Understanding Sin

appleWhen God created Adam and Eve, He gave them the ability to think, feel, respond and know right from wrong; He created them in His image.  Since Eve ate that apple there have been sin in all our lives.  Our sin affects every area of lives.  We may not think that just one little sin hurts us but it does!

In The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace gives us the four characteristics of sin.

  1. Sin is universal.  No one is exempt.  Let’s make sure we understand that NO ONE is sinless!  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,.” Romans 3:23 ESV.  There is only one person, ever, to be sinless, Jesus Christ.
  2. Sin may be open and obvious.  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:19-21 ESV, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I will admit those sins are pretty obvious to those around us, don’t you think?
  3. Sin cannot be hidden from God.  “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV.  Our heart is where sin begins with our desires.  We may be good at acting like a Christian…going to church, tithing but that’s not the same thing as living from our hearts,it’s our heart that God looks at deeply.
  4. Sin is justly penalized.  “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:25 ESV.  No sin will ever be overlooked, not big or small.  We deserve death for our sins.  You may be saying well, “it’s just a little bad” well God doesn’t say in His word that one sin is worse than another ~ anything that goes against God’s Word is sin.  This clicked for me when I realized that a small lie is just the same as murdering someone.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?  Think about it… if there were level’s to sin we would sin all the time!  We just wouldn’t do the sins that had the worst  punishment!  If there were, there would always be sin lurking right behind the door. 

God gives us the process for change in Ephesians 4:22 – 32 ESV:

“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Paul leads us to change!  He gives us the steps to make lasting changes in our lives.

In order for us to change we need to forget who we were before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior ~ that life was evil and against God and His ways.  We are to remember who we are!  We are God’s children created in His likeness.  We no longer have to pretend to be who we aren’t!  What a liberating thought!  You may be like I was, pretending to be something I wasn’t.  Keeping up appearances when deep inside I was being eaten alive.  We don’t have to feel that way anymore.  We now can be all we were meant to be in Christ.  We don’t have to sin anymore because we have God’s grace to lead us through.  Our hearts are open to receive and to give to others, joyfully.  Think about your past, the things you regret, the things you are ashamed of… this has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.  It’s gone… you’ve been blessed with a new start, a new you, a new life!

(If you have never trusted Jesus, if you haven’t surrendered to Him, if you haven’t accepted all He has waiting for you; bow your head in humble repentance before God.  Ask the Ruler over all creation to have mercy on your soul, confess your sins (seen and unseen) and ask for forgiveness.  In your own words confess Jesus as Lord, Master of your life starting now.  If you have surrendered all to Jesus, you are no longer under the wrath of God.  Your sins have been forgiven ~ past, present and future. The Holy Spirit is with you now, loving you, guiding you… Amen.)

I want to talk a little about past sins here.  Thoughts of our past sins can grind us to a halt, believe me I’ve been there.  There have been days that I have thought about who I was before and feel as if I can’t function in this “new” life with Christ.  What I came to understand last year (remember my word was faith) was that I needed to have faith in everything God says in His Word ~ not just faith in parts of it!  I came to understand that my thought of my past sins, kept me from having faith in what God says is true…about who He is and what I am though Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV.  Believe this! If you continue to hang on to the sins of your past, you are giving the Devil a foothold into your life.  He will do everything in his power to make you believe that you “aren’t good enough” to be saved by the blood of Jesus.  God has told you through His word, through His promises, you are good enough!  You are His child, He loves you and He will lead you through everything!

We’ve come to understand sin affects every are of our lives, our behaviors and our relationships.  We’ve also come to understand sin grieves God.  We are not going to be perfect, don’t even think that you will or can be, just not going to happen; it’s what we do after we realize we have sinned that will change your life, that will bring you closer to God and to others, especially your husband.

Repentance is the key.  When you realize you have sinned, when your heart aches, repent immediately.  Don’t wait, don’t let it linger.  Offer up your humble repentance to God so He can deal with it.  God wants you to admit to Him your sin.  By admitting your sin to Him you begin to understand sin and the control it can have your life.  I used to wait until the end of the day, during my evening prayers to confess my sins… but do you know what?  I know I would forget half of the sins I’d done that day.  I would forget that I got angry with Hubs for leaving his models stuff all over the table.  I would forget I shook my head at someone, thinking I was better than them.  God doesn’t want you to forget… He wants you to give it up to Him.  Try giving up your sin as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts you… see what changes it will make in your life.  See how fast you grow in God.

Repentance takes work.  It’s not a one time confession.  Don’t get discouraged when the same sin keeps popping up again and again.  God is leading through.  We are instructed in the Word “…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” 1 Timothy 4:7 ESV.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV.