I am at my most deceived when I think I’m getting away with sin. Now I don’t think to myself, “Gee, I’m sure getting away with sin!” No, my mind knows better than that but my actions belie my knowledge. I conduct myself in a way as though I am getting away with a sin I know I need to repent of and confess. Solomon gives a stern warning of living such a deception:
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” (Proverbs 5:21-23)
Being “caught in the cords of his sin” is nothing less than spiritual bondage. It is a vicious cycle of rebellion, repentance, and then restoration, and then back to rebellion. And somehow we believe this is the normal Christian life, because everyone must struggle the same way I do. Perhaps, but the old saying “misery loves company” brings me no comfort. Being a slave to sin is never comfortable and Jesus said as much:
“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” (John 8:34-36)
If I am going to be a slave, then let me surrender my rights to my Lord Jesus Christ. if I am going to be dependent upon anything, let me be dependent on the righteousness of Jesus obtained for me on the cross. That is the choice Paul presents to us:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18)
My desire to go it alone and live in my sin may seem like independence, but I am only fooling myself. I think I have this Christianity thing all figured out, but the more I read Scripture the more I realize how much I’ve deceived myself through my own stinking thinking. I look at my sin through my eyes instead of God’s eyes. Major W. Ian Thomas clears up the confusion:
“God is perfect, and by that perfection you and I can recognize sin, because sin is anything which falls short of His perfection. God Himself is therefore the only standard by which sin is recognizable. Sin is also defined in the Bible as faithless independence: ‘Whatever is not from faith is sin’ (Romans 14:23). It is an attitude of ‘lawlessness’ (1 John 3:4).”
Until I come to the realization the I am a captive to sin and not at all independent, I will not see clearly my true spiritual state. If I know of someone in such a state, I must not berate him or her and believe I can talk them out of such rebellion. My goal for myself and others must be to know the truth:
“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
Are you living a life of faithless independence, daily deceiving yourself as right with God? Why not live a life of faithful dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ, daily knowing you are right with God? The former is a life of misery; the latter a life of mercy.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough misery in my life for two generations. Give me Jesus and His mercy!
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers