Hello, all. In the spirit of Batman, I am rising from the ashes of my writing hiatus and returning, in heroic timing, to give you a mediocre piece on a topic that’s grabbed ahold of me recently. I’m here today (in my room, but in your hearts) to address sin. If you don’t want to hear about it, then go back to your Twitter now. Conner don’t care.
Let me preface this by admitting that I am not perfect. There, I said it. At times, I may write from a stance of someone who sounds like he has it figured out, but that is false. I, simply, have had truth invested in me and I am now regurgitating it for your benefit and mine. I am slowly succeeding at killing some sin that I struggle with and I ask that you pray for me in the process. Also, this blog may not be for the very spiritually advanced, but maybe the spiritually young and the spiritually eager. So, if you’re too cool for school, leave now for you are dead to me.
It also seems crucial to note here that the primary interest of God in history is to glorify Himself. He loves us, yes, but sin is here and sin was triumphed over on the cross, because God’s chief desire is exalt Himself as Lord and to make His radiant glory shine above all other things. Please keep that in mind as well as you proceed.
We don’t talk about sin too in-depth anymore. In my godly, southern-Baptist home I’ve always known about sin and why I shouldn’t do it. It’s displeasing to God. It makes Him frown. But there’s so much more to sin than the literal action of it and the emotional consequence. There is a gravity of sin to understand. There are depths to explore. Not so much secrets about sin, but stuff they (the man) assume we’ll figure out on our own. Let’s jump in, shall we?
Mmkay, so Genesis. You know Genesis, right? In Genesis, we see a historical account of the fall of man (Genesis 3). Man was made in perfect fellowship with God, he was tempted by a speaking serpent (Nagini?), he sinned, and he was cast out from the Garden of Eden. Well, technically, it was woman who sinned first. Thanks a lot, girls! LOL. Nonetheless, man fell.
What are the consequences of the fall? Man, lacking in moral perfection, is removed from direct and holy fellowship with the perfect Lord God. Then some of the physical ramifications are things like death and painful childbearing. That sucks. That first consequence can’t be understated. Man was designed to be in fellowship with God. That was meant to be the source of his peace and his joy, so now man is left to misery and toil and death because he wasn’t satisfied with what he had. He wanted more. Man, wanting to be on the same level as God, ate of the only thing that was forbidden to him and the ramifications were deadly and painful. Man is dead (Ephesians 2:1). Synopsis: God is still righteous; man is utterly and completely not righteous. He is dead apart from God.
Who is fallen? Everybody. Romans 3:23 stated that all have fallen. Neat verse if you’re into depravity, I guess. Now, those born are born apart from God and need a way to reconcile with Him in order to escape the full weight of His wrath in judgment.
What’s the remedy? I’m not well-versed on salvation in the context of the old testament, but I know faith in God and the coming Savior as well as an element of sacrifice played into the salvation of Old Testament man. New Testament man is an entirely different story. He has access to grace by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Man was imperfect and needed a perfect Savior, so God, in the interest of His glory and our good, sent His Son to live a sinless life, in order that He may go to the cross and bear the weight of sins past, present, and future, so that the Father may be glorified in His unfathomable mercy. The point of grace is that it can’t be earned. The attempt to reach God through religious behavior and works diminishes the radiant glory of His mercy and is therefore of no value. That is supported by Ephesians 2:4-10. Recap: All men were dead and all needed grace, so God, to exalt Himself, provided a means for grace. We were in slavery to sin, but Jesus paid the ransom in order to release us. No ordinary human could do this, but God in Jesus, did. It seems important to note here that Jesus is God. He is three in one and He is one of the Trinity. My brain hurts.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Sin has a root. My class got asked in Sunday school one time what the first sin was. We all kind of agreed that it was the eating of the fruit, but the answer our teacher looked for was Lucifer’s fall from heaven. Trick question. What a douche. Anyway, we have the “first sin,” but there is a deeper root that caused that sin. My buddy C.S Lewis and I would argue that it’s pride. Lewis describes pride as the “complete anti-God state of mind.” It was through pride, through the misconception that he deserved the same power and glory as God that the Devil became the Devil. This is a different kind of pride than say a pride for your country as they compete in the summer Olympiad in London. This is the kind of destructive, ego-centric pride that led to what I believe was a very real spiritual battle between heaven and the fallen angels. It also led to sin entering the world. Now, was this God’s plan? Was sin a part of the grand scheme by which God was glorified? Those are deeper theologies that I’m scared o jump into because I’m dumb.
Did God create sin? No. Instead of expounding on this myself, I will rely on the deeper thoughts of theologian John Calvin:
“The Lord had declared that “everything that he had made … was exceedingly good” [Gen. 1:31]. Whence, then comes this wickedness to man, that he should fall away from his God? Lest we should think it comes from creation, God had put His stamp of approval on what had come forth from Himself. By his own evil intention, then, man corrupted the pure nature he had received from the Lord; and by his fall drew all his posterity with him into destruction. Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity-which is closer to us-rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination.”
Aaaaand here’s an extra tidbit from John MacArthur:
“It is helpful, I think, to understand that sin is not itself a thing created. Sin is neither substance, being, spirit, nor matter. So it is technically not proper to think of sin as something that was created. Sin is simply a lack of moral perfection in a fallen creature.”
