I was recently told that my last few blocks have been about sin. Well duh! After all I am, after all, the chief of sinners, the world expert on the subject. Plus, it seems to me that, there is too little emphasis on sin. No one disputes the fact that we have to confess ourselves to be powerless sinners in order to get saved. But what about the issue of sin after salvation?
I knew someone who got saved and then went to a support group. He never brought up any issues and constantly looked upset. When asked why he was coming to the support group and what he wanted to work on. He said that he was fine and that he was good. When it was pointed out that there is no one good, other than God, that the continued struggle is lifelong and that if we quit growing we are doomed to go backward. He jumped up cursing and swearing and walked out.
Read I John starting with the first chapter. You can see him struggling with the issue. He says, “I am writing this stuff to you fellow believers so you quit sinning. And if you run around sinning all the time and walking in darkness, how do we know you are even saved? However if on the other hand you say, “well thank God I do not sin anymore, thank God I am perfect.” The truth is not in you. But, if you admit you are a sinner and then wallow in your guilt, that makes no sense. because if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to help us grow. We certainly do not want to run around sinning so Grace can abound!”
I find that when a person is saved by Grace by acknowledging their sinful condition and crying out to God the Father to have mercy on them based on the finish work of Jesus Christ. They then are led away by the devil and wander in two directions. Having been saved by Grace, like the foolish Galatians, they might be tempted to then try to deal with the ongoing struggles in their own strength. They can then take credit and feel superior to those they think they are doing better than. The much more common response is, “I got saved so I do not need to think about sin any more I am sure I am just fine. There are few people who are messed up enough to think that they are perfect. In fact they say, “well nobody is perfect!” On the other hand if you asked them what the Holy Spirit is talking to them about. If you ask them what they are currently working on. They either will have no idea what you are talking about or they will come up with some trivial little thing like, “well may be I am 2 nice.”
So why bother identifying issues of current short fall or trespass? It will certainly help me stay humble, be less likely to judge others, keeps me aware of my need to apply the word of God to my life, my need for the Holy Spirit and fellow believers, and stay in constant prayer, teach me lessons that make me useful to others and a good tool in the Lord’s hand, and allows me to make amends to those we have hurt, allows me to bring healing into the areas I have formerly caused damage to.
For example, the apostle Paul was granted the privilege of going through much suffering in order to build the church that he had destroyed. Now he might not have been ministering to the actual people he had killed or imprisoned yet I am sure it was a great healing for him to build the church and the Kingdom.
A basic rule of Bible understanding is that if it tells me to do, it is because I don’t. If it tells me don’t, it is because I do. And obedience is only seen clearly by understanding that it is the opposite of what I naturally yield my body parts towards. This may be why others have been impressed by my practical understanding of what godliness looks like. It may be, as the chief of sinners, I have the advantage of being a living breathing model of what not to do.
God has been increasing my burden for all the fellow believers who are satisfied with getting saved and then coasting, with getting saved and maybe getting enough godliness to overcome bad habits or fix damaged relationships and then coast.
Dear Lord help me to delight lifelong in the process of making my ways shrink and your ways grow. You must increase and I must decrease.