Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Sin Stopper.
When pastor spoke this past weekend, he made a point I would like to expound on. He said that if we had Jesus with us all the time there would be sinful activity in our lives that would immediately cease. This is a great concept, and one we should consider further. Pastor rightly said that Jesus has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Is sin optional? We are after all just human beings born into sin right? Wrong. That was our former condition. We are now spiritually reborn. We are supposed to recognize that we have died to sin in Christ, and have been born again of the Spirit into newness of life. Romans 6:3-5 in the New King James Version says: Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
We are in Christ free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2) This does not make us free to choose sin, it makes us free to NOT choose sin! The latter is far more awesome than the former! We were free to choose sin before we accepted the gift of eternal life. In fact, we were unable to make any other choice. No matter how hard we tried, we could only muster short episodes of righteous living. Sooner…and I mean much sooner than later, we all would choose sin again instead of continuing with our meager attempt at righteousness. In fact, our motive for that righteousness, simply to impress ourselves or others, or somehow be good, circumventing a need to surrender our lives to Christ, made even our feeble attempt, a show of selfishness, and thus even our goodness was tainted with sin.
The latter however, is far more awesome! Now, in Christ we can choose to NOT sin. We have the freedom to be righteous. Yes, our righteousness comes from Him and not from our deeds. Isaiah 61:10 says I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Our righteousness is absolutely an act of God’s mercy and goodness to us! Our righteous acts are simply in response to our immense gratitude to Him, but they are necessary to illustrate the life we share in Christ. James asked the question; But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20)
So why if we have this new nature, if we are a new creation in Christ, do we still sin? If sin is in fact optional, why do we continue to sin? I think in part it is because we do not have the correct view of scriptures like the one we began with, the one pastor quoted this past Sunday. I think we often look at Hebrews 13:5 and leaving its context behind, fail to see its true meaning. I know that I used to look at it as though God were saying to me; “Ken, I’m always around and I’ll be right here if you need Me”. I got this idea because my earthly dad was always ready to show me how to do something right. His way of making sure the lesson was well received, understood and taken to heart was that after instructing me in how to accomplish something, he would then tell me to do it myself. I always understood that he would be there if I got stuck and made a mistake to help correct me. I appreciate that he did that for me, he is a good dad. His way of teaching me allowed for both my independence and his continued ability to help. Like I said my dad is a good dad. So, when I would read scriptures like this one I would get the Idea that God had told me how to do what was right, and would be right there, waiting in the wings, if I needed Him. With this arrangement, however occasional failures were going to always be a part of the formula.
My misunderstanding came from my comparing God to my ‘good dad’. God is a good, good Father. He doesn’t want to wait in the wings. He isn’t trying to teach me independence. He actually wants to teach me to be totally dependent on Him. So He gave us scriptures such as what we read in Hebrews. Let’s look at it with its context this time. Hebrew 13:4-6 reads as follows: Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” God is actually using an example of sexual sin, one of the most powerful to illustrate His point. He covered all of the bases too. Undefiled marriage, meaning being faithful to our spouses in every way. Fornication and adultery, sin that many of us would say we have zero temptation for, except that we have to use the standard Jesus did, not the one the Pharisees liked. In other words, it is the condition of our hearts Jesus is concerned with far more than the actual conduct of our bodies. (Matt. 5:28) God also warns here to be content with what we have, and holding to the context and considering the current timeframe we live in this is equivalent to telling us to reject the temptations of pornography.
So what did God say was the key to successful righteous living? “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” God is not waiting to see if we need Him, He knows we need Him and so He has promised to be right there to guide and direct our every step. We simply have to lean on Him and be obedient to his every instruction. When we fall to sin it is not because the temptation was too powerful…it is because we have made our God too weak. What I mean by that is we have tried to tell Him to wait in the wings to see if we can do it on our own this time. We can’t. That is former living! Latter living is what is awesome!
So now, accepting His help all the way…go be Awesome!