Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spiritual Maturity and Sin

One of the evidences of spiritual maturity in our lives is our attitude toward sin. We begin to understand that sin is more than just a mistake and that it has costly consequences. William Pile wrote:
“It [sin] has in its very nature not only habituation, but degradation. We seldom curtail sin, or taper off. Once it has severed our relationship with God, God’s image, in which we created (Gen. 1:26), seems to dim, and we become more like animals than people, driven more by instinct than intellect” (What The Bible Says About Grace; pg. 21).

The more we understand sin the more we begin to hate it. We hate sin because of the way it enslaves us and keeps us from becoming the people God created us to be. Sin holds us back and steals our lives away. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy...” (John 10:10a; NASB). As we mature in Christ Jesus we hate sin because in destroys who God created us to be.

Not only do we hate the sin that is in our lives, but we hate the sin that enslaves other people. Matthew tells us that Jesus looked on the crowds of sinners as being “harassed and helpless” (Matthew 9:36b, NIV). The Greek that has been translated harassed literally means “flayed, torn, and mangled.” Do you have a visual image on how Jesus sees sin in the lives of people? It ruins our lives! Sin not only harasses us, but it tears at us, cuts us, and leaves our us in the mangled wreckage of humanity that we find ourselves in.

Now how does this hatred of sin show itself in our lives? First it is seen in our constant struggle with the sin that is in our lives. It is through this struggle that we become intimately familiar with the nature of sin. If we truly hate the sin that is enslaving our lives then we will do whatever it takes to get rid of it.

Not only will we struggle against the sin that we have in our own lives, but we will also fight to help other people get free of the sin that is in their lives. If we truly love our neighbors then we will do what we can to help them discover life. How else can people find life unless we help them find the Life-Maker and help them break free from the sin that has mangled and destroyed their lives?

The question we need to consider is this: How do we view sin? Is it something that we are willing to dedicate our lives to destroy? Do we believe that sin is evil which mangles and ruins our lives? Are we willing to bring everything we have against this great enemy of humanity?

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.* Because of the joy* awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;* then you won't become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin (Hebrews 12:1-4; NLT).


How far are you willing to go in your struggle with sin?

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