Hokay, back to me now. What role does man play in sin? He is enslaved to sin from birth. He loves sin. He is responsible for his sin. Through God’s grace, he can be released from the bondage of sin and by the power of God, he may overcome the temptation to sin. Who tempts man? Does God tempt man? Haha NO.
The Devil is the great tempter. He is evil. However, don’t forget God is sovereign over sin. God planned for evil from the beginning, whenever that was. It didn’t take Him by surprise. God is good and He hates evil, but God uses evil for His glory. He allows evil agents to work for His holy purposes. You may ask, “Conner, why does God allow evil to exist? If He’s sovereign over it, why doesn’t He just make everything good?” Good question. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m God.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV)”
Let’s wrap up with something a little more practical. Sin has no place in the life that’s been redeemed by grace. However, it occurs (1 John 1:8). The point of sanctification is continually becoming more like Christ and that doesn’t happen the moment you get dunked in the baptismal pool. That’s also not an excuse to sin. The apostle Paul urges the early church over and over to put to death the things of the flesh and to kill the fleshly desires (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:24, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:5), so that is something we passionately and sacrificially strive to do as followers of Christ.
Why do we sin? I sin because I’m dissatisfied with God. I don’t outwardly say that, but that is absolutely what I express to God when I sin. I say “The fullness of being in God’s fellowship is not enough to satisfy my soul, so I will seek the momentary pleasure that this world offers” and I pray that the Holy Spirit destroys me every time I make that expression. Here’s what’s cool to me about pleasure. God doesn’t command us to avoid pleasure; He gives us significantly greater, eternal pleasures to pursue. It’s not sacrificial when you consider that the pleasures we’re refusing are being replaced by pleasures that are magnificent beyond words. It is the pleasure of being reunited in fellowship with the loving and glorious Creator of the universe. Rules without relationship don’t work. You can’t give someone guidelines without providing the purpose for the guidelines. God does not want to destroy your pleasure; He wants to be your pleasure. He is glorified when you enjoy Him! He tells you not to walk in covetousness, because He wants you to walk in contentment. He says not to live in anger or worry, because He wants you to live in kindness and joy and peace. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he exhorts Timothy to flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, etc. We’re commanded to delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Don’t mistake that accepting grace means forfeiting pleasure; nay, it would be in direct disobedience to God’s Word if we didn’t pursue the pleasure that is found in the refuge of the Lord. I’m ranting now. I should stop. Recap: Why do we sin? We’re dissatisfied in the pleasure that the Lord offers. Rather, we’ve not yet experienced the fullness of joy found in God because of our own laziness. How is that counteracted? Flee youthful passions. Pursue righteousness, faith, love, joy, and peace. Delight yourself in the Lord. God’s glory and our pleasure are directly intertwined.
Habitual sin under grace is a contradiction in terms. It is a lie (1 John 1:5-6). The redeemed man does not walk in sin. He stumbles, but he is being sanctified and constantly strives to put to death his sinful ways. If I claimed to be saved, but walked in constant sexual sin or I lived some miserable life filled anger and bitterness or self-righteousness and pride, I would be telling you a lie. The grace-filled life has no room for habitual sin. But don’t read that and question your salvation. If you’re worried about it, I would say that’s a good sign that you’re redeemed. Recap: The saved man doesn’t sin out of habit. He stumbles and falls, but God in His infinite grace has forgiven us and allows us to walk upright in Him again and again and again and again and again.
Sin is more powerful than me and I will never defeat it. Not on my own, at least. When we accept grace, through the wisdom and power of God and through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He fills us with His Spirit. This is maybe the best news I can relay concerning sin. In our battle against sin, we are helped by the Spirit of the One who triumphed over it? Whoa. It’s a lame and overused analogy, but it’s like if basketball was conquering you and then you were filled with the spirit of Michael Jordan or something stupid like that. Who better to help than the one who defeated it? Although our bodies are dead because of sin, once the gift of grace is accepted, our soul is regarded as holy and blameless in the sight of God because of the Spirit who dwells within us (Romans 8:9-11). That is fabulous. Sooooo, the Holy Spirit helps us. He convicts us of sin and leads us to truth (John 16:7-15).
I’ll wrap up now. Let’s summarize: Man fell. Man is inherently dead. Grace through Jesus’ atoning blood is the remedy. Pride is at the core of sin. Man must be humbled to accept grace. Sin still occurs, but not habitually. We kill sin by the self-denial of worldly pleasures and the pursuit of godly pleasures. That happens through submission to God and allowing you to be emptied of yourself and filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit.
Yay. We’re done. Sorry if my thoughts jumped around a lot. I enjoyed writing this, so I don’t really care if you enjoyed reading it. I don’t know, I guess I hope you took something away from this. If you found it interesting, get at me. I’d love to converse about sin sometime and let you correct what I said that was wrong. If you want to, you can pray for me in my quest to shed my dead self to make more room for the Holy Spirit to take hold of me. Hey, I love you and God bless you for reading this junt. Peace, grace, and mercy to you, playa.