sin

No Sin For You!

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

“For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

Christ did not die for our sins so we could get away with sinning. He came to take away our guilt and shame so we could have peace with God, not so we could be at peace with our sin. And our sin will be with us until we are free of our mortal bodies. But we are at war with sin and temptation. Otherwise why would Jesus have said, “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:7).

John also writes in 1 John 1:7-9, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we were free to sin without consequences after we were saved, why would this mechanism of confession and forgiveness be necessary? It is to remind us that if Christ is our Passover lamb, then we must purge sin from the house.

When I sin and confess, I am declaring my need for a Savior. If I don’t confess and receive absolution, I become sin’s ally, and a traitor to Christ. That is why I would get turned over to Satan for the destruction of my flesh. That’s why Jesus said, “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matthew 18:8-9). It is better to endure punishment in the flesh than to forfeit eternal life.

Global Groaning

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:18-25.

Since the fall of man, all the creatures of the earth have been living on a sin cursed world. And since the flood, they have all been living in dread of man, who began to take them as food. (Genesis 9:2-3). But when Christ returns, there will be new heavens and a new earth, and we will be revealed as the children of God. And the animals will no longer fear us, nor one another.

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
“The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
“They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 9:6-9).

It is inevitable that God is going to restore the earth and all nature to His glorious specifications. This is something mankind cannot do. But we can make sure that we are on it, ruling and reigning as the children of God. But first we must be reconciled to God. The animals don’t have to do this. Sin did not enter the world through them. They came along for the ride. But we must repent and believe in the one God sent to save us: Jesus Christ.

This Body of Death

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25.

We are grateful for our bodies because through them we experience the world in all its beauty and wonder. But we also experience all that is wrong; the corruption that entered the world through sin. We ourselves are also corrupt from within, until we are born again. Then the renewed spirit within us wrestles against that which is still of the world: our bodies. And until this body passes away, and we receive new bodies, it will be this way for the rest of our natural lives.

Likewise, the earth is still under the curse of Adam’s sin. And it will continue to bear thorns and natural disasters until it dies, when Christ returns.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 ,Peter 3:10-13).

So, therefore, sin’s days are limited to your own number of days in your body, and the whole earth is limited by God until the time He has appointed to judge it and replace it. Global warming will not bring the end, neither will pandemics nor nuclear annihilation. We may suffer these things, but the earth and our bodies have been limited by God that sin will one day be overcome, and righteousness will rule a new earth.

The New Way of the Spirit

“Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Romans 7:1-6.

This allegory about being married to the law, and how dying sets us free, further demonstrates the earlier point that by identifying with Christ’s death, we are also identifying with His resurrection. When He died for us, we died too, setting us free from obligations incurred when we sinned.

To us, this is a new thing. But to God, this is part of a pattern that He established from the beginning. Even the law given by Moses was not a new idea. The many sacrifices for various sins were built on the precedents set throughout Genesis; sacrifices of animals as substitutes for man. Even on the day Adam and Eve sinned, they suddenly realized they were naked and hid from God. Then He killed animals for the skins that they wore to cover their realization of sin. They had always been naked, but sin now accused them and they became self-conscious of it.

Now that we know that the last sacrifice, Jesus, has been given, let us become self-conscious of being made righteousness. Our sins are forgiven. He has given us a new life through the Holy Spirit He has given us. Sin still crouches at the door, desiring us to let it in, but we have been given the power to master it.

Remember what God told Cain, when he made a sacrifice that was not accepted. Caine’s brother, Abel, had given a blood sacrifice, while Cain brought vegetables from his garden. When he saw that Abel’s sacrifice, an innocent animal, had been accepted, he was self-conscious of his inadequate offering. “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7). God has made the acceptable sacrifice for us.

Slavery Done Right

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:12-23.

To quote the famous recording artist, Bob Dylan: “But you’re going to have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re going to have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re going to have to serve somebody.”

Righteousness and unrighteousness, God and the devil, insist that we choose sides. Even when you say you will take the middle way and serve yourself, that is fine with the devil. He is only competing with God. All other forms of idolatry are just his subsidiaries. They may be labeled with different brands, but they all come from the same manufacturer.

God is a jealous God because He actually loves you. And He wants you to love Him only. And to do that, you must be free of other attachments. He came to earth as Jesus and died for you to break their claim on you.