“When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.” (Romans 7:5 NLT)
Our response to temptation, which, though it isn’t sin, can lead to sin, is telltale evidence of the condition of our heart. Paul stated in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” What are wages? Wages are what we expect from our employer at the end of every pay cycle. Wages are what I’ve earned; what I deserve.
If sin is our “employer,” the “evil one” for whom we’re working, death is our wage. Every human being has a sinful nature, except Jesus. That’s why He had to be born of a virgin, He couldn’t be infected by our sinful human nature; thus, the reason He was born of the Spirit, not of the seed of a human father. Our natural “bent” is to sin. Given the flow of our normal desires, we’ll choose sin every time.
It takes a supernatural encounter with the Son of God, activated by His Spirit, to free us from our bondage to sin. Sin demands a death penalty. Someone must die for our sin. Us or Jesus. That’s essentially what hell is – our eternal effort to pay the penalty for our own sin. The problem is, we can NEVER pay what’s owed, that’s why hell is never ending.
So, once I receive God’s Spirit, upon my decision to repent, confess my need of Jesus, and believe in Him by placing my full trust in His completed work on the Cross, does that mean I’ll never sin again? No, but what it does mean is that you have a choice. Sinners sin, that’s the nature of the beast; however, once we’re born again of the Spirit of God we don’t have to sin.
John wrote in 1 John 2:1: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.” That’s God’s will and desire, that we put sin behind us and live in the light, love, and power of His indwelling Spirit. The longer we serve the Lord, ideally, we will choose more often not to yield to our sinful nature but allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen and deliver us, enabling us to sin less and less.
John Piper wrote: “Many people weep at the consequences of sin who still love the sin.” We’re going to obey the desires of our heart, so, if my sin is more satisfying than obedience to my Savior, I won’t see sin as a problem, unless and until I begin to suffer the consequences of my sin.
What we often want is to have the proverbial “cake” and eat it too. We want Jesus to not only forgive our sin but deliver us from sin’s consequences. We want to drink and drug, have indiscriminate sex, rob, steal, kill, live like the devil, but pretend we’re a saint, and never suffer any ill effects from our blatant disobedience. But that’s not how God works.
Yes, of course, He loves us no matter what we do, to Him or anyone else, no matter how destructive our behavior becomes, to ourselves or others. Love is what nailed Him to the Cross. Love opened a way for us to be saved and delivered from the penalty of our sin, but love alone will never deliver us from the consequences of our sin.
The only suitable response to our sin and their consequences is submission to the Lord’s authority, seeking not only His forgiveness, but deliverance that can only happen by the powerful presence of His Holy Spirit working in and through us as He wills.
Let’s look at this more closely tomorrow.
Blessings, Ed 😊