3 Steps Towards Sin

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. – Psalm 1:1

The Psalms begin by telling us we’re blessed when we avoid three things — walking, standing and sitting in the way of sinners.

Notice the progression: First there is walking with sin, then standing with it, then finally sitting in it. All too often we underestimate the power of sin and overestimate our own power to avoid it. We fall into sin by becoming increasingly comfortable going in the wrong direction.

We first walk with sin, then stand or engaging in it, and before we know it, we’re overwhelmed by it. We find an example of this “negative sanctification” in Lot.

1) Lot Walked With Sin

Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. (Gen 13:11)

Abraham and Lot were traveling together, but while Abraham walked by faith Lot walked by sight, and decided to go his own way — towards Sodom.

2) Lot Stood With Sin

Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. (Gen 13:12-13)

Lot has gone from walking with God, to walking towards sin, and now we find him standing among the wicked.

3) Lot Sat With Sin

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. (Gen 19:1)

By the time God had decided to judge Sodom, Lot is sitting comfortably in the city, and he is one of them.

Lot flirted with sin, he engaged sin, then finally was overcome by sin. If we aren’t careful the same thing will happen to us. We must be careful not to compromise with sin. We need to be aware of the company we keep and the actions we take.

If we find ourselves on a path of sin, we must turn from that sin to Christ before going any further.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Ps 51:12)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

– Jules Grisham, FaithPrez.org

Coming Back To God

“The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel” – 1 Kings 11:9

“I have this against you; you have left your first love.” – Revelation 2:4

Backsliding is when a person who follows Christ turns away from Him. To the backslider, God is no longer the main focus of his life. Without God’s leading, the person “backslides” into his old way of life.

What Causes Us To Backslide?

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12

Pride is found at the root of backsliding. Pride tells us we don’t need God to lead us. There are two forms pride takes when it comes to backsliding: Trying to justify oneself to God and taking part in sin.

Pride Leads To Backsliding

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” – Galatians 5:4

“Justified” means to be made acceptable to God. In the verse above, Paul tells us that trying to justify oneself through the law (or through good deeds) can lead to backsliding.

How can doing a good deed cause backsliding? Let’s say someone helps an elderly woman across the street. The Christian who is walking with God will say, “Jesus has been kind to me so I want to be kind to others,” where the Christian who is backsliding will say, “I am acceptable to God because I helped this woman across the street.”

Pride makes the backslider think that he can impress God, when in fact he’s moving away from Him because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Sin Leads To Backsliding

“You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

Here again we see pride, but in this form pride makes the backslider say, “I can lead myself. I don’t need God to tell me what to do.”

Or, in another case, a person may face doubt or hard times, and instead of turning to the Lord who is our “strength and our shield” (Psalm 28:7), will instead turn away from Him.

Less and less time is spent looking for God’s direction, and the backslider will stop praying and reading the Bible.

Without God’s direction the backslider will lead himself. This results in a sinful life away from God because, as Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

What Happens When We Backslide?

“Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind, we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.” – Isaiah 59:9-10

When we backslide we no longer seek the Lords’ leading and we lack direction. We no longer fellowship with Him and so our hearts are empty because we were created to have a relationship with God.

As terrible as it is to have never have known the love of Jesus Christ, how much worse is it to have experienced His love then turn away? Once you’ve followed Jesus nothing else can ever truly satisfy you.

That’s why backsliding is such a terrible thing. The backslider tries to replace God’s prefect love with something imperfect. But the Lord stretches out His hand and offers to forgive and restore the backslider

Coming Back To God

We turn back to the Lord:

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7

“I will frown on you on longer, for I am merciful, declares the Lord, I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt – you have rebelled against the Lord your God” – Jeremiah 3:12

And we pray:

“Our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities.” – Isaiah 59:12

We are forgiven:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Then we are restored:

“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” – Hosea 14:4

“Peace, peace, to those far and near, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 57:19

The 3 Steps of Repentance

“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10

To repent means to change one’s attitude towards sin and God. It’s a change that must occur in both the mind and the heart.

In Matthew 27:3 Judas repented in his mind but not his heart. In other words, he had a sense of regret or remorse, but he remained in his sin instead of turning to God for forgiveness.

Repentance of the mind and the heart leads to salvation and consists of three steps:

Step 1 – Recognize Your Guilt

The idea here is that we understand who we are and where we stand before God. 1 John 1:8 tells us that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” While Romans 6:23 tells us the “wages of sin is death”.

The first step in repenting involves understanding that we are sinners and stand under God’s judgment.

Step 2 – Trust That God Will Forgive You

In Psalm 51 David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”

Repentance is not only acknowledging our sin, it’s also recognizing that God is willing and able to forgive our sin.

We’re promised in Hebrews 8:12 that God will “forgive our wickedness and will remember our sins no more.

