That dirty, three-letter word…
Terry Dashner……………….Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Sin kills. But, grace brings life.
Which do you prefer? You who know God and live for Jesus, which nature do you prefer—the sin nature or new nature?
As you know sin nature is “old man,” or “flesh.” It is nature within every believer that must be put down daily by power of Holy Spirit. If sin nature is not dealt with by aid of God, it will rule over believer, causing him to appear “fleshly” or “carnal” or identical to what he was before he became a believer (The entire letter of I Corinthians).
Is it possible—for a Christian to act like a wicked sinner? Yes it is, according to bible. The only way to continue Christian walk of holiness, faith, and power, is to walk in power of Holy Spirit. It’s not something we “try” to do. It’s not something that we “work” at. It’s something we surrender to.
The Christian walk is a daily surrender to leadership of Holy Spirit. You see, a believer is reborn by Holy Spirit when he calls on name of Jesus for salvation. The Holy Spirit regenerates sinner’s human spirit, making it come alive to God. That’s miraculous; however, new believer must continue his walk in faith daily or he will succumb to overlord of old nature. Although new birth in Christ brings a release from power of sin, it does not deliver him from very presence of sin. Not until believer receives his full reward in heaven will he be removed from very presence of sin.
I want to share with you more on topic of sin. To do this, I want to begin by defining sin. According to Walter A. Elwell’s, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Book House, 1984), “In biblical perspective, sin is not only an act of wrongdoing but a state of alienation from God…It signifies rupture of a personal relationship with God, a betrayal of trust he places in us.”
Elwell continues, “The biblical witness also affirms that sin is universal. ‘All have sinned and fall short of glory of God,’ Paul declares (Rom. 3:23 RSV). ‘There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins’ (Eccles. 7:20 NIV)…In Reformed theology, core of sin is unbelief. This has firm biblical support: in Gen. 3 where Adam and Eve trust word of serpent over word of God; in Gospels where Jesus Christ is rejected by leaders of Jews; in Acts 7 where Stephen is martyred at hands of an unruly crowd; in John 20:24-25 where Thomas arrogantly dismiss resurrection of Jesus.
“Hardness of heart, which is closely related to unbelief (Mark 16:14; Rom. 2:5), likewise belongs to essence of sin. It means refusing to repent and believe in promises of God (Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7). It connotes both stubborn unwillingness to open ourselves to love of God (II Chr. 36:13; Eph. 4:18) and its corollary—insensitivity to needs of our neighbor (Deut. 15:7; Eph. 4:19).”
What are chief manifestations of sin? You guessed it. Pride, sensuality, fear, self-pity, selfishness, jealousy, greed, and so on. The Bible declares that sin can be individual or collective or social. Sin affects me personally. It affects local churches corporately. And it can affect nations and societies as a whole. The effects of sin can be moral, spiritual bondage, guilt, death and hell.
Show me Word
Let’s look at book of James. James 1:14-15 RSV states, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.” Notice where sin originates and how it progresses along in individual Christian. A wrong desire fuels a moral breakdown, which ensnares and enslaves believer, bringing self-condemnation and guilt, which can lead to physical death.
Now let’s look at James 4:1 RSV “What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?’ This is interesting. James is talking to believers, scattered all abroad. He tells them that battles and wars all start with human desires run-amok. Even godly men can dwell on greed, until greed controls them. The greed and an overwhelming desire to have more can spur men on to take from others. This taking of loot and property can turn into battles, which rage into full blown wars.
Show me History
Let me turn now to historical controversy over sin. In fifth century, Augustine challenged views of a monk by name of Pelagius. Augustine appealed to scriptures stating that sin incapacitates man from doing good, and because we are born as sinners we lack power to do good. Yet because we willfully choose bad over good, we must be held accountable for our sin.
Augustine gave illustration of a man who by abstaining from food necessary for health so weakened himself that he could no longer eat. Though still a human being, created to maintain his health by eating, he was no longer able to do so. Similarly, by historical event of fall, all humanity has become incapable of that movement toward God—the very life for which it was created. Pelagius held that one could raise oneself by one’s own efforts toward God, and therefore grace is reward of human virtue. Augustine countered that man is helpless to do good until grace falls upon him, and when grace is thus given he is irresistibly moved toward God and good.
During Reformation, Luther powerfully reaffirmed Pauline and Augustinian doctrine of bondage of will against Erasmus, who maintained that man still has capacity to do right, though he needs aid of grace if he is to come to salvation. Luther saw man as totally bound to powers of darkness—sin, death, and devil. What he most needs is to be delivered from spiritual slavery rather than inspired to heroic action. (Ibid, p. 1013).