Some churches have a preoccupation with sin. It often dominates their sermons, lessons, and discussions. Because of this, Christians should gain a full understanding about potential transgressions.
Sin is curtly described as falling short of the glory of God. While true, this just doesn’t provide a framework Christians can internalize.
Sin has two sides to examine. The first is, even though it is hard at times to accept, God knows more than we know about what we should do and what we should not do. He wants particular things for us and from us that we often don’t want to choose. He requires that any relationship with Him must be on His terms.
It all started with Satan’s lie: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it (the fruit of the tree of knowledge) your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing the difference between good and evil, and blessing and calamity.” (Genesis 3:5)
Eve believed the lie that God is somehow trying to cheat us. When we adopt the same lie, it twists our thinking into believing we have rights that really are uniquely His. This notion is sin and all other wrongdoings are based on it. It makes us feel more like gods and makes God less godly. It breaks our fellowship with the Lord.
The second component of sin is a weak conscience. With all the misunderstanding about our offenses, it is easy for an individual to become overwhelmed by what he can and cannot do to please God. The Ten Commandments and a whole host of additional forbidden behaviors added by the church and other well meaning individuals can crush believers (especially new ones).
“… But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats (food sacrificed to idols), because his eating is not from faith; and EVERYTHING that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 23)
So, our consciences can condemn ourselves.
The solution … there are three items to internalize to completely handle our trespasses.
First, when Jesus died on the cross He paid the penalty for all our sins. That means we are completely forgiven. Some erroneously teach His saving grace was for all transgressions we committed before accepting His gift. Then, we must assure our behavior afterwards excludes any sin … on our own. Adopting this point of view can lead to the feeling Paul poured out of his heart in Romans chapter seven. Please read it, but at the end he says:
“O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release me from this body of death? O thank God! He will! Through Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, our Lord! So then indeed I of myself with mind and heart serve the Law, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7: 24, 25)
The second aspect to handle sin is the most beautiful words Paul used at the beginning of Romans chapter eight.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation – no adjudging guilty of wrong – for those wha are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:1, 2)
Put this in front of your mind. We DO NOT lose our salvation when we commit a transgression.
The last point to understand is that once we obtain salvation, we are no longer the same person; but a new creation.
“Therefore, if any person is in Christ, the Messiah, he is a new creation; the old previously moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold the fresh and new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)
The condition of a believer is actually one of being born again into a new spiritual life. The old ways of their behavior has changed.
Having said all this, sin clearly is very much less than what many want it to be. So, do we need to not worry about sin and just do misdeeds anytime? Definitely not!
Yes, there is now no condemnation when we sin, but there are two very important pitfalls. The first is obvious; there will always be consequences of sin. Those consequences usually are not very pleasant.
But, the second concern is much more important. When a believer sins, he takes a step toward the only way he can lose his salvation; blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. (Matt 12: 31, 32). Usually, an offense results in small movement. However, if a believer continues to sin and more steps are taken toward unbelief, God intervenes with discipline.
When a believer is disciplined by God it usually is a traumatic experience. If that discipline doesn’t stop the transgressions, God, not wanting to lose you, makes the discipline even harsher. He might even choose to have you enter His kingdom early.
In the end, He will always allow us free will. We have the complete authority to disobey His wishes and ruin our lives. But as a new creation, I urge everyone to put their old life behind them and sin no more.