I didn’t know I was a sin addict until I tried to stop!
That’s simple enough. Don’t do bad things, don’t make God mad — just maybe you can avoid eternal damnation. I’ve tried to stop sinning. But it ain’t that easy. I grew up appreciating the fact that Jesus was a good role model. He was sinless. My task was to follow His example and try not to sin. But the older I became the tougher and tougher it was to not sin. I became frustrated by the notion that I could be like Jesus.
I had (have) a sin addiction. Oh, I’ve tried to stop. I’ve tried going cold-turkey and I’ve attended a LOT of meetings with other addicts. We’ve confessed, regressed, and professed. It’s not that I enjoy sinning (well, as much as I used to), it’s just easy. It just comes so naturally.
Now, I’m not talking about the easy-cheezy sins such as R-rated movies, cussing, drinking beer, or wearing a fanny pack. I’m not talking about the hard core sins — murdering, adultery, stealing, and sports talk radio. What I am addressing is that which Jesus addressed, and if you read his story carefully, you’ll find that He was always addressing matters of the heart. (A brief thought — when Jesus said, You guys think it’s enough that you don’t murder, what I’m say is that you should let that unloving attitude take root in your heart, you see, that’s where the idea begins.) *See the Sermon on the Mt., Matthew 5.
You can trust me to write an article on sin. I am an expert. I’ve been doing it my whole life. Once upon a time I read a book and the book was about how to write a book. Chapter 5 of that book gave me this sparkling bit of advice, “Write What You Know.” Therefore, over the coming weeks I’m going to write about what I know best; I’m writing about sin. Non-sinners should stop reading at this point. The rest of this post is written for my people, sinners.
Chapter One- The Seven Deadly Sins
Let’s look at the Big Boys, the foundational sins. You might be surprised to learn that these sins are glossed over in most denominational circles, but they are not neglected in Scripture. The seven deadly sins are called the capital sins. Why? Because they destroy the charity in a man’s heart. The Gospel offers this — They will know we are followers of Christ by the way we love. (John 13:35) In fact, the Bible even teaches that loves covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). The attribute of love is sort of a big deal.
To remove the stain of sin from our hearts, we must become consumed with the love of Jesus Christ. A heart filled with charity, by the grace of Christ, is a heart that falls out of love with sin.
Those Deadly Sins
PRIDE – the excessive embrace of one’s own strength and capability. It will interfere with one’s need to recognize the grace of God. It is ego, the self on the throne and perhaps is the sin from which all others arise.
ENVY – pining for the traits, status, abilities, or circumstances of others.
GLUTTONY – consuming more than necessary.
LUST – uncontrolled craving for pleasures of the body.
ANGER – choosing to disregard love and defer to the irritable self.
SLOTH – spiritually, emotionally, physically neglectful; careless and passive.
GREED – ignoring the Kingdom of God and the true wealth of His treasures; allowing the desire for personal gain and the material to utterly distract a person from love (charity).
Don’t get me wrong. As a lifelong sinner I have not conceded to the power of sin. In fact, I have become very optimistic about my future. I have experienced God’s grace breaking into my soul. His grace saves me from sin and ugliness that I could never overcome on my own. I tried being religious and that was a train wreck. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that I am accepted by God, not because I follow Christ’s example, but because I have a Helper; I have an Advocate who is changing my heart.
What matters is not my goodness, but the wonder and beauty of Jesus Christ. Every day I fall more deeply in love with Jesus and my natural inclination toward self-aggrandizement gives way to humility. For some strange reason those seven deadly sins lose their place in my heart. I am excited that the Gospel causes me to shout, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.
Romans 8 1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.