Maybe you lashed out in anger again.
Or maybe you lied and then tried to cover it up again.
Maybe you doubted God’s sovereignty and tried to take matters into your own hands again.
Or maybe you let your eyes linger once more on something you never should’ve been looking at in the first place.
Or maybe your wicked thoughts overwhelmed you for the fifth time this week.
I don’t know what sins you struggle with, but I know that we all struggle. And I know that we all fall. What is more, I know that we all often fall into the same sin – whatever that may be – time and time again. Below, I’ll be discussing two explanations of why everyone has some sin(s) they just can’t seem to shake.
WE DON’T RECOGNIZE THE SEVERITY OF OUR SIN
Many people today, especially those who are products of Western culture, believe that we are all inherently good. They think that we’re blank slates…that we come out the womb innocent and have a mess made of ourselves by the evil in this world. They believe that that inherent good can be restored by a good example, some gentle nurturing, and sufficient attention and encouragement during the formative years.
That may be what the world believes à la Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but it is not what Scripture teaches. God’s Word teaches that there is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:3), and that all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Scripture also teaches that this depravity is not learned over the course of one’s life, but that it is inherent…inborn…a consequence of the fall of man, even (Psalm 51:5, Genesis 3).
If you take the Bible at its word, it’s clear from all of that that we’re sinful.
But is it really that big of a deal?
If you take the Bible at its word, yes. Yes, it is. Sin is the reason for the severed communion between God and His creation. It is why things like pain and tears and death exist. It is what necessitated the Old Testament sacrificial system and what held Christ’s nailed hands and feet to the cross of Calvary. Sin is a problem and a big problem at that.
But if you never recognize that, you’ll think that you’re fine to just keep living how you’re living. Because you only get angry sometimes. And you only lie on occasion, when you really need to. And you only think lustful thoughts; it’s not like you do anything bad. Friends, that’s dangerous. A low view sin can lead to a life of sin…a pattern of sins you just can’t seem to shake. So meditate on the Word for a while. Check your heart and make sure that you’re viewing sin as something that’s as serious as God says it is.
WE DON’T RECOGNIZE THE SUPREMACY OF OUR SAVIOR
Perhaps you do have a Biblical view of sin. Why then are you still unable to overcome some particular sins?
Well, first of all, take heart. Be still, child of God.
You are not the first Christian to struggle with sin and despair of yourself because of it. Even the apostle Paul wrote, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18b-19). I would venture that the reason we all experience feelings like those of Paul in Romans 7 is because we do not often enough recognize the supremacy of our Savior. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul discusses his “thorn in the flesh,” saying that even in the midst of its tormenting him, God’s grace was sufficient for him.
Sinner bought with the blood of the Lamb, this is what you need to realize too. God’s grace is sufficient for you even in the midst of your sin.
Stop trying to rid yourself of sin by your power alone. By themselves, all the twelve-step plans and self-help books and self-imposed consequences in the world aren’t enough to overcome sin. Yes, we are called to forsake sin, but not by ourselves. As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it is God who works in us according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13). And thankfully so. Ephesians 2:2 teaches that the adversary is the prince of the power of the air. Apart from Christ, all are under his dominion. But for those of us in Christ, we share in His victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Our Savior is sovereign, and we are free. That’s not to say we will never stumble into sin again. Surely, we will. Sanctification is not an unhindered race towards complete perfection, but rather a Spirit-led journey towards being more like our Savior. May we live like it. May we rejoice in His forgiveness and cleansing as we strive to forsake sin. May we fight to realize the freedom that has already been won for us.