† How do we deal with sin?
We have seen that everyone sins, and we have seen that there are horrible consequences to sin, so how do we deal with this sin? There are two different ways in which we must deal with sin. First, we must repent and believe in Jesus so that we can be forgiven by God:
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When we repent and believe in Jesus he becomes our perfect substitute. He lived the perfect life that we were supposed to live, and he paid the penalty for sin which he was not guilty of:
1 Corinthians 5:20a-21: …we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Once an individual has put his faith in Jesus he has been forgiven of his sins and will not have to face eternal punishment. However, because all men are sinful by nature your sin does not go away after you turn to Jesus (Rom 7:14-25). So the second way we deal with sin is as a Christian. The bible outlines several steps that we must go through to properly deal with sin.
1. Recognition: through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Bible (John 16:7-11).
2. Confession: agreeing with the Holy Spirit and the bible that our actions were wrong (1 John 1:5-9)
3. Repentance: turning away from sin and obeying God out of love (Acts 3:19)
4. Restitution: as a part of repentance you must take responsibility for your sin and seek to make amends whenever possible (Ez 33:15-16)
5. Forgiveness: you must seek forgiveness from those against whom you have sinned, and you must give forgiveness to those who have sinned against you (Mk 11:25; Eph 4:32)
6. Reconciliation: once everything has been resolved you must now seek to rebuild the relationship (Matt 5:24)
† How do I stop committing a specific sin?
As we have already seen Christians continue to deal with sin in their life even after they have turned to Jesus for salvation. Often this struggle with sin occurs in the same area of life over and over despite repeated repentance (Rom 7:14ff).In addition to being frustrating, this continued sin can also be detrimental to an individual’s life and ministry.
It is not easy to overcome the affect of sin, particularly when it comes to habitual sins. However, the bible has several principles that aid Christians in their battle with sin.
1. We must repent.
It is important that we acknowledge our sin, and our desire to change. We must be willing to humble ourselves if we want God to give us the grace to overcome our sins (James 4:7-10).
2. We must have faith.
We must trust in Christ and the work that he has accomplished in our lives. We must depend on God and believe that we can change our sinful patterns based on God’s promises, faithfulness, and power (1 Cor 10:13).
3. We must change how we think.
In order to properly deal with sin we must seek to replace our sinful thoughts, motivations, and actions with God glorifying thoughts, motivations, and actions (Rom 12:1-2).
4. We must be practical.
We need to identify the specific areas in our life that are leading us into temptation, and identify god-glorifying replacements (Eph 4:28-32). We must also identify God given resources for battling sin (i.e. the bible, prayer, Holy Spirit, the Church, spiritual leadership, friends, books, parents, etc.) and strategically use those resources to our advantage (2 Tim 3:16).
5. We must be disciplined.
After we have developed a practical plan we must be disciplined to implement that plan (i.e. actually sit down and study your bible!).
6. We must persevere.
As long as we are on this earth, in these bodies, there will always be temptation. We must persevere until the Lord comes back or we go to Him (Heb 12:1-3).