“That’s NOT the Question”
As believers in Christ, we yearn to live a Spirit filled abundant life. Our soul within hungers to know God and live in harmony with Him. As we live out the Christian life, God reveals life-transforming truths to us in our quiet times, prayer, through other believers, interactive small groups, the pulpit etc. We mature and grow in Grace over time. Growing in Grace is a lifelong process of a believer learning truth, taking a step of faith in that truth, and allowing Christ to be manifested through us after resting in that truth. We must allow Him to work out all things. This is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ. This is the biblical doctrine of Sanctification, being set apart and growing into Grace. Our growing in Grace is all in God’s timing. Most of us, early on, search the scriptures to understand what a sin is, or what a sin isn’t because we want to be holy.
Many sins described in the scriptures are clearly defined as being right or wrong. For example, it is clear from scripture that stealing is wrong and a sin. Some behaviors or actions aren’t addressed in the Bible as being a sin or not being a sin; I call this the gray area. To some it might be a sin; to others it might not a sin. The potential sin gray area is based on your personal conviction. To play it safe, if you aren’t sure if an action is right or wrong, don’t engage in the activity. Scripture addresses the fact that your convictions (gray area) may be different from other believers. If it’s different, scripture warns not to put a stumbling block in front of another believer. Or better said, don’t try to convince him that he is right or wrong about your personal convictions (gray area). That’s not your duty or job; it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to teach the individual Spirit to spirit. What’s okay for him might not be okay for you, and what’s okay for you, might not be okay for him. Let the Holy Spirit work this out. If you ever get into heated debate with another believer about personal convictions, its best to just agree to disagree.
Once we define what is a sin (clearly taught from Scripture and personal convictions) we start trying not to sin. As believers we start to devise methods to stop sinning. Because of our humanistic pre-programming, we try to do this by self-effort and Old Covenant law based living of do’s and don’ts. This is a losing battle by God’s design. If self-effort actually worked, we wouldn’t need Christ as our source of dependence and life. So our humanistic efforts will always keep failing. Even Paul in Romans chapter 7 experienced this. We end up praying to God for victory in the area of our sin. There might be a small temporary measure of victory by one trying to manage their flesh, but this is fleeting. You want to know why? It’s because when we pray we are asking God for the wrong thing. We should be praying and asking this question instead:
Why am I Sinning?
I have been a believer for 25 years, and rarely ever have I heard Christian Pastors and leaders put forth this question. Sin in most cases is blatantly obvious. Our prayers should address the core reason of why we sin, instead of just praying to stop the sin. The question of why is what gets to the core of the issue. To sin or not to sin isn’t the question; the question is “Why am I Sinning?” We can try to treat the symptom, but we really should be dealing with the cause. To root out the cause, we need to ask why? Dealing with the cause, identifying the reason, uncovering the error, taking a step of faith in the area, resting in truth, and watching God work out all things leads to a Spirit filled life. When we are walking in the Spirit, we don’t carry out the desires of the Flesh. No more sin. Why don’t we just ask God the question of Why?
Romans 14:23 b (NASB)
23 whatever is not from faith is sin.
When we sin, we aren’t taking a step of faith in truths and promises God gives us from His Word. I have found 3 general areas many believers aren’t taking steps of faith and resting in that is producing the most devastating sins. The first area is believer’s not understanding their new identity “In Christ” (Who the Bible says we are after being born again). The second area is believer’s trying to get their needs of love, acceptance, value and worth met by other people and things, instead of Christ. The third area is believer’s trying to control life and not resting in God’s total sovereignty.
To go into a more in depth discussion of these 3 areas would take several more blogs. Check this blog going forward for more info. But in the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about what was discussed in this blog, please contact Grace Christian Church, or visit any Sunday for a worship service. All are welcome.
In Him, Rob Parlante
Elder / Grace Christian Church