Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
Dealing with Sin
The writer of the book of Hebrews writes, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." (Heb. 12:1-2a). This passage is rich in theology and practical theology at that. By "practical" I mean the passage is easily broken down into easily understood principles for running the race known as the Christian life. The three principals here are (1) Focus on the Saints - "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us," (2) Focus on Self - "let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us," and (3) Focus on the Savior - "fixing our eyes on Jesus..." It is the second principle -- Focus on Self--that I want to consider in this blog entry. Primarily, I want to focus in on the part of the passage that tells us to deal with sin.
How do we deal with sin? I believe there are three principles drawn from the Scriptures that show us how to deal with sin--and they are all wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. After all, He did come to set us free from sin -- specifically the power of sin. One day soon He will return again, this time to set us free from the very presence of sin. But until that day we must take an active roll in dealing with sin. I say "active role" because nearly every passage of Scripture that speaks of dealing with sin is in the Active Voice in the Greek, meaning we are to take an active role. So what are these three principles for dealing with sin? They are, (1) Confront it, (2) Confess it, and (3) Crucify it. Let's consider each.
First of all, when it comes to dealing with known sin in my life (including the secret sin only God and I know about), I must confront it. Psalm 32:5a says, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide." Here, David confronts his sin head on. He recognizes his sin is a heinous affront to God. Is there sin in your life that you are trying your best to ignore or rationalize away as something about which God isn't all that concerned? Well, the first step to dealing with it is to confront it--to acknowledge it.
Secondly, I must confess it. Once I have confronted my sin--acknowledged the fact I have sinned and recognized it to be an affront to a holy God--I must confess it. Psalm 32:5b says, "I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.'" In 1 John 1:9, we find similar words, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The Greek word for 'confess' means to agree with God about my sin, or more literally, "to say the same thing as." This is not some passive kind of confession but an agreement with God about what He says about my sin. This is why we shouldn't get too wrapped up in confessing the sins we don't know. If I deal with the sin I do know about, the passages says He will "cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So confess the sins you do know, agreeing with God about those sins, and He will forgive not only those sins but even the ones you know nothing about!
Finally, I must crucify my sin--that is, I must put it to death. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians (and us), "Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin... Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:6-7, 11). A couple chapters later he writes, "So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Rom. 8:12-13). Paul's point--I am dead to sin, therefore put sin to death--CRUCIFY IT!!!
By the way, this blog entry is taken from my sermon on Hebrews 12:1-4, "Renew the Passion: Be In It to Win It." It is a part of my Renew the Passion Series, and you can listen to it in its entirety by visiting my sermon resource page or by clicking here
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