Sin: THE cause of all your problems...
- “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, ESV)
“YOU AND I HAVE a problem. It’s not a little problem, and it’s not something we can cure on our own. It’s something we don’t talk about much and might like to deny in front of others, but that doesn’t make it less true.
The problem is, we’re sinners. We do things we know are wrong, and we can’t help ourselves. Even though our sins hurt others and heap guilt on our heart, we still sin. We lie, we gossip, we bicker, we lash out, we think impure thoughts. Sometimes we lose our temper and say things we don’t mean—things that are neither true nor fair but are biting enough to hurt, so they serve their purpose. Other times we deceive in order to get our way. We tell half-truths in hopes that it’s better than a whole lie, but in our heart we know it’s still wrong. We can no more stop ourselves from sinning than we could keep the sun from rising. It’s a universal problem that every man and woman has to live with.” (LaHaye and Jenkins, Embracing Eternity, p. 13)
Even if you are saved, you sin. A sin may be small, like the white lie you tell another person to spare her feelings. A sin may be huge like blaspheming the name of God or slander or pride or murder. The human condition implies we are imperfect beings. God created us to be without sin. However, sin entered humanity soon after creation. Genesis tells us that Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). In doing so, sin entered humanity. Satan was pleased to corrupt your world.
The scripture for today confirms that “ALL HAVE SINNED” (Romans 3:23). Good people have done it. Bad people have relished doing it. All have sinned. We come up “short” to God’s standard (Romans 3:23b). When Paul wrote Romans, chapter 7, he expounded on how sin creeps into one’s life: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:14–15, ESV). You can desire with your whole being to live your life without sinning, but in a few hours or days or weeks, sin will tempt you and then own you. That is why God wishes that you should repent and confess your sins. That is why God gives us grace and forgiveness. Sin is endemic in this fallen world.
Sin ultimately leads to another problem. Sin leads to death. Paul wrote a few chapters after our scripture for today that the wages or cost of sin is death (Romans 6:23). You can see this in Jesus’ life. He was perfect, sinless, loving, compassionate, full of knowledge and wisdom, the Son of God. How did humanity respond to Jesus? They put him to death by crucifixion. What you may not realize is that sin always causes various forms of death. It can kill a human being, a soul, a hope, a future, a dream. Sin always brings death with it. Adam and Eve were meant to live forever in the Garden of Eden. Sin ended their future in Eden by causing their deaths. Sin ends many hopes and dreams and aspirations in our world. It permeates everything good. It destroys everything it touches.
On May 22nd, 2022, a congregation in Indiana heard their pastor say in a sermon, “I committed adultery. It was nearly twenty years ago. It continued far too long. It involved one person, and there’s been no other, nor any other situation unbecoming conduct for the last 20 years. I will not use the Bible to defend, protect, and deflect my past sin. I have no defense- I committed adultery. To say it plainly, I did not make a mistake, I didn’t have an issue, I didn’t have an affair, I didn’t make a misjudgment. I sinned.” A member of that church videotaped the words that morning. In response, condemnation and recriminations went viral. People were up in arms, angry, unforgiving. Why? This pastor is a man. He, like every other human being, is prone to sin against Almighty God. Though the pastor is held to a higher standard, people should not be shocked at his admission of sin. Though a pastor, he is fallible. Though a child of God, he can be motivated to sin. One person responded to this news of the pastor’s confession with the words, “Well, he just killed his career.” The wages of sin is always death of one sort or another.
Thankfully, Jesus died on a cross to forgive our sins. Though members of that congregation in Indiana may not forgive that pastor, despite his confession before God and the congregation, God can forgive his sin. God is THE source of grace and forgiveness and redemption in this world. Only through the grace of God can you recover from a sinful past.
One way that Satan controls good people is that he reminds them of their sin. Even when God has given grace and forgiveness, Satan will throw past sins in the face of the believer. Satan lovdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddes to cause shame, guilt, and hurt for past sin. Through these emotions, it is Satan’s intent to keep the sin alive, keep the believer living with regret, and keep grace from bringing hope. It is God’s desire to bring forgiveness and grace. Jesus died on the cross to bring redemption and overcome the burden of sin. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. Don’t let sin control you. Let God’s grace enfold you. Repent and confess to your sin. Then, let God’s grace and forgiveness clean up the mess!
Do you need to deal with a past sin, even one from twenty years ago? Repent and confess your sin. Is there regret or pain from a sin long ago? Let God’s grace cast away the guilt and stain of that past sin. Is someone you love mired in a recurring sin? Pray for his or her soul. Offer to that person God’s grace. Every soul suffers from sin. Every soul hungers for forgiveness and grace. Even yours.