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Sin ManagementOctober 12, 2023
A man woke up one morning deeply repentant after a bitter fight with his wife the previous night. He noticed, with dismay, the crate of beer bottles that had caused the fight. He took it outside and started smashing the empty bottles, one by one, onto the wall. He smashed the first bottle swearing, “you are the reason I fight with my wife”. He smashed the second bottle, “you are the reason I don’t love my children”. He smashed the third bottle, “you are the reason I don’t have a decent job”. When he took the fourth bottle, he realized that the bottle was still sealed and was full. He hesitated, for only a moment, and then said, “You stand aside, I know you were not involved”.
That is what I call managing sin. We don’t really want to change any more than we have to. Many of our worst sins are very pleasurable: gluttony, lust, gambling, drinking. The Bible challenges us to really want to repent, that is, turn away from our sins. We are to desire a more holy lifestyle. Not so we can show others how holy we are, but so that we can glorify God.
According to Hollywood and Disney, this way of thinking goes against our culture as well as the gospels. They teach us that we are really pretty good people, we just do bad stuff every now and then, and, since we are not nearly as bad as others, God will just forgive us because God loves everyone. We hear phrases like, “Follow your heart and everything will be OK.” “There are no absolute truths.” “Everyone is basically good, and so we are all going to heaven.”
There is no source of authority for any of those beliefs. It just makes people feel good to believe them. The Bible doesn’t teach any of those things. The Bible says things like, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5). In Romans 3:23 we read, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The first thing Jesus taught when he began his ministry was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2).
John Wesley, an evangelist in early America, often rode from one church to another to preach. On one such journey, he was stopped by a robber who shouted, “Halt, your money or your life.” Wesley got down from his horse, emptied his pockets to reveal only a handful of coins. He even invited the robber to search his saddlebags, which only carried his books. In disgust, the thief was turning away when John Wesley cried, “Stop, I have something more to give you. My friend, you may live to regret this sort of life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin.’”
The robber hurried silently away, but Wesley got back on his horse and as he rode, he prayed for a change of heart in that robber. Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service, a stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with John Wesley. Wesley recognized him as the robber, but now he was a well-to-do tradesman, and, better still, a believer in Jesus Christ. Raising Wesley’s hand to his lips he affectionately kissed it and said, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.”
Wesley replied softly, “Nay, nay, my friend, not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin.”
C.S. Lewis said, “A Christian is not one who never does wrong, but one who is enabled to repent and begin over again after each stumble – because of the inner working of Christ.”
Is there a sin that you enjoy, but you know brings bad consequences to your life? Do you find yourself lying and cheating to protect your right to do that sin? Have you tried to quit, but you just keep falling back into the same traps and gateways? Have you lifted it up to God and asked God to show you how to have the victory over that/those sins? Find out what people through the ages have all learned, through the power of cleansing blood of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and free from our sins. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.com).