Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Struggling and Living in Sin

I wrote this on Facebook a couple months ago and figured Id put it up here....

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of ? Those things result in death!  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6

This has really been hitting me hard lately.  I've done a lot of really stupid things in my life, things that could have cost me my life.  Thankfully, God gave me grace that I did not deserve.  The life of a follower of Christ is not an easy one.  I think a lot of people come in thinking it's going to be easier than what their lives were before.  Unfortunately, whatever ear-tickling sermon you heard that made you think that, lied to you.  It's not easier, it's harder!  You have morals and rules the rest of the world doesn't have!  Sure some of them are the same, you still can't kill anyone, but now you can't hate anyone either.  That person who frustrates you to no end and gets on your last nerve?  You actually have to LOVE them!  That person you have strong affections for?  You can't sleep with them unless you're married to them!  Don't even get me started on lying!  The things that you used to be able to get away with before following Christ, you can't get away with now.  Well, I can't say you CAN'T get away with it necessarily as in you'll go to jail or anything, but you have a perfect God who has set some boundaries for you to follow and there's a reason for those boundaries.  You need to follow those boundaries or there are consequences.  You'll pay the price somehow.  Now you may say, "What happened to Jesus dying for me and taking my punishment for me?  What happened to him forgiving me?"  Yes, he forgives you, but you have to turn from your sins.  What does Jesus say to the woman caught in adultery who was about to be stoned to death?  "Go, and sin no more." - John 8:11  That means we are to turn away from our sin, not return to it.  If we keep returning to it saying, "Oh God will forgive me anyway" we are nailing him to the cross again!  We are taking advantage of his grace that quite frankly, none of us deserve.  When we give ourselves to God, we are giving up our old, sinful ways and putting on righteousness.
You know, there's a saying I hear a lot, my husband and I were discussing this a couple days ago and I know I've been guilty of saying it myself, "Only God can judge me" or even "God knows my heart."  If you really think about that honestly, that's a really scary thought.  You know what God says about the heart?
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?"  - Jeremiah 17:9  So our hearts deceive us, and above all is DESPERATELY wicked, and on top of that God is able to judge us.  That should terrify you when you say, "Only God can judge me."  Honestly, I would much rather be judged by people than be judged by God.  So if our hearts are wicked, what do we do with that?  We turn to Christ for help.  Only he can purify our hearts.  When we sin we don't keep on returning to that sin like we're returning to vomit, we turn away from that sin and ask God to forgive us and help us to not do that anymore.
"Well you don't know what I'm going through.  You don't know what it's like.  You don't know me."  I struggle with sin, maybe not the same sin you struggle with, but I struggle with sin too.  All sin feels great at the time, unless it's envy, that really doesn't feel great at all.  You think about any other kind of sin out there though, it feels awesome at the time!  Revenge?  Lust?  Gluttony?  How many do you want me to list?  They all feel wonderful at the time, and may feel wonderful for a long time.  But that's just it, if sin felt bad, would we do it so often?  Would it be such a temptation if it felt as bad as it really is?  We would avoid it like the plague!  Because there is sin in the world there is death.  Because there is sin there is hell.  If we knew the consequences of sin and it felt just as bad as those consequences, Jesus would've never had to have come and died for us because we never would've sinned in the first place!  But reality is sin feels awesome, it feels great until we get so caught in its web it seems like there's no escape.  The alcoholic has their fun drinking until they're homeless, lost their family and everything they've ever loved, and are stuck wondering how their life would've been different if they hadn't gotten into drinking in the first place.  The person who struggles with an eating addiction has their fun eating until they're over 350 lbs and can't get out of bed because of all their weight, and wonders how different their life would've been if they controlled their eating or ate healthier.  Or perhaps the person who's friendship with the opposite sex while married turns into something else.  Marriage is having some problems and this friend has been a great comforter.  But then their spouse finds out and they get divorced.  Months down the road and this friend no longer wants this person anymore or turns out to be abusive.  This person wonders what life would've been like if they had sorted their problems with their spouse instead of cheating on them.
Sin feels great at the moment, or even for a while, but eventually, it catches up to you.  You never just get away with it.  Man or woman of God, I have to ask you this. If you're living in sin and don't take this the wrong way, I don't mean if you struggle with sin, because we ALL struggle with sin.  I'm saying if you're LIVING in sin, can you really still call yourself a follower of Christ?  God understands we all struggle with sin.  We're all going to sin until the day we die.  But there's a difference between STRUGGLING with sin and LIVING in sin.
What's the difference?
Here's an example on a very popular topic right now:
You have two people who identify themselves as homosexuals.  They both claim to be Christians.  The first one says, "I have attractions to the same sex, but I abstain from sex and I don't flirt with the same sex.  I struggle with this, but because it goes against my Christian values, I'm doing my best to abstain from homosexual activities."  The second one says, "There's nothing wrong with me acting out my homosexuality because I love the person I'm with and this is just how I was made.  Those of you who disagree can just suck it."
The person who struggles with sin is the first person.  They acknowledge it's sinful and are doing their best to not act out on it, even though it is a struggle for them.  The person who's living in sin on the other hand is the second person, who refuses to turn from their sinful way.  The first person is more likely to repent and turn from their sin if they fall into it than the second person.  The second person doesn't even care what God has to say about their sin, what matters is that it feels right, and as we discussed, sin tends to feel right.  If the second person doesn't even care what God has to say about their sin, can they really call themselves a follower of Christ?
I hope with all this being said, you will really take a look at yourself in your walk with the Lord and ask yourself, "Am I really a follower of Christ?"  Perhaps it will wake you up like it has woken me up.  God bless.

1 comment:

  1. “A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity