This blog is the first in a series of posts that will follow up to Pastor Monty's Sunday sermon series, "Faithful Living in a Fallen World". You can listen to this sermon here.
One of the key truths Pastor Monty pointed out this past Sunday was drawing out the truth of why we sin. He said we are not sinners because we sin…we sin because we are sinners. And the distinction between these two similar sayings makes all the difference in the world when it comes to confronting and experiencing victory over sin in our lives.
If we are sinners because we sin, that leaves the burden of not sinning entirely on us. It leaves us needing to try harder, do better, and utilize whatever self-help resource we can find. But if you have ever tried harder, tried to be better, or read the latest self-help book you know these things will not provide you with a solution! As believers we must approach our sin problem with an understanding that we sin because we are sinners – that is our spiritual condition. It is a result of the sin nature that has been passed down to us from Adam and Eve.
It is this sin nature that results in our being sinners. The bad news is there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to remove this sin nature from our being. And this bad news is what makes the Good News of the Gospel such Good News!
Jesus came to solve our sin nature problem. 1 Corinthians tells us,“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (vv. 15:21-22).”
We are sinners because of Adam’s sin, but we can be forgiven because of Jesus Christ’s perfection. Jesus’ sinless life—his perfect righteousness—is accredited to us by faith in His life, death, burial, and resurrection. So when God the Father looks at your life (if you have placed your faith in the finished work of Jesus) He sees the perfect righteousness of Jesus and not your imperfect life.
So if God only sees Jesus’ perfection, does it matter how I live as a believer?
This is the very question the Apostle John was answering in this passage. The Gnostics were saying what people did in the flesh did not matter. How they lived did not matter. As Pastor Monty pointed out, John rejected this kind of thinking. So if it does matter how we live as believers and we can’t overcome the sin nature we have inherited, what are we to do? How can we overcome sin in our lives?
We will never reach sinless perfection this side of eternity, but we must continue striving for that goal. As we grow and mature in our faith we should sin less and less. One of the keys to our growth as believers is we must preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. Most days this will need to occur multiple times a day. When we are tempted to sin we must think about and meditate on this truth: that Jesus lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and was raised victoriously defeating hell, death, and the grave.
So our choice is not just do I commit this sin our not, but which is more satisfying to my soul – this sin or this glorious Gospel truth?
Sin can feel satisfying for a moment but the beautiful truth of the Gospel will satisfy for eternity! When tempted to sin – preach the Gospel to yourself and let the power of the Gospel drive the temptation away. The satisfaction of sin is only temporary and ultimately leaves us feeling dirty, guilty, and defeated, but the Gospel demonstrates the power of God’s love for us in the finished work of Christ!
The answer to dealing with sin in our lives is never to try harder. We deal with our sin by remembering the Gospel and allowing it to do its powerful work in our lives. So when temptation comes our way – and it will – preach! Preach the Good News to your soul and find true satisfaction in what Jesus has done for all who believe.
Hear more about how we can grow in our understanding of the Gospel in this short sermon clip from Pastor C.J. Mahaney.