By Don Gentry
“Don’t tell me I sin!”
If you call yourself a Christian you are identifying yourself as a follower of Christ. You may be tempted to think “Duh, why state the obvious?!” That means that you follow what Christ said about himself and what he came to do. His purpose on earth was to forgive us of our sin, save us from our sin, deliver us from the stranglehold of sin, and take us to a land where there is not and never will be sin.
What seems to be true for many is we say we follow Christ, yet we try to walk as close to sin as possible. We have a major sin problem and as a culture we are screaming, “Don’t tell me I sin!”
The scriptures say that sin is pleasurable, that sin destroys, that we can defeat sin, that sin is part of us from birth, and that sin no longer has victory in our lives. We have a problem of sin in this world. Listen to this quote from a great theologian:
“Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own. I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions.
Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?”
Doesn’t this define the struggle we have with sin in our lives? This next series that we are going to be discussing, is all about sin and why we sin. While there are many reasons that we sin and there are all types of sin, there are really three primary reasons that we sin. We sin because we are either Wounded, Weak, or Wicked.
If we really want to understand the questions that are posed in the quote above, we have to understand what is prompting us to sin in the first place. This series is designed to not only help us understand the power of sin in our lives, but also how to claim the greater power that Christ has given us. The great theologian quoted from above was Paul when he wrote Romans 7:13-25; the quote was taken from the Message. It is a paraphrase of what he actually wrote, but it most accurately defines our struggle with sin.
See you this Sunday at Journey as we start the new series, “What Motivates Sin”.