The second step in repenting involves believing that God will forgive us.

Step 3 – Turn From Sin, To God

Once we realize that we stand before God guilty of sin, and that He is willing to forgive us, we must then come to Him to receive that forgiveness. We come to God the Father though Jesus Christ, who is God the Son.

John 3:16 declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:10 tells us that Christ is “the propitiation [or payment] for our sins.”

Because Christ paid for our sins, Romans 3:24 tells us that we have been “justified freely” through Him, and we now stand before God innocent.

The final step in repenting involves calling on Christ to save us from the penalty of sin. Acts 2:21 promises that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.

Once we have repented and come to Christ for forgiveness Ephesians 2:19 tells us we are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

Your Sin Dropped Into The Sea

You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. – Micah 7:19

As soon as a person trusts in Christ Jesus, their sins are gone from them, and gone away for ever.

They are blotted out now. What if a man owes a hundred dollars? If he has a receipt for it, he’s free, it’s blotted out, there is an erasure made in the book, and the debt is gone.

Though the person committed sin the debt has been paid, he is no more a debtor to the law of God. Doesn’t our text say that God has cast his people’s sins into the depths of the sea?

Now, if they’re in the depths of the sea, they cannot be on his people too. Blessed be his name, in the day when he casts our sins into the depth of the sea, he views us as pure in his sight, and we stand accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6).

Then he says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) They cannot be removed and be here still.

Then if you believe in Christ, you are no more in the sight of God a sinner, you are accepted as though you were perfect, as though you had at kept the law, for Christ has kept it, and his righteousness is yours. You’ve broken it, but your sin is his, he has been punished for it and you’ve been pardoned from it.

– Charles Spurgeon

Would You Drink From A Dirty Glass?

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
– Romans 3:23

Many people believe that they can work their way to heaven. But no amount of good deeds can ever save us from God’s judgment because our hearts are corrupted by sin. Unless God gives us a new heart we cannot be saved.

Think of it this way…let’s say I offer you a glass of water. You look at the glass and notice that it looks dirty.

You say: “You know, this glass looks dirty.”

I respond: “Oh, the glass is contaminated with deadly bacteria, but don’t worry, it’s filled with spring water.”

Would you drink it? Of course not, because it doesn’t matter how pure the water is, the glass has contaminated everything within it.

Think of the glass as our hearts and our deeds as the water which fills the glass. Some people lead very bad lives — they fill their glass with ditch water. Others lead average lives — they fill their glass with tap water. Still others lead, by human standards, wonderful lives — they fill their glass with spring water. But it doesn’t matter whether your glass is filled with ditch water, tap water, or spring water, the glass is dirty. In the same way, the good deeds you offer God to earn your salvation are contaminated by sin and He cannot accept them.

But God will give a new glass to any one who asks.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
– Ezek 36:26

What did our Romans 3:23 say? “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But Romans 3:24 offers us hope because God offers to “justify us freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

While our hearts are contaminated with sin, Christ’s heart is pure, and His work is pure. He has lived the life we could not. To those who call on Him, He offers to credit His life to their account. They are now “justified by His blood” and “saved from wrath through Him.” (Rom 5:9)

Our good deeds, then, are not done to earn our salvation but done out of appreciation of our salvation.

God doesn’t take good people and make them better, nor does He leave bad people without hope. God, through Jesus Christ, takes sinners and makes them a new creation, forgiven, able to stand blameless, able to be called children of God.

Are You Making These 3 Mistakes In Your Christian Walk?

The Christian walk is often a hard one. Our old, sinful nature continually battles against the Spirit, causing us to sin. (Gal 5:17)

Even the Apostle Paul struggled at times, admitting that, “I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom 7:15) So in this study we’re going to look at three mistakes all Christian’s make and what to do when we make them.

Now it’s very important to understand that we aren’t trying to correct these mistakes to earn our salvation. Our salvation doesn’t depend on our ability to live a perfect life, it depends on Christ’s ability to live a perfect life, and be a sacrifice for our sins.

In other words we fight against sin not to be saved, but because we are saved, and we want to be as close to our Lord and Savior as we can.

Mistake #1 – God’s Word Isn’t Guiding Your Actions

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Jam 1:22)

The Christian faith isn’t something only to be professed, it’s also something to be lived. “True faith”, J.C. Ryle once said, “is more than holding theological positions – it’s living, burning and active. It produces works of love, it purifies the heart, and overcomes the world.”

What you believe should affect how you live. God’s Word is “living and powerful”, a “light to our path”, and is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness.” (Heb 4:12, Ps 119:105, 2 Tim 3:16)

If God’s Word Isn’t Guiding Your Actions: “The just shall live by faith,” and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Hab 2:4 , Rom 10:17). Commit yourself to reading and applying the teachings of the Bible every day.

