By Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
I wish I hated sin more than I do. The fact is I like sin… at least sometimes. The reason sin appeals to me so much is that it always appears to meet a supposedly real need while masking a legitimate need with a quick pleasure. Let’s be honest. If sin were not pleasurable—at least in the moment—we would never do it.
Yet sin kills. The Bible is very clear on this: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). And earlier in the same book we read, “… because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man…” (Rom 5:17). To put it bluntly, when we sin, something dies. Every time. Always. Sin kills.
But how do we overcome sin? Is victory even possible when we are bound to bodies of flesh that war against our spirit? Even the apostle Paul seems to battle this endless war with the flesh when he wrote, “who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24)
The writer of Hebrews gives us hope. He encouraged his readers to walk in the Lord and know who they were in Christ and what Christ had done for them. In chapter 10 he gives them three simple truths that we would do well to apply in our battle plan with sin:
- 10:22 – Draw near to God. “Let us draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith”. When we feel the urge to sin we do not need to run from God; instead, we should run to Him. We need to understand that He, as a loving heavenly Father, is willing to receive us in our struggle and empower us to overcome our momentary battle. If we run to Him, we will be reminded of who He is and who we are as His sons and daughters. When we believe who we are, we act in accordance with that belief.
- 10:23 – Hold on to hope. “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful”. And what is that hope? The truth that the resurrection has empowered us to overcome the sin in this world. The truth that Jesus is sufficient to meet the needs of our heart. The truth that we will not always battle sin, Satan is defeated, Jesus is coming, and God is faithful. As we look to these truths we are empowered and encouraged to live lives worthy of our relationship and identification with our Father.
- 10:23-24a – Encourage others in community. “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some”. Sin is always about me. It is never concerned with the needs of others, but is rather consumed with personal pleasure, and the satisfaction and cessation of pain. The writer of Hebrews knew that if we lift our eyes off of self and on to others who have hurts, needs, and struggles of their own, we will quickly find our own obsession with comfort giving way to the good of serving others.
How are you at running to God with your sin? Is your view of God as Father such that you know He is not out to condemn you, but to love you and call you to be more than you think you can be?
Do you find yourself overly focused on the now instead of the not yet? Are you hopeful for the future? God has more for you. He is preparing a day when you will be transformed and no longer bound by this sin-inclined body (1 Cor 15:53).
Are you actively involved in a body of believers? Are you serving in that body or are you simply attending to see what you can get from the group? Seek ways to actively invest in your community. Serve those less fortunate than yourself. Use your gifts, talents, and abilities to make the lives of others better.
When we put these principles into practice, sin is overcome, death is conquered, and we live the abundant life Christ died to secure for you and me!