good enough to overcome the attack of the enemy. It is beyond our design or ability. I fought against lust for 25 years. I knew I was saved but did not understand why lust would not go away. Pornography and racial prejudice and a lot of other stuff went away, but not lust.

It finally was revealed to me I was fighting against sin with my flesh. I was trying to be “good enough” through the works of my flesh–my human nature. I knew I was saved by my faith in Jesus, and I would spend eternity in heaven. But, I believed a lie from hell for 25 years that I could overcome lust by denying myself that indulgence. It never worked. I continued to see the pretty girl and have thoughts beyond what I knew were proper.

 

Trust in Him

During a moment of solitude, I finally got it. I was trusting Jesus for eternity and me for today. That’s wrong! I knew Him as my Savior but not as my Lord, especially for today. I was half-dealing with the sin in my life in my way. I was not trusting Jesus with this. I was picking and choosing how I wanted to be a Christian–and lust would not go away! I was trying to overcome sin with my flesh–by being good enough. It was not working.

By faith, we trust Jesus for eternity. Similarly, Jesus can be trusted to save us and deliver us from the daily attacks of sin we experience. He empowers us to obey the Bible’s commands on how we treat one another and have relationships. To “love one another as I have loved you” when that “other” happens to be someone not very lovely. When we choose not to love the unlovely, that attitude is sin and is coming between God and us. We need to release Jesus and His Power in our lives for today.

 

Take Up Your Cross

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Jesus can see the end from the beginning. He knows what flesh is about–He was a man. He knows we need to hear something pretty severe to break the grip sin has on us for today–kill the flesh. Not physically kill yourself, but spiritually, give it up!

If a Roman soldier told you to take up your cross, he meant you were going to die. Jesus carried His cross to His crucifixion. To deal with sin in this world today, we must see ourselves as crucified with Christ (Romans 6:3,6,8) and follow Him (take up your cross daily and follow me). Put Jesus between you and the sin. HE CAN DEAL WITH IT–He has, and He can overcome sin–you haven’t and you can’t. Do this by FAITH in Him; the same faith you are trusting in Him to keep you out of hell at your death. Follow Him today–right now, to deal with the sin in your life!

Hopefully, you knew Christ as Savior and Lord from day one. I did not. It took me 25 years to break the grip from hell that was distorting my life. I fought it well; I never gave into it. But what a waste of time and effort! I should have changed long ago to make disciples and teach them to obey His commands– as He commanded me (Matthew 28:18-20).


Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

“I know we are all in the same family, but the Holy Spirit seems to always be out of town–I don’t know him very well.” One morning a member of my men’s group shared this comment, and it made me think.

Why is it that many of us understand God and Jesus, but we are a bit fuzzy on the Holy Spirit? Christians celebrate the birth and death of Jesus with Christmas and Easter. We have vivid Bible stories of God creating the world, God speaking to Noah to build the ark and guiding Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. But things slow down with details on the Holy Spirit. Or do they?

Why don’t we know the Holy Spirit the way we do God and Jesus? We are aware of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but for some reason, it is harder to put words with the Holy Spirit. We don’t have the same understanding as we do with God and Jesus.

This was another result of the fall from grace when Adam dropped the ball in the Garden of Eden. He stood there and watched as Eve believed a lie from Hell and did nothing to stop it. Furthermore, he tried to blame what happened on God and Eve. He took no responsibility for his failure to step up and be the man God created him to be. And it repeats to this day. This “fall” is when sin entered the world. It’s where the sinful nature that we each are born with came from.

 

What the Bible Says

The Bible has a lot to say about the Holy Spirit, but our fallen human nature doesn’t want to hear it. We don’t want to embrace the Holy Spirit because He convicts our sinful lives. Our innate sinful nature doesn’t want to understand.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” John 14:16-17.

Jesus was speaking here to the disciples as he was preparing to leave them. Later in the passage, Jesus described the Spirit as a counselor, who will teach us and remind us of what Jesus has said. Later in the book of John, we are told that the Holy Spirit will also convict the world of their guilt.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul explains that without the Holy Spirit we are not going to “get it”–we will not understand what Jesus, the Bible and God’s plan for humanity is all about.

“God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God… The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God” 1 Corinthians 2:10-14.

In Galatians, Paul tells us to live by the Spirit, and not by our sinful nature; these two natures are contrary and will conflict with one another.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentlenesses, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

 

The Devil’s Conspiracy

Could it be we are falling victim to a conspiracy to keep us locked in our sins? Why don’t we know the Holy Spirit very well? The devil does not want us to. Satan and his demons are behind this conspiracy to keep us from knowing and understanding the Holy Spirit.

The enemy manipulates our sinful human nature to the point that we do not want to be convicted of our sin (John 16:8). There are things about sin that we enjoy– that’s one reason we go there. Without the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we are not going to break from sin on our own. The shattered lives we witness every day are a testimony of NOT knowing the Holy Spirit and not living by the Spirit and not being led by the Spirit. Those shattered lives are the opposite of that–doing life by the world’s ways.

 

We Need the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the crucial link to overcome sin in our lives today. His conviction calls us out on our sins. When we ignore this, we will become hardened and calloused to sin. Continuing to do this long term allows sin to become a way of life.

The Holy Spirit is the power that raised Jesus from the grave, and that power is there for us to overcome sin in our life. We tap into that power when we believe the gospel–that Jesus died for our sins. By our belief in his death and resurrection on our behalf, we too can be free from sins and the devil’s grip on our life today! The Holy Spirit gives birth to our spirit; we are “born again” by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Without the Holy Spirit, we try to overcome sin on our own–by our flesh, will power, human nature, or be good enough. If that got it done, our world would be free of sin by now. No one wants to perpetuate the downside of sin–we only want to enjoy the pleasures. We have all tried to break free of sin, and it’s adverse effects, but man can not do it on his own. This is what Jesus was all about. He came, He lived, He died to pay the penalty for OUR sins. There is nothing about us that will ever be sufficient for our righteousness before God, apart from Jesus Christ. That would be like driving your car to the moon–you can’t do it!

If we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and unrighteousness and choose to accept Jesus, God will forgive us of our sins. We will be acceptable to Him in heaven for eternity. If we also identify Jesus as Lord of our life for today, we can finally break free of sin’s grip on our daily life. Our Savior died on a cross at Calvary–our Lord rose on the third day–He is alive!

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13

 

Receiving the Spirit

So, how do we receive the Holy Spirit?

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.'” Acts 2:38

Jesus told us that whoever believes in Him, “streams of living water will flow from within him.” The flowing water is the Spirit, whom his followers would receive. In Acts, Paul had a conversation with some disciples regarding the Holy Spirit. “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus… When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them.” So, we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior! When we accept Christ, God immediately seals us with His Spirit.


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