Last Saturday as the elders and those in training for ministry gathered, the continued discussion on sin the life of the believer launched itself into a new puddle. As we splashed around for a bit an object lesson jumped into my mind. Writing on the board a list of sins from the brothers in the room gave a clear picture as to the measure of our depravity but also to the evidence of God’s grace in our lives. One of the brothers made the comment that for many professing believers that continue to sin actively and openly, it seems they hide behind the scripture and use the bible for an excuse for their sin. This comment opened a door of great dialog and here is how we landed our plane that day.
Sin is always sin and it is an abomination to God because God’s worthiness is His holiness. Holy defines God. God is LIGHT John says and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
Sin is always in the life of all humans. Although we grow in grace and are sanctified more and more, there is always sin. (Romans 7)
As one grows in the Lord, he or she sins less, but is never sinless. (1 John 2:1)
The sins of the “saints” are not purposefully visible but for the most part are the root sins of the heart and mind. (James 1)
As a person acts on the sin of the heart and mind, it gives birth to more sin that compounds. (James 1:15)
For the person who claims fellowship with God but continues in active and open rebellion, it is hard to see regeneration through grace in that life and thus, the reason for church discipline in the scripture – to prove the work of the Lord. (1 John 1:5)
Here’s the point of this. Sin hides within the flesh and often times one likes to abuse Romans 7 as an excuse to just keep on sinning because God will use the sin to show His grace. Well, Paul says that we should not sin so that grace may abound, so that type of thinking is anti-christ at best. Furthermore, if one desires to use Romans 7 as the proof text for continual rebellion in the life of the believer, then let us look at the sin that Paul says he struggles with inside his members. Paul’s sin is clearly stated in verse 8; covetousness. So now we must look at how this is seen in his life. Well, it really isn’t. Had Paul not confessed this sin, it would have never been known. Now, he could have envied others and talked about it and pursued the path of covetousness, however he fought by grace through faith to stand in righteousness outwardly.
The outcome of our discussion: We must never give an excuse for sin. Never in the life of a believer must we abuse scripture to prove that we are just normal. Paul’s sin was contained within his heart. It did not diminish the severity of sin, however, Paul lived as a slave to righteousness and exhorts all believers to do the same. It’s like the mobile in the picture, the gears and controls are all hidden, but then when they are wound and let go, the little animals spin around very visible. My thoughts on this issue is that our internal struggle with sin is enough, as saints, let us fight and make war with the word of God as our sword to fight the visible and active sin in our lives. Let’s cut the animals off the mobile and quit winding up the spring. Repent and trust in Christ. That is the daily command of the called of God.
Thank God each day for His grace and let us live as though He has truly done a work in us.