Answers to the Sin Problem

In my quest through the Bible I have been searching for a faith that really works. As a recovering sinner (much like an alcoholic) I used to believe it was just a matter of time before I sinned again (had another drink) and so I never was free.

How could I pretend to love God if I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) obey him? It felt like I was Judas, constantly stabbing Jesus in the back. This haunted me. I was never free to simply just love Jesus and be me. The looming threat of sin weighed me down.

How would any of us like to be married to a spouse who said, “I love you and all but it’s really only a matter of time before I cheat on you again.”

I think we can all agree, that relationship is doomed. Yet this is the attitude many Christians have toward God. I have heard many Christians say, “but we’re only human” to explain away our sinfulness. Apparently being “human” means being prone to and destined to betrayal and backstabbing, selfishness and strife, adultery and idolatry, drunkenness and failure.

Is this really what it is to be human? Is this what God had in mind when he started this whole thing and made humans and said, “It is good”? Wouldn’t he know more about what it means to be human since he authored us all? And wouldn’t he, through his marvelous plan of redemption, also make provision for us to be restored completely to our intended state as “good” humans?

I know that he has.

I don’t know about you but I want to obey God and be faithful in my heart to him and be good. My infidelity to God has plagued me over the years and I thought, “There must be a cure!”

Indeed there is.

Jesus didn’t leave Paul forever stuck in Romans 7. Romans 7 describes the universal plight of every fallen human that even though we agree with the truth and want to do good we inevitably do the wrong that we hate instead. This is slavery to sin. Paul grew in faith into the salvation described in Romans 8 – life by the Spirit of God. The Spirit’s activity in our lives is paramount and absolutely vital to the salvation experience.

I have come to see through my reading of the Bible that the Holy Spirit essentially is the Christian life. His presence in our lives is our eternal life. All Holy Spirit-less forms of Christianity are counterfeits. Thankfully the Spirit of God is freely given to everyone who believes in Jesus, to all who look to him for salvation.

Snakebit!

Numbers chapter 21 describes a time when the Israelites grumble against God and against Moses and even despise the manna God had been providing for them. So God sends poisonous snakes into the camp. Many were bitten by these snakes and some died. The Israelites came to Moses and confessed their sin and pleaded for releif from the snakes. God then instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and attach it to a pole. All those who had been bitten then need only to look at the bronze serpent and be healed.

Jesus references this very story as an illustration of the cross. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14-15 NIV

Every last one of us has been bitten by the deadly snake of sin. We could decide then, and many do, to sit around and moan and complain of our snakebites. We can choose to fixate on our snakebite and watch it fester and ooze puss.

We can look on as it discolors our lives an ugly shade of black and blue and feel within ourselves the absolute bitterness and misery that sin inflicts upon us. We could then look for help in therapy and counseling or in self help books. We could seek the answer at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol, and then, in turn, seek the answer by getting sober. We could search for our healing by eating healthy or by working out in the gym.

OR, we can get on with the business of salvation and find real healing in Jesus. The only answer, the only healing that can be found for all of sin’s poisonous effects – both for those sins that you have done and including all the sins done against you – is to look to Jesus. Look no further. The search is over. If you have found Christ, you have found everything you need.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am tired of showing off my ugly snakebite. Instead, I will choose to look to Christ and find my healing and salvation and I encourage you to do the same.

Getting Practical:

How do we look to Christ or fix our eyes on him?

Faith: First things first. We need to put our faith in Jesus. If you don’t have faith in Christ, you don’t have the Holy Spirit which is the only cure for the sin that ails you and who is the only power over sin. Sincerely ask Jesus to save you! The Bible tells us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). It is truly amazing how he responds to and rescues those who will humble themselves enough to simply ask for help.

Word of God: Are you reading the Bible? God’s word does a work in our lives, exposing the pride and sin which is our greatest enemy.  We can be set free as we confess and repent of our pride and sin.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV

Talk with God: Don’t talk to God, talk with him! Do you talk with him everyday? How is your conversation with God coming along? Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so keep the conversation going!

Obey: Once you have the Holy Spirit, you now have the power to say no to ungodliness and worldly lusts.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14 NIV

Do you obey him and by the Holy Spirit put to death the misdeeds of the body? God promises to never give us more than we can handle, you have his word on that:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Start seeking the Lord earnestly. He will be found by all who seek him with all their heart.

“…You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV

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