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Have you ever sinned? I know ... silly question. However, if we are going to live lives that consistently glorify God, it is important for us to understand the depths of this issue and how it applies. Truth be told, every one of us not only has sinned, but is a sinner. We battle with (and often give in to) the temptation to sin every day of our life.
Welcome to the Point of Purity Podcast! I’m your host Steve Etner – author, National Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry and this is Episode #163 . In this episode we continue our mini-series on Glorifying God as we discover how our thinking impacts our doing. This week’s Episode is simply entitled “Understanding Sin.”
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17)
Without Christ, every human being is a sinner destined for an eternity in Hell. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. ... There is no fear of God before their eyes. ...Therefore no one will be declared righteous in [God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:11-12, 18, 20). “Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 53:3). “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). There is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:3)
Consider for a moment the words “does good” in Psalm 14:3, the last verse I just quoted. To “do” refers to producing something completely on your own with no help. The word “good” here is referring to that which is excellent in God’s eyes. What David is declaring here is that there is absolutely no human being ever (past, present, or future) who is capable of producing that which is excellent in God’s eyes completely on their own. When left to ourselves, we will sin. Every time, all the time.
The Apostle Paul declares in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that the wages (price paid for) our sin is death – an eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). To know true victory in your life – to live a godly life that truly glorifies your Heavenly Father – you must begin with the acknowledgement that outside of Christ your natural tendency is to sin.
If we are going to effectively pursue godliness, we must gain a proper understanding of sin. To do that, let’s focus our thoughts on four specific questions. First, what is sin? In 1 John 5:17 we read that “all wrongdoing is sin.” Think about that as I repeat it. All wrongdoing is sin. Ahhh, but there are many different standards today of what is right and what is wrong. If all wrongdoing is sin, then we must ask, “wrongdoing according to whom?” Certainly, there must be one standard that rises head and shoulders above the rest, right?
In the grand scheme of things, it is more important to know what God defines as sin is than what you or I think sin is. In the end, I will not stand before your judgment seat, nor will you stand before mine. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” There is a day coming when you and I will stand before the Almighty, Most Holy, Sovereign creator of the universe, God Himself to answer for all our wrongdoings (as well as our right-doings). What matters most is God’s definition of right and wrong and our obedience to it.
In both the Hebrew and Greek languages (the languages in which the Bible was written), the word “sin” refers to a failure to hit the mark of holiness that God set. We miss that mark because of willful disobedience – choosing to worship King Me instead of glorifying God. In 1 John 3:4 we read, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” In other words, sin is a breaking or violation of God’s written Word (The Bible). It is choosing to do the opposite of what God requires. In short, it is disobedience. So, all sin is wrongdoing according to God because all sin is refusing to obey God’s commands, choosing to go against His perfect standards. “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” (1 John 3:4 NLT)
Sin is calling your own shots. It’s choosing to live for “King Me.” When you do anything against, or in opposition to, God’s Word, you are transgressing His law and thus you are sinning. So, sin is choosing to go through life as if there was no absolute law (God’s Word) – other than your own – requiring your absolute obedience.
God clearly states that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) It doesn’t matter how good you may be; disobey God in just one point, no matter how “small” you may think that offense may be, and God says that in his eyes you are guilty of breaking all of God’s laws. “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws” (James 2:10 NLT)
Have you ever asked yourself what prevents you from living a consistent godly life? The answer is sin. In order to consistently live a life that truly glorifies God, we must first learn what keeps us from accomplishing that task. We cannot understand the solution to the problem unless we first understand what the actual problem is. To glorify God in our everyday living, we must first glorify Him in our every-moment thinking. What I think will become what I do – guaranteed. We can never fully comprehend God’s remedy for our sinful thinking process if we don’t first understand the reason why we struggle so much with our thoughts.
Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” In Genesis 3, when Adam chose to disobey God, you and I were there. Scripture is clear that we inherited that original sin nature from Adam. This is why it’s easier to do wrong than it is to do right. Before becoming a Christian, your natural tendency was to think selfish, sinful thoughts which always lead to selfish, sinful behavior. What you think becomes what you do.
Today, the world at large rejects the concept of sin. Because they reject sin, they have no true understanding as to why they are the way they are. Everything today is considered to be a “lifestyle choice.” Hardly anything is considered to be sin anymore. It is no wonder that we struggle so much with living godly lives when the world’s wicked philosophy is all around us, permeating almost everything we see and hear, and thus influencing how we think and behave.
Here is our second question: When you sin, where does that sin (wrongdoing) come from? In the 1980’s there was a famous comedian that coined the phrase, “The Devil made me do it!” It was meant to be humorous and cute, but it truly expresses the mind-set so many have. Mankind refuses to take responsibility for their choice to sin. It is far easier to blame someone or something else for wrong behavior.
