Sin is a concept that resides in the deep subconscious mind of believers. When we don’t hear the word in Church or come across it in our reading of the Word, we are plagued by it by our conscience. When our behavior does not harmonize with what we know as the will of God, the concept of sin re-surfaces. Not only that, but when our Spirit harmonizes with the Spirit of God, we experience joys and breakthroughs, and our conscience speaks to us yet again bringing the concept of sin to mind, this time victory over sin.
All around us we come across people who’ve been in the Christian journey for quite some time, people often well-learned in the scriptures, and are able to stand in the pulpit and preach the Gospel that converts hardened hearts, yet the concept of sin never fazing them. The knowledge of God’s irrevocable gifts to them is apparent so they tend to succeed in preaching God’s Word even though their lives are tainted by willful sin. To them God is a distant character, not one who watches over them or who lives in them for that matter. Through repeated disobedience they have numbed their conscience to the convictions of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of their lives reveal that they have no ongoing intimate relationship with God. For as J C Ryle said, “Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.”
The concept of sin becomes real to those whom Jesus is real to. On one side of the pole they are aware of God’s tremendous love for the sinner, and on the other, His tremendous hate of sin, hence Jesus died on the cross. When we claim to be followers of God yet our lives contradict our claims we become what 2Timothy 3:5 describes, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” through our lifestyle. People go to Church for various reasons but one who truly fears the Lord and would do anything to obey His word- is a true follower of Christ. However, many Christians have become accustomed to diluting the principle of Godly living and reverent obedience to Him. We casually just get involved in sin; we sing songs in Church but not know whom we are singing about! We mix with the world with no distinction between us and them, yet because we have “managed” to manipulate Christianity for our own advantage we are then able to stand in the pulpit on a Sunday morning and deliver the Gospel of Christ. How could we be so deceived? E.M Bounds states that, “In its life giving forces, the sermon cannot rise above the man. Dead men preach dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher. God does not need great talents, great learning, or great preachers, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God. He needs men who are always preaching holy sermons in the pulpit, and living holy lives out of it. These can mold a great generation for God.”
We cannot outsmart God. Although our preaching of the Word brings effective results while we live a sinful life it’s important to note that God always confirms His Word and not man. “The important thing, as Paul said to the Philippians, “is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” I am not trying to hammer Christians about sin because there are many reasons why we fall. Preachers are the targets of the enemy, so they will continuously be attacked in all sorts of ways by him. Young believers are also targets. In their new faith, the enemy sends someone to cause them to doubt the Gospel or to lure them into sexual sin, and he uses people in the Church very well-acquainted in scripture yet the fruit of their lives displaying the opposite. The devil does not come with horns and a fork as he is usually painted, he comes masquerading as an angel of light and he would do anything to terminate the purpose for which God called you for and entering into eternal life with Jesus, either by binding you in sin or returning you back to the life God delivered you from. Inface, the moment you start confessing Jesus Christ as your Savior the battle for your soul begins. John and Stasi Eldredge remind us, “You really won’t understand your life as a woman (and man) until you understand this: You are passionately loved by the God of the universe. You are passionately hated by His enemy.”
Our judgment of the Devil’s danger in our lives becomes clouded when we take sin casually. It shows that we do not fear God but become so entitled to His blessings! We want a wonderful marriage and home, but we are not willing to obey the Lord’s commandments. We want to take shortcuts and expect that everything should roll down on our lap. Martin Luther King said that, “The crown we wear is preceded by the cross we carry.” So although it may seem as if we are getting away with living a double standard life, eventually our fruit will show. It will show through prolonged confusion, through strife, through condemnation, fear, and through war in our souls. Outside we appear as if we have it all together but inside we experience no peace.
During my morning prayer, one day I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit to begin taking God seriously- to absolutely believe His Word and His existence. I felt the conviction to find fulfillment in the Lord and not in other things that promises fulfillment but only enslaves me. I felt the conviction to let go off anything and anyone that led me to sin. It’s either I fully believe the Lord or nothing, I cannot be lukewarm. And sometimes I find that I pursue things that cause me to overlook this precious free gift of salvation. Why? “Because I’ve been too long in it”. I have found ways to manipulate scriptures for personal motives. I think I can deceive God because I’m well acquainted with His Word. Yet in His love and grace, and for His name’s sake, He helps me lay down my cherished sins and hypocrisy. He allows me no comfort outside His will.
“God is mighty but not despise men; He is mighty and firm in His purpose. He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. He does not take His eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings, and exalts them forever. But if men are bound in chains held fast by cords of affliction, he tells them what they have done- that they have sinned arrogantly. He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity, and their years in contentment.”- Job36:5-11
We can be so sinful- either out of rebellion or attack, but when we take God at His Word, we will bear much fruit. I believe that one day people will look at us with rejoicing and see the glory of God in our lives. The times we were faithful in private, to let go off sin and cling to God, will be public testimonies. We will spend the rest of our days in prosperity and contentment, but not when we are dabbling with what we know to be sin. God is mighty and firm in His purpose and His Word shows us what His purpose is. Sometimes we are in a sinful relationship that goes against His command to flee fornication, and we are hurt by our sin and cry out to Him, “Oh God please show me a sign!” But the sign we need is in the word of God- “Flee fornication. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body”, 1Corinthians 6:18 and many others.
Take God at His Word. Don’t try to fool God? Don’t deceive yourself! Let go off sin! His grace is sufficient for you. Set your entire mind on Him. Seek Him first. Cling to Him. Be serious about Him. Pray to Him. Live in total surrender to Him. Believe Him, trust Him. And though He does not explain Himself, He will reveal Himself.