22. The Christian Disciple and Sin
1 John 5v17-21 “All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death. We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”
As Christian disciples we live in a constant battle of our new inherited nature battling our old sinful nature. Sin is a constant thorn in our sides. But as John wrote in those bible verses I reat out, we are not to continue the “practice of sinning”. How should the Christian disciple deal with sin? In order to deal with it, it is helpful to understand first of all what sin is, then the cycle of sin and then finally, how the Christian disciple deals with sin in their life.
1. The Nature of Sin
All humans are moral beings who have an awareness of what is right and wrong (Romans 2). Sin is an expression of what we are - sinners. We sin because we are sinners. We all sin because we are all sinners! It is the product of our own will being in opposition to God’s will. All humans are by very nature, enslaved to sin and powerless to free him self (John 8:34, Romans 6:19-20). As all humans are sinners (Romans 3:23; 1 Kings 8:46), with the notable exception of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15). there is no position of neutrality - we are born sinful and are therefore guilty. Guilty because God is a holy and righteous God, who cannot abide sin!
Sin is lack of conformity to the Moral Law of God, either in deeds, attitudes, or state. Remember Jesus saying the two greatest commands were to love God and love others. Any breakage of those two commandments is sin. There are two kinds of sin: sins of commission and sins of omission. Firstly there are the sins, which are active, or the sins of commission. These are where God’s commands are actively broken! Then there are the passive kinds, which are sins of omission. These are where we are not doing, as we ought (James 4:17)!
2. What Sin does
Now as a Christian disciple and as one who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, sin still has an effect! That should not surprise you! However, unlike unbelievers who are separated from God due to sin, the Christian disciple when they sin, it mars the fellowship they enjoy with Jesus. But separation has not occurred because Jesus still has you firmly by the hand. That does not mean as a Christian disciple that we are to deliberately and wilfully sin, it is not necessary to do so. Sin in the life of the Christian disciple should never be tolerated! So how is sin to be dealt with?
3. Dealing with Sin
As John said in those verses I spoke earlier, we are not to continue sinning! In 1 John 1v7, we are commanded to walk in the light! A lot of people think their eternal life will start when they die. But our eternal life with Christ has already started, so we are to live now as we will then! But we do sin, so what do we do about it? One man who know what to do was King David in the Old Testament, and Psalm 32 typifies his reaction to his sin! In that Psalm he speaks of his confession of sin and his abandonment of it. That is also to be our reaction to when we sin! We are not to just ignore it! We are not to wallow in self-pity! We are to take God’s view of it and call it sin! Nor are we to claim we are without sin, because as John writes in 1 John 1, we are living in self-delusion and we make God out to be a liar! So, when we realise we have sinned, we are to confess it quickly and ask for our Lord’s forgiveness! For as John writes in 1 John 1v9, “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That is why it is a very good idea to start the day with a simple prayer of general confession so that your fellowship with Jesus through the day will not be scarred! That is why in a lot of churches, there is a general confession at the start of the services. Jesus wants us to have complete fellowship with him, and by confessing sin, our fellowship with Him is made richer.
For more to think about please do read for your self 1 John 1. Ask yourself the following question and suggestions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1 – As a Christian disciples, what areas of my life do I need to let Christ in?
Q2 – If you have specific sins that entangle you habitually, try to memorise a verse of Scripture concerning it and pray that verse daily and ask that the Holy Spirit will help you avoid the temptation!
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.