Saturday, March 28, 2015

It's Never An Advantage

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that gave may abound?” – Romans 6:1

Sin is never an advantage. From the time it entered the world, death has come in its wake (Rom. 5:12). God hates it, and so should we. Grace can outdo and surpass it every time (Rom. 5:20); but in the meantime, it will hide the face of God (Isa. 59:2). Those who are tempted to see a redeeming quality in redeemable sins did not die out in the New Testament church, I fear. In any case….

1) Sin is never an advantage to God. These people in Paul’s day reasoned that the more they sinned, the more God’s grace was exhibited, which had to be a good thing. After all, it made Him look even more powerful, right? Wrong! Or as Paul says it, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2)  Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil,” not just clean up after him (1 John 3:8). One of the great truths of the book of Romans is that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ not only made a way of forgiveness for sin but also a means of overcoming it in our lives. We will never be sinless as long as we are in these bodies, but we can sin less. And obedience trumps forgiveness every time.

2) Sin is never an advantage to us. We should never have the mistaken idea that God lets us sin to knock us off our high horses and show us who we really are. Sin may (or may not) do that, but God wasn’t the initiator of our sin. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13).  When David sinned with Bathsheba, he didn’t accuse God of putting her within his view. He knew the problem was his heart, not his location. (Read Psalm 51).  If you live within the pages of Holy Writ and allow the Spirit of God to shine His searchlight on your heart regularly, you won’t have to look for sin to show you just who and what you are. Sin has not, nor ever will, do anything good for you.

3) Sin is never an advantage to others. You may disagree with me — and that would be all right — but I feel that in depth sharing of past sins is not only a disadvantage to the speaker but also to those who hear. This is especially true when the person giving testimony is someone to be admired now. There is a great temptation for the hearer to consciously or unconsciously move the sin from the minus to the plus column. It may be argued that it can be used to give hope to someone involved in that particular sin, and I agree with this, especially on a one-to-one basis or on special occasions. I thank God for those willing to give Him the glory for forgiveness and restoration in their lives and to share that with others. I think perhaps my greatest hesitance would be with those who might think God let them fall into sin to be a blessing to others. I’m sure we all would agree that our sin hurts far more than helps people.

         No, sin is never an advantage to anyone. If that were not true, then living for God for a lifetime is not something to be expected or even anticipated. I don’t believe that. I believe that when I sin, I didn’t have to; and I believe it brings shame on both God and me. I pray to God I will never see it as an advantage.

“First we practice sin, then defend it, then boast of it.” – Thomas Manton

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