So Great Sin

“How can I be a Christian when I have so much sin in my life?” Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Some friends of Deeper Waters in my last blog commented on how many Christians question their salvation because of sin in their lives. They’re entirely correct. Now we know we all have sin in our lives, which is an important point to keep in mind, but what about the person who struggles repeatedly with a sin and goes to bed at night saying “Tomorrow, I’ll do better” and then wakes up saying “Today, I will do better” and yet before too long, what are they doing? They’re on the computer watching porn again or opening up the fridge for that snack they shouldn’t have, or find themselves yelling at their kids yet again with a crying spouse.

The first part to keep in mind is this is the reality that we all have sin in our lives. We all have struggles that we need to confess to the Father. If you know of no such struggle in your life, then you have a far greater one than you realize.

But we all know of passages about people who will not inherit the Kingdom of God and also about the end of Matthew 7 with Jesus saying “I never knew you.” The last one is kind of odd. People who do great works are said to have never been known by Christ, and what’s the solution for the person who’s doubting his salvation then? Do more works to show I’m a Christian! Doesn’t look like that’s the problem in Matthew 7.

Again, a Calvinist and Arminian could agree here. The Arminian could say that the people in the passage never made a real commitment to Jesus. The Calvinist could say it was a said faith instead of a real faith and they were never part of the Elect. I have no intention of entering that debate. Eternal Security will bring no comfort to the doubter who doubts they have ever been secure.

The answer to the dilemma overall is grace.

Yes. You must realize the grace of God in your life. I’d start by really looking at your sin. Don’t look at what it means for you. Don’t think about your salvation if you can help it. Instead, just look at what it means to God. What every sin is ultimately is choosing your way over that of God. No matter how big or small, it’s doing just that. If you think your way is better than God’s, you are claiming to know better than He. You are claiming to have more knowledge than He. You are wanting the right to rule instead of him. You are guilty of divine treason.

This might not sound like help right now. I think it is. I want you to see how serious the charge is.

Now in light of that, realize this. God over and over in the Bible delights in forgiving. Take Manasseh for instance, a wicked king who sacrificed his own children to false gods, and yet in 2 Chronicles 33, we read about his forgiveness.

Over and over, if people will repent, God will forgive.

As long as you’re still seeking to move towards God, realize you’re going the right way regardless of how often you stumble. Do you thin you tire God out with your confession? He is the one who said that you are to forgive 70 times 7 times and still more.

Do you really think God would rather judge you than forgive you? If so, then you need to take your view of God under consideration. Go through the Bible and red about the grace of god over and over.

“But how can I be forgiven when I keep falling?”

Your wanting to please God shows that you are one of His. Your fear of being apart from Him shows how much you want to be with Him. It shows a broken and contrite heart, the kind that He will not despise.

You are not required to be perfect. Christ is perfect for you. To think that you have to live without sinning after repentance is a Mormon belief, not a Christian one.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t try to get past your sin, and for that, I offer some suggestions.

First off, have an accountability partner. I’ve told a number of my friends in regards to my marriage that if they see me stepping out of line, that they have all right to call me out on it. I have a good friend who’s a spiritual mentor for me who I email every night after saying prayers. Even if you’re not struggling with salvation doubt, I think everyone should do that.

Second, get to the root of the issue. If you have a struggle with porn, for instance, it can help to put up a block on the computer, but you need to look at the real issue. How is it that you view the opposite sex? How is it that you view sex itself? What do you consider such a good in life that you are repeating this sin to get so regularly?

Third, get professional counseling if need be. There are some problems that could be an addiction and you could need some help getting past that is more professional. In some cases, you might need medication. This is not a lack of faith! This is part of good mental health!

Fourth, do invest yourself in learning some good theology. Your doctrine of God needs to be based on more than your feelings, as does your salvation. The Bible never says anything about what it is like to “feel forgiven.” It talks about thankfulness for forgiveness, but not the internal feelings. If forgiveness depended on your feelings, our status of forgiveness would change constantly.

A final advice is to live as if you were saved and just watch what happens. Feelings tend to follow actions. Not the other way around.

Dear Christian. Know you serve a God who abounds in grace, and you are not an exception to the rule.

In Christ,
Nick Peters