When Sin Reigns

by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director

Do you sin? If you’re being honest, the answer is yes (1 John 1:10). If you deny it, you’re not being truthful with yourself (1 John 1:8). We all, without exception, grapple with sin in our lives. 

I understand that these words can be hard to accept. I struggle with them, too. It’s not easy to admit that I’m not perfect, that I sin, or that I rebel against God’s ways and will. But the truth is, according to the Bible, we all do (Romans 3:23). We’re all in bondage to sin from which we cannot free ourselves on our own (Romans 6:16). 

If that sounds hopeless, it is, at least in human terms. But the Creator of the Universe saw our predicament and made a way for us to be free from this bondage. He sent Jesus into the world to conquer the condition of our bondage to sin and has empowered us, through His Holy Spirit, to be aware of our sins and overcome them through His power and grace (Romans 5:17-19). 

Missing the Mark

In the most basic sense, sin is missing the mark of God’s will and way in our lives. It comes from both the Hebrew and Greek words for missing the mark. The study of hamartiology is the study of sin. 

In Genesis 1 and 2, we see humanity without sin. In Genesis 3, we see man willfully disobeying God’s command (missing the mark) and rebelling against His Creator.

The results of that disobedience altered every subsequent offspring of man and the world in which man would live.

A quick observation of a preschool playground or a political gathering will reveal that sin is alive on Earth and deeply embedded in humankind’s very nature. 

Despite these evidentiary realities, our modern world refuses to embrace the reality of sin and its devastating impact on all our lives. Because sin makes us uncomfortable (even the word “sin” is rarely used in churches these days), we soft-sell it as a mistake, a misstep, an inappropriate response to an unwelcome circumstance, etc. Generally, we classify sin as something we do, but it is far more than that. 

Personal Sovereignty

The Bible is clear that sin is an exercise of personal sovereignty in rebellion to a rightfully sovereign God (1 John 3:4; Deut. 9:7; Joshua 1:18). It is doing, feeling, and being what we want, demanding how and when we want it, with utter disregard for God’s will, plan, or design. This is why David, in Psalm 51:4, states, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” It is not that David didn’t recognize that he had taken another man’s wife, impregnated her, and manipulated the service of her husband to ensure his death. He is guilty of all of this and more. But what David recognizes is that sin is ultimately against the Sovereign Lord. David knows that he, the creature, has sinned against the Creator.

We moderns have lost our ability to recognize a Creator and lovingly submit as His creatures. 

Our present sexual revolution reflects our unwillingness to surrender to God’s sovereignty. Our feelings set us apart from any objective, external truth. We consider our desires and thoughts as our highest good, and we view happiness as the removal of all opposing opinions and thoughts.

Unfettered Pleasures

The result is a world where love is unrestricted, boundariless, and unfettered from responsibility or procreation. A world where boys can become girls and girls can become boys. A reality that defies rational observation and scientific proof but exists in the minds and imaginations of self-created selves fashioned to alleviate our perceived feelings of inadequacy and garner personal adulation and affirmation. 

We cannot find freedom or healing if we don’t face the reality of sin and the resulting brokenness in our lives. 

Paul reminds the Corinthians, steeped in hedonistic practices and idol worship, that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We demolish arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). 

The sinful actions of individuals were always rooted in “arguments and lofty opinions” that contradicted God’s truth. This is why we should not identify with our sins but fight against them. We cannot be a “gay Christian” and embrace thoughts that go against God’s design, considering them permissible as long as we don’t act upon them. We must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, which requires us to know and regularly read God’s Word and store it in our hearts.

Sin Is Deadly

Sin is deadly, but praise God; it doesn’t always kill immediately. We have a merciful God who gives us every opportunity for repentance and forgiveness, but we must take it (Romans 2:4). 

Stop playing with your sin, stop justifying your sin, and stop believing that nothing can be done to heal the hurt or stop the feelings. Jesus has come to set us free (John 8:32)! Bring Him your sins, distorted thoughts, and beliefs. When we let sin reign, we lose, the world loses, and those who need to believe can’t see the kingdom of God and His love for them lived out in our lives. He loves you. He gave His life for you (1 Corinthians 15:1-58; John 3:16). He is the answer to the hurts you feel and the world in which we live (John 6:68-69).