“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”——Luke 6:46
We all have bents toward sin. And although our bents toward sin differ from person to person, each of us are nonetheless tempted to go our own way and do things against God and His Way. As believers, it is critical that we have a clear understanding of sin and how to deal with it if we are to walk according to true faith in Jesus.
One area that I have found really important in dealing with the practical issues of sin, is the concept of struggling versus embracing sin. While all of us struggle with overcoming sin, it becomes disastrous when people begin to accept their sin. This problem is especially dangerous among those that profess faith in Jesus.
Those that earnestly struggle with sin are those that humbly and openly recognize when they have gone against God’s commands and seek to confess and repent of those things. It is a lifestyle of daily submitting to God and of repenting of our sinfulness. Struggling with sin doesn’t mean that we may never fall into sin again or that those struggles will simply disappear, but rather that we have a clear intent to “go and sin no more”. (John 8:11) Those that struggle with sin recognize that the guilt associated with their sin isn’t something to be rejected, but that “godly sorrow” produces repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:10) Without being convicted sin, we can never get to the place of seeing our sin as truly sinful and our need for God’s forgiveness and grace to move on in obedience to Him.
On the other side are those that embrace sin.
Those that embrace sin are those that might recognize their sinfulness, but make excuses to justify themselves. They focus on ways to explain their sin rather than seeking to turn away from it. They become “victims” rather than the offenders. Those that embrace sin often times question the things that God has written in Scripture as being misunderstood or irrelevant in order to endorse their own beliefs and lifestyles. Or worse yet, they pick and choose verses and passages that allow them to emphasize on what God has done for them through His forgiveness and grace in order to comfort themselves without truly having to change. Embracing sin doesn’t seem to happen overnight in most cases, but something that happens slowly over time; slipping from struggling with sin to affirming it as something that is now acceptable. (Romans 1:32)
There tends to be a fine line between struggling with sin and embracing sin. There might be a time when someone truly desires to walk in obedience to the Lord, but might fall into the same sin over and over again. Each time, they call sin for what it is, confess it to God and those they might have sinned against, and seek to repent and get back walking with the Lord. But as time goes along, this struggle might begin to erode into no longer hating the sin. The struggle begins to no longer be such a struggle, but something that has become a habitual pattern of finding ways to assure themselves that God loves and forgives them in spite of pursuing any tangible change. Whereas there was once a “godly sorrow” over sin, now has become a part of a person’s lifestyle. We must be on guard against drifting into this gray area where we can mistakenly believe we are struggling to overcome sin, when in actuality, we are beginning to embrace it.
We cannot embrace sin and believe that we will be saved.
As soon as someone crosses over from struggling with sin to embracing sin, they have made a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice. This turn from faith in Jesus for paying the penalty for our sins, dying on the cross and rising again, means nothing if only sought after for Jesus’ forgiveness; but then only to continue to believe and act upon the sinful things we are being saved from. We cannot drag God’s name through the mud and believe, even for a moment, that we are free to define sin by our standards and then think that we have assurance of salvation.
I think we can all relate to the difference between struggling versus embracing sin. As we look around there are many that profess to believe in Jesus, but by their beliefs, words, and actions, deny Him. (Titus 1:16) In no way are any of us made right outside of our faith in what Jesus has done through His sacrifice for us, but there is a huge difference between those who might admit to sin versus those that actually seek to turn away from it. And we can talk forever about the great hope we have through the Gospel, but without exhorting people in both repenting of sin and adjusting our lives in obedience to God’s commands in the Bible, people will never truly understand faith in Jesus.
Sin is a very serious matter. And what we believe about sin and how we deal with sin is critical. True repentance always accompanies those who have placed their faith in Jesus. Therefore, we must be quick to recognize when we do sin, that we turn in repentance to God, and get back walking with the Him. Let’s not find ourselves embracing sin, but seeking to walk in greater faith and obedience to the Lord.