So, where exactly does sin come from? Does the Devil actually make us sin? No. Does God tempt us to sin? Definitely not. God is “a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Genesis 18:25 declares that God, the righteous Judge of all the earth, always does what is right. Job cried out, “Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.” (Job 34:10) “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.” (James 1:13)
If sin doesn’t come from the Devil, and it doesn’t come from God, where does it come from? “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) God says, “each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me.” (Jeremiah 16:12) Jesus declared that “from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.” (Mark 7:21) You see at the very core of our being; within our own heart we find deceit and everything evil. That is who we are without Christ. Sin comes from within our own humanness. We are born sinners.
King David worded it well when he said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Even as Christians “we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3 ESV) “We, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy.” (Titus 3:3 NLT) This is all due to the fact that “every inclination of [man’s] heart is evil from childhood.” (Genesis 8:21) It is part of our old nature to sin.
The third question we need to consider is this: Who sins? Of course, the answer is fairly obvious. We know that everyone sins. In fact, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:8, 10 NLT) In truth “the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” (Galatians 3:22) “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) You may be familiar with Romans 3:23 where Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No, the devil did not make any of us do it. It is within our old nature to sin.
You may be sitting here right now thinking you’re doing ok. You may be convinced you’re not as bad as someone else. To you God asks this question: “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9) The obvious answer is no one. Even the greatest, most “holy” thing you may do is like a filthy rag before God (Isaiah 64:6). “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God’.” (Romans 3:10-11)
Who sins? Raise your hand high, my friend, right along with me because we all sin.
Here is our fourth question to consider: Why do we choose to give in to sin? The answer, at least in part, can be found in Hebrews 11:25 where we read that sin has its pleasures for a season. We choose to sin simply because we enjoy its affect. Sin is pleasurable. It’s easy, effortless, and even comfortable. For example, it can feel good to explode in anger. Two people have an adulterous relationship because it feels good. A person may gossip or backbite to feel better about self. Sin most definitely has its pleasures.
Reflect for a moment on the fact that sin is pleasurable only “for a season.” A season definitely refers to a specific period of time. That explosion of anger may have felt good at that moment, but the feeling of satisfaction is short-lived when compared to the devastation left in its wake. Adultery typically has its moments of physical elation, but it fades quickly, leaving long-lasting, painful and damaging ramifications.
A “season of pleasure” also indicates something else. Having grown up in Northern Indiana I have become quite familiar with going through specific seasons of the year. We experience all four of them in very succinct ways. And you don’t have to live here long before you realize there is yet another type of season – corn. It’s actually interesting to watch the farmers plow their fields, churning up all that fresh dark soil, and the plant the seed. As the corn season progresses through the warm summer months, we are able to almost watch the corn grow literally. I’ve even been told that on a quiet summers’ eve you can actually hear the corn grow. Every year the corn has a specific time of planting, growing, and then a time of harvest – a season.
God says that sin has its pleasure “for a season.” Sin will grow. Sin is pleasurable. However, it lasts only for a short period of time, at the end of which there is a harvest. “Sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:15) Job 4:8 tells us that “those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” In Proverbs 22:8 we read, “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble.” (NIV) Scripture clearly warns us, “Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NLT)
Choose to sin – reap the results.
Choose to walk in the Spirit – reap the rewards.
OK. Let’s hit the pause button until next week’s episode as we continue our miniseries on How to Glorify God. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about The Pure Man Ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com.
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “Purely Satisfied: Discover how to live in genuine purity” available right now on Amazon. I have a question for you: When you find yourself sexually “thirsty” – feeling like you’re going to shrivel up and die if your “need” isn’t met, what do you do? Where do you go to find satisfaction? All too often we turn to King Me for the solution. Understand this: Yes, you are “thirsty,” BUT you are not thirsting for sexual fulfillment. You are not thirsting for physical satisfaction. You are not thirsting for a chemical pop or rush that those sexual hormones are providing you. That’s Satan misdirecting you, trying to get your focus off of what your real thirst is for.
Your thirst is for something different, something deeper. Here’s what I mean ... Your soul is searching for something only God can give. This is why lust, porn, and masturbation will ALWAYS fail to genuinely satisfy. This is why you keep going back for more, never having that thirst quenched.
My new book “Purely Satisfied” makes it clear that you need to catch God’s vision and plan for your life, and the only way that’s going to happen is when you daily choose to dethrone me and allow God to be King in every aspect of your life. We need to daily develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. This book - “Purely Satisfied” - will help you discover not only how to BE pure, but how to STAY pure.
If you have not yet subscribed to this Point of Purity Podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.
Please understand that your involvement in this program does not provide any guarantee on the part of Steve Etner, The Purity Coach or The Pure Man Ministry. In other words, we are coming alongside of you for the purpose of coaching you toward accountability and purity. I am not a professional counselor and I cannot guarantee you specified results. I am, however, a man who has been where you are and has seen God work in my life in a mighty way. This program is what changed me. And God has used this program to impact the hearts of countless men across the globe!
I'm here to encourage you, to challenge you, to pray with you, and to share with you what God has taught me. I look forward to coming alongside of you in this journey!