Pamela Myers Palmer
The Truth About Sin
Jesus declared, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11
I grew up going to a church that acknowledged the sinful nature of humanity. Our pastors didn't shy away from preaching the biblical concept of sin and how all of the problems in this world, and in our hearts, and our families, and our relationships, are a result of our sinful nature and the fallen state of humankind. And this has become something I'm incredibly grateful for because I learned righteous from wicked. I learned godly from fleshly. I learned holy from impure.
Conversations about sin usually make us feel uncomfortable, or shameful, or guilty, right? But when I look to Scripture and read the accounts when Jesus talked about sin, he never caused shame or guilt. He invited people to repentance, deliverance, and righteousness. That same invitation is available to each of us today.
When I bring up sin, I aim to do so in the same way that Jesus did. Because sin hurts us. Sin hurts our loved ones. Sin can destroy our lives when we give it free reign. And we cannot pretend that promises, or legislation, or staying positive will be the answer to all that's wrong in our lives.
The answer is to repent and sin no more, just as Jesus instructed time and time again when he walked this earth over 2,000 years ago.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
To repent means to admit our wrong, sinful habits and thoughts, and to turn away from them. Repentance is a choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that we make to stop living for ourselves by starving our flesh.
To be delivered is to be set free from the bondage of sin and death. This is the Lord reaching down and pulling us out of the depths of our despair and self-centered lives to live in freedom and according to his good and perfect ways.
To be righteous is to live for Jesus' kingdom instead of trying to achieve our own agenda. To live according to his plans and commands rather than indulging our wicked desires. To be righteous is to live by the Spirit instead of our flesh.
In today's world, right and wrong are no hardly considerations. We're told to live how we want to live, to "do you," and to chase after happiness and success. There are little to no moral boundaries or values passed from one generation to the next. Be a good person, the world teaches, but there's no measure for that; it's all subjective. If you're wondering where to begin... if you're struggling to understand sin, read the Bible. Scripture makes it incredibly clear what sin is and how to seek righteousness.
Sin is ugly, and gross, and will tear you away from Jesus. We cannot live for our flesh and expect to follow God, too. It's impossible. But Jesus, in all his love and mercy and compassion, invites us to live free from the bondage of sin. Through a lifelong process called sanctification, we are made more and more holy; we do begin to look more like Jesus.
If you are caught up in sin... if you are feeling exhausted because of bad choices, indulgence, and wickedness, let Jesus into your heart. Confess your sins, repent, and call on the Spirit to transform you. The reality is that there is no excuse for the sins we keep committing. Surely, we will not reach perfection on this side of life, but we can give our hearts and our lives and our minds fully to God and pray for his redemptive work in us. We can follow him out of our lives of sin to pursue righteousness.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
I know it's hard, I know the shackles feel heavy, and I know it seems impossible to resist the temptations, but through Christ, all things are possible. God loves you unconditionally and he wants to see you free from sin. Jesus came to save us because he loves us. You can turn from your sin with his strength and help.
Let us pray
Lord, deliver us. Lead us to repentance. Help us live righteously in your sight. We desire to no longer live in ways that are displeasing to you, rather we desire to follow your good and holy ways. Empower us to flee from sinful situations, people, and the things that lure us away from you. Open our eyes to ways that we are indulging our flesh and living against you. We thank you for your help and that you love us so deeply, even when we sin. Amen.
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