Sin is Painful
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Sin is very painful. Sin separates us from God. It alienates us from other people. It affects us both spiritually and physically. There is no upside or benefit to sin.
As I look back over my own life I am awed by the grace of God and His forgiveness in my life, how He has changed me and cleansed me from my sin and redeemed me by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I rejoice in all that God has done for me.
The Christian life is one of change, and also a striving to get rid of the sin that clings so tightly to us. Sanctification takes place as the Holy Spirit molds us more and more into the image of Christ. That change is painful. Repentance is often hard. God has shown me my sin in many ways and helped me to repent and turn from it, but that doesn’t mean that it is an easy or painless process.
As God took our family through a time of reformation in our theology several years ago, I had to repent of teaching false doctrine for almost two decades of ministry. It was extremely painful. I lost friends who didn’t understand why I no longer believed those same things any longer. Although I sought to be at peace with all and to lovingly serve my brothers who might disagree with me, it was difficult to leave behind all that was familiar and comfortable and, in many ways, start over.
When I became convicted that I was not honoring the Sabbath as God’s Word taught, it was a painful change. To change my habits on the Lord’s Day which focused on me and my desires was not easy. Many weeks it still is not easy because I am selfish and sinful. Even though I have worked to develop new habits, I have to make efforts each week to better keep the entire day holy and to love my neighbor enough to make sure that I am not causing him to work and sin on the Sabbath.
Today as I write this I am reminded of the pain of my sin… physically. God in His Providence is using my son’s desire to join the Coast Guard to help my family and I deal with a neglect of treating our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. In an effort to help my son we joined a Gym this week. Melissa and I have been walking almost daily for about a year and a half but it is time to step it up a little and strive to be more diligent and focused. That means another attempt at a change in lifestyle. It is not easy. And today as I feel my sore muscles (which I forgot I even had) it is painful. Repentance is hard, but it is necessary. I ask you to pray for us as we seek better habits in our family. And that we might be diligent and that we might honor God with our bodies and that we would learn how to be consistent.
I am sure there will be many times in this new endeavor that I will fail, as I have and will continue to fail in other areas of sanctification in my life. But I do not put my trust in myself or my own efforts at success. I rest in God’s grace. The One who sees my sinful heart and my imperfect attempts at sanctification and shows me grace and forgiveness where I deserve none. That is what motivates me to strive to run the race of faith.
Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”