Sin is a present reality in our life as we live in this world.
What is sin? It is any lack of conformity to God’s perfect law. This lack of complying with God’s directives happens in either of the two following ways:
- we do something that God says not to do, or
- we fail to do something that God says to do.
If God tells us not to use our eyes and mind to lust and we do it, then we are sinning. If God tells us to love our enemies and we fail to do it, then we are sinning.
No matter who you are, you are going to violate God’s laws … everyday.
For the Christian, this becomes particularly frustrating. Why? Because deep down we don’t want to violate God’s commands. We want to enjoy Him and obey Him. Yet, we sin and then feel utterly guilty inside.
Well, friend, just realize that you aren’t alone. As you continue to make war against sin in yourself, realize that the Apostle Paul felt this frustration, too.
Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Do you hear his frustration? He wanted to live for Jesus but his struggle with sin was real and he often lost the battle.
Ultimately, the answer to this dilemma is found in Romans 8 – the Holy Spirit-filled life. But, I want you to see something really important as we continue to camp out in Romans 7.
Principle: If you are a Jesus-follower, you are no longer a sinner. You sin because “sin” still resides inside of you but it’s not you.
It would be like getting a splinter in your finger. That splinter would be in you … but it’s not you. That is the way we are to look at sin in ourselves.
Notice that the Apostle Paul said this very thing…
Romans 7:17 “So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
Romans 7:20 “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
I want you to read those verses again. Notice that Paul said that when he sinned, it is not him who was doing it – it was “sin” that camped out in his body.
If you have been saved from God’s wrath and judgment by trusting in Jesus, then you have been born again. The “old you” died with Jesus and there is a “new you.”
Yet, even though you now have desires to love the Lord and obey Him, “sin” still camps out in your body and will not leave until you reside in Heaven.
That’s why you sin. It’s not who you are anymore. You continue to struggle with sin because “sin” still resides inside of you making war against the “new you.”
Why is this so important to understand?
Because, among other reasons, who you see yourself to be will greatly determine your success or failure.
If you see yourself as a loser, you’ll be a loser. If you see yourself as dumb, you will find it difficult to learn anything new. If you see yourself as sickly, you’ll always have the symptoms of illness.
On the other hand, if you see yourself as a righteous person who is fully pleasing to God who sins every now and then, not because you are sinful, but because “sin” (which is no longer who you are) is camping out in your body and warring against you, then you will tend to sin less and less.
Friend, if you are saved, you are no longer a sinner. It’s not who you are.
Will you sin each day? Yep. But, you will feel horribly guilty after doing it because it’s not who you are anymore.
You sin because you have that nasty thing called “sin” that will not be eradicated from your body until you arrive in Heaven.
So make war against sin. See it as a disease, a toxin in your body that seeks to harm you. While it is inside of you, it’s not who you are. So fight against it. In fact, determine to do everything you can to kill it (Romans 8:13).
… and read Romans 8 to understand how you can get the victory over it!