Prayer: Father, let me not only love Your truth, but live it.

Mistake #2 – You Aren’t Living In God’s Strength

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (Isa 40:29)

Christians should live day by day in God’s strength, but often they turn their focus from living in His strength, to living in the world’s strength.

People live in worldly strength by intimidating, oppressing or seducing those with lesser strength. The world’s strength is seen by breaking those under them.

People live in God’s strength when they recognize that He alone is the source their joy, value, purpose and power. God’s strength is seen when He gives, renews and increases the strength of those who take refuge in Him. The world forces down and breaks, God lifts up and rebuilds.

If You Aren’t Living In God’s Strength: Focus on living – not for the world – but for Christ, who is your life, and through whom you can do all things. (Col 3:4, Phil 4:13)

Learn from Abraham, who Romans 4:20-21 tells us “was strengthened in faith” because he was “fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform.”

Trust the Lord to see you through whatever has been put in your path. Turn to Him to increase your strength when you are weak, give you comfort when you are hurting and give you rest when you are weary. (Isa 40:29, 2 Cor 1:3-6, Matt 11:28)

Prayer: O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

Mistake #3 – You’re Living For Sin Instead Of Living For Christ

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom 13:14)

We sin when we go against God’s law. We do this by either not doing what God requires of us or by doing what He has forbidden us to do. Sin can occur in thought, word, or deed.

All too often Christians underestimate the power of sin and overestimate their own power to avoid it. We fall into sin by becoming increasingly comfortable going in the wrong direction. We flirt with sin, then engage in it, then before we know it, we’re overwhelmed by it.

If You Are Living For Sin: Turn from sin to Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jhn 1:9)

Prayer:Through Christ wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Are All Sins Equal?

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

Are all sins equal in the eyes of God?

Let’s begin by defining sin. We sin when we go against God’s law. We do this by either not doing what God requires of us or by doing what He has forbidden us to do. Sin can occur in one of three ways: Thought, word, or deed.

So, if we’re asking if all sins are equal in the sense that they separate us from God, then the answer is yes.

James 2:10 tells us that if we fail to keep one point of the law then we are law breakers. And as we see from our text, when we sin we fall short of God’s glory, and our sin separates us from Him.

But if we’re asking if all sins equally serious, then the answer is no, they’re not. Murder is more serious than stealing. Leading someone into false teaching is more serious than cutting someone off in traffic.

Jesus said to Pilate in John 19:11, “the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” And again in Luke 12:47-48 Jesus taught that there are different degrees of punishment.

But the good news of Christianity is that, even though we sin, through Christ we are forgiven. Through Christ “we have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) This forgiveness is available to “whoever calls on the name of the Lord for forgiveness.” (Act 2:21)

d

God Will Not Remember

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” -Jeremiah 31:34

When we know the Lord, we receive the forgiveness of sins. We know Him as the God of grace, passing over our sin. What a joyful thing this is!

Notice how wonderfully this promise worded: the Lord promises to “remember our sins no more”! Can God forget? He says He will, and He means what He says.

Through Christ He will view us as though we had never sinned. The great atonement so effectually removed all sin that it is to the mind of God no more in existence. The believer is now in Christ Jesus, as accepted as Adam in his innocence — even more accepted, because he wears a divine righteousness.

The Lord will not remember our sins or love us any less because of them. Just as a debt once paid ceases to be a debt, the Lord completely removes the sin of His people.

When we mourn over our sin and shortcomings, let us also rejoice that they will never be held against us. This makes us hate sin. God’s free pardon makes us anxious to never again to grieve Him by disobedience.

– C.H. Spurgeon

Darkness and Light

“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
– Genesis 1:5

The evening was “darkness” and the morning was “light,” and yet the two together are called by the name that is given to the light alone! This has an exact analogy to our spiritual walk.

In every believer there’s darkness and light, and yet he’s not called a sinner because there’s sin in him, but he’s called a saint because he possesses some degree of holiness (Colossians 1:12).

This is a most comforting thought to those who ask, “Can I be a child of God while there’s so much darkness in me?” Yes because you, like the day, don’t take your name from the evening, but from the morning. And you’re spoken of in the word of God as if you were even now perfectly holy as you will be soon (Romans 3:21-26, 1 John 3:2).

Notice that the evening comes first. We’re in darkness first, and the depth of our sin causes us to cry out, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Then comes morning, it dawns when grace overcomes our sinful nature (2 Corinthians 5:21). So even though you are naturally darkness, when you become light in the Lord, there is no evening to follow — “Your sun will never set again” (Isaiah 60:20).

The first day in this life is an evening and a morning; but the second day, when we shall be with God, will be a day with no evening, but one, sacred, high, eternal noon.

– Charles Spurgeon