Sin and Sensibility
The sinning Christian must have a proper perspective about his sins against God. Although sin separates man from God, nothing can separate the saint from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:35–39). This is good news, but it should not be abused, as the Antinomian purports (Rom 5:20).
The Law of God ever exposes our sins, but the Gospel comforts the believer. Still, sin must be taken very seriously because God is offended by every sin committed, by both believers and unbelievers. In this, the sinning Christian is more grievous because of his position in Christ and the grace given to him.
The indwelling Holy Spirit guides the regenerate into all truth (Jn 14:17; 16:13). The spiritual man (1 Cor 2:15) remains in the flesh, and the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41). The flesh and the Spirit are at odds with one another (Gal 5:17). There are dark seasons for the Christian where sin seems to abound.
With God offended, the Christian will sense the displeasure of the Almighty, his God and Father. The pleasures of sin may win the day or the whole season. The saint will register the discord. You know when someone is not happy with you.
The prospect of this threat should terrify the Christian because of the consequences of his offending Love. The name of Christ is blighted by the believer’s transgression. Christ is beautiful, and God’s plan for the sanctification of His people is that we should be conformed to His image (Rom 8:29). It is expected that the children of the devil will sin against God (Rom 3:23; 1 Jn 3:10), but it is a shame for the child of God to serve as an affront to his own Father, who is holy.
The effect of sin, especially public sin, for the Christian, is a heavy guilt. This is the guilt of death brought on by the perpetrator of death, which is sin. Whereas sin sears the conscience of sinners, the Christian is made to feel the ramifications of the offense and its effect.
There is only one release from the guilty conscience; it is the prayer of confession. John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9).” We can only plead the blood of Christ, as the answer to all our sins, and this blood is the cleaning agent for the guilty conscience (Heb 9:14).
The Holy Spirit is our Helper in these matters because His peace-giving presence is crucial to our well-being. The retraction of the sense of His presence will get the sinning saint’s attention. David felt this when he prayed, “Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me (Ps 51:11).”
Sin will cause the Christian’s faith to waver. He may suddenly have concern about his status as a Christian, “Am I a fake, an imposter? Am I really saved?” The unbeliever never entertains these concerns, which helps the Christian, when examining himself to see that he is in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). The Holy Spirit returns as the Comforter, even as He issues grace unto repentance (Jn 14:26; Acts 5:31; 11:18).
When faith fails, one knows the retreat of the Spirit because it is the Spirit that gives the Christian faith as a gift (Phil 1:29). It is also the Spirit who produces faithfulness as a spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22).
Faith is a marvelous barometer of the level of grace currently at work in the saint, by the Spirit. God strengthened Noah to build the ark, which was a wonderful display of that man’s faith (Gen 6–9). Joshua had the same grace and faith at Jericho. David had it with Goliath. When the faith of the Christian is lessened by sin, his strength is sapped. He is as helpless as Israel, at the failed conquest of Ai. Is there sin in your camp?
All of this is captured by the sense of God the Father’s displeasure. Losing the sense of favor with God is terribly unsettling for the adopted child. Thoughts of abandonment or relegation to a place of exile trouble the child’s mind. The heavy hand of God has its powerful effect. God is no indulgent Father. He disciplines His children in love (Heb 12:4–11).
As warring spouses retreat to their respective rooms in the house, so the Holy Spirit withdrawals without leaving the heart of His beloved (Heb 13:5). Reconciliation is assured because the grace of the Holy Spirit is greater than all our sins. Sweet communion has paved the way for sweet reunion. The child must repent, and there is grace for repentance.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is death (Prv 14:12; 16:25). There is a way that is right to God, and His name is Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6). With the Spirit of Christ, in permanent abode, the Christian is assured of correction, discipline, even rebuke. Sin may win the day or season, but grace wins the war.
As God works our seasons of sin for our good (Rom 8:28), we are able to see our helplessness apart from Christ (Jn 15:5). Every moment of everyday, it should be our prerogative to ensure our peaceful communion with the Lover of our souls. Are you at peace with God?
Christian, your Father is omniscient. He knows your thoughts, words, and future intentions. You cannot work without Him. Acknowledge God in prayer, without ceasing, and be sure to humble yourself before Him in deep confession, for your sins are more voluminous and far more heinous than you could ever think or imagine. Remember Paul’s sentiment in these matters, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11–12).” Therefore, let us be sensible about our sins.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 22, 2022