Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Overcome Sin With Good Works

We live in a world that has been corrupted by sin. I am not talking about a little bit of the world, but the entire thing. There is not a part of all of creation that has been exempt from the effects of sin. Since we live in this world, and because it is all that we know, it is easy to think that sin is our natural state as human beings. That would be wrong.

God designed us to do good works. That means we were created to bring glory and love to God, to love and serve other people, and to be good stewards of the wonderful creation God gave to us. Sin was not part of the original design.

I bring this up because I think we allow the fact that we are "just human" to justify sinful behavior. Rather than praying about our sin and taking steps to remove it from our lives we allow our sin to continue to have a place in our lives. "After all," we reason, "we are just human."

It is essential that we grab a hold of the reality that Jesus died because of sin. The death of Jesus on the cross atones for our sins and it begins to reverse the curse that sin brought into this world. The death of Jesus should remind us that God was not willing to allow His creation to be hijacked by Satan, sin, and death. Our loving Heavenly Father is not pleased that His good creation was corrupted.

If God is not pleased with the corruption of His creation, then as His people we should not be pleased either. It should bother us to see sin cause havoc and hardship in the lives of people, and we should be moved to do something about it.

Ponder for a moment the often used verse from Ephesians: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10; NLT).

I think this verse helps us understand what part we are to play in the war against sin and its corrupting effect. First, we have to remember that through God's grace our sin is taken care of. We don't have to worry about death and hell because Jesus' death took care of those eternal effects of sin and His resurrection gives us the promise of new life. In other words, overcoming sin isn't about getting our act together, because we will never be able to, we are not strong enough or wise enough to overcome sin on our own. Jesus death and resurrection means we don't have to, because He took care of our sin problem for us, and now we are new creations.

That doesn't mean we have no responsibility in this fight. What Paul says is that we have been re-created for a purpose: good works. Rather than looking towards sin, we look towards good works, doing those things that God originally created us to do. The more we give ourselves away to good works, the less hold sin will have on us. So not only do we not have to worry about the eternal effects of sin, but now we can discover that sin will have a less of a hold on us because or our growing desire to do good.

Sin is not our natural state. Since, Jesus has taken care of the effects of sin, we can slowly but surely break the hold of sin on our lives as we give ourselves over to our original design: doing good works.

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