Sin is a “me-first” self-pleasing attitude of heart which denies God’s authority to direct our lives and our world. Sinful actions such as theft, adultery and blasphemy spring from a heart corrupted by the power of sin. There are two root sins – one is pride and the other unbelief. Pride is evidenced by an attitude which is demanding and arrogant, denies its need for God, is unteachable, impatient, overly critical of others and hard hearted. How easy it is for any one of us to be infected with pride without realising it! Unbelief also, is the root of much sin. If we really believed in God’s goodness, wisdom and love, what motive would remain for not doing things God’s way? These attitudes hurt the heart of God and often cause insensitivity to others as well, resulting in us saying and doing things that were better not said or done.
Sin always takes more than it gives. Whatever you gain by compromise you will eventually lose. Sin is the deadly human
condition which opens the door to Satanic oppression and God’s displeasure and judgment. Sin definitely creates a barrier to true communication with God. The wages of sin is death. Primarily, this refers to spiritual death. God loves us and wants us to overcome sin. He knows we are powerless to do it by ourselves, and for this reason has given us divine resources in our warfare against evil and sin.
Every attempt to overcome sin by willpower, resolutions and self-discipline alone WILL fail. No attempts to overcome sin by observing laws and rules, however strict, will ever work. But the Bible says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). That means, be governed by impulses coming from the Holy Spirit in your human spirit, and you won’t be ruled by the natural thinking and desires that draw people away from holy living.
Romans 6 and Romans 8 are probably the most important passages of Scripture relating to this subject. I’d like to take some verses from them and make some comments.
“Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). What does your mind dwell on? What do you choose to set it on? To overcome sin you must have a deliberate policy to set your mind on the “Things of the Spirit”. If that is not your policy, make it so today. The things of the Spirit include the presence of God, the love of God, the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit (which involve supernatural communication with God), the Word of God and their application to life. The things of the flesh which we are not to set our mind on include any kind of lust, selfish ambition, greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, bitterness or prideful thought. We can’t avoid these thoughts by seeking to avoid them. We must instead actively seek to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. To illustrate this point, try hard to avoid thinking of the word “frog” for the next 5 minutes. You’ll find it harder now, but it would have been so easy had you not even tried.
“To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Your mind is influenced – either by the spirit of the world, or by the Spirit of God. God wants us to renew our minds through meditation on the Word of God. These means getting into each phrase very deeply, by much repetition, pondering and muttering. This has far greater power than a superficial but wide reading (which also has its place of course).
The peace and happiness we are wanting does not come through the satisfaction of the lusts Satan invites us to go after. Rather it comes by focussing our hearts and minds on Jesus and the things of the Spirit. This is really surprising to many when they first try it. “Taste and see that the Lord is good”, said the Psalmist.
Romans 6 declares that our legal position as believers baptised into Christ is one of deadness to sin and sensitivity to God. Please read this chapter first to understand what follows. Once we are born again, we are not obligated to serve fleshly desires. Its still possible, but it can be avoided. One way to start is actually by considering that you are “dead to sin” even before you have any evidence of the fact. You may have just sinned in some horrible way, but you can consider yourself dead to sin “by faith”. Its amazing how our experience is molded by what we believe. But the order in the life of faith is always, “believe first, then you will experience it after that”. God wants us to identify with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. This means, believe that the old you was crucified with Christ. Believe that old man was buried, and that you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) ready to walk in resurrection power. Now set your mind on the things of the Spirit diligently, and see how the Spirit of God moves in your life and gives you a new focus and a new power to live for God, in purity and righteousness.
Before you can do all this you must believe that God has forgiven you of your sins. If you are not sure of this, I invite you to read my message on the Good News, and pray a prayer of dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I plan to update this page because obviously I’ve only begun to touch this vitally important subject.
Please also see this teaching I wrote on sanctification and holiness.
God bless you,