11 February 2011

The soul that feels "it's no use" needs Good News.

Sin is a least five things.

First, it is common among every living person (Romans 5:12).

Second, we cannot be naive or overly "spiritual", it is attractive. I wouldn't exist if it wasn't. We do what we want to do and when we sin there is a part of us that wants it. Sin's promise of satisfaction is real and it delivers temporarily with horrible repercussions to our consciences, our faith and our loved ones.

Third, it is self-fueling. The tiny drop of pleasure provided by sin leaves us craving for more. Without an alternative, our thirsty souls will return for more. We trifle with this self-fueling to our own peril. Tolkien's Gollum aptly pictures the progressive implosion of our souls. Eventually, our attention will be adhered to the object of our sinful (read God-less) desire.

Fourth, it is, then, horrible. It strips a person of their dignity and it leads them to despise God and use others - the very opposite of the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40). Sin destroys. Idolatry destroys. Unbelief destroys. There is no avoiding the destruction of God's image when we sin. It is anti-God and His purposes. We tend to see only the vilest and fullest expressions of sin as horrible but that is a deceptive device of the devil. Every rape began with a rogue sinful idea. Every murder's root is an undercover bitterness.

Fifth, it is NOT the Christian's master. In Christ, we have been delivered from bondage to sin (Romans 6:6) to walk in "newness of life" (Romans 6:4). But, just as soon as the celebration of our freedom begins, we find that a battle still rages in our soul (Romans 7:14-20). Is this freedom real? How do we experience it? Peter gives us a glimpse in 2 Peter 1:3-4:
[3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 
Here Peter tells us that an intimate knowledge of the one who saved us and what he has promised us in salvation is God's means of deliverance.

This session of "How The Gospel Changes People" (Summitview's Leadership Training) entitled "How the Gospel Addresses Sin" unpacks this idea to provide hope for those who are tempted to feel that sin has won and there is no longer any use in trying to resist it (Jer. 2:23-25).

Additional Resources
Teaching Notes
"Kill or Be Killed" - a series of supplementary messages to "The Mortification of Sin" by John Owen
Leadership Training Resources from Summitview


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