Overcoming Sin Is Simpler Than We Often Think
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-21)
Talk about a high standard. The bible is full of them! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or afraid of all these commands… when you’re walking in the flesh.
Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. That means that if we do not believe His Word, we cannot possibly obey it. We can say we trust that the Bible was inspired by God, but if we do not follow what it teaches, is our faith genuine?
Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)
In other words, real faith is proved by our actions. When we genuinely give our hearts to Jesus, His Holy Spirit lives inside of us and begins a process of transformation. As we read the Scriptures, our minds are renewed, and more transformation takes place. This transformation is actually a conforming to Christ’s likeness.
In the beginning, we were all created to be like God. We were to reflect His glory and His good character. But sin ruined that representation, and Christ came to destroy sin so we can return to our original purpose: delighting in God and having Him delight in us.
Let’s face the facts: sin is ugly. It’s absolutely repulsive to God. He isn’t just turned off by it, but He hates it.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)
God gave Him to what? He gave His only Son over to brutal torture and an excruciating death. Christ was beaten to the point of no human recognition. He looked like a huge slab of bloody meat pinned to a cross. God hated sin so much so that the punishment for it was that severe.
We mustn’t be fooled into thinking that after we become Christians, God somehow hates sin less or becomes blind to it. I’ve heard Christians say, “God doesn’t see my sin, He only sees Jesus,” after they’ve already been walking with Him.
Jesus’ blood indeed cleanses us completely after we receive Him. All past sins are now washed away, but that doesn’t mean present ones are ignored by God. His Word is clear: He does not change (Malachi 3:6). He still sees and hates sin; the only difference is now, with the Holy Spirit, we have the power to repent, receive forgiveness because of Jesus, and overcome sin—and we’re expected to.
Excuses like, “God loves me and therefore accepts me the way I am,” won’t stand the test of fire we are going to be tried with when judged by God. We’ll all be judged, even for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36), and all the more for sin we ignored.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31 NKJV)
Let us do what Paul says and, “awake to righteousness.” God’s incredible love, coupled with His terrifying judgement, should spur us on to crucify our sin, to hate it as much as God does because sin is what caused our beautiful Savior’s horrific death.
And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (I Peter 1:17-19 NKJV)
May we allow the truth of what sin did to Jesus, what it does to others, and what it does to us push us deeper into the Father’s arms. May we squeeze tightly to Christ’s nail-scarred hand, permitting Him to lead us into the good, pleasing, and acceptable will of God for our lives.
This world needs to see Jesus through His church. Real love rejoices in the truth, and Jesus said His disciples will abide in His truth. Sin is deceptive and destructive. Where sin is allowed to roam, genuine love cannot exist. Holiness and love go hand-in-hand, so may we walk in true love, that Christ’s promise will manifest itself in our lives:
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)