When we are born, we are immediately subjected to two malevolent influences. The first of these is our sin nature. Our bodies are born into a world under God’s curse and every idea that we have naturally, is sin.
We like to think of sin as a list of bad things, like cussing, gambling or getting drunk, but that is a superficial understanding. Sin isn’t defined by the things that we do. Sin is defined by the heart that our behavior comes from. So, we are always in sin when we are acting out of our natural, me first, heart. Here is a simple verse that has helped me get my head around this: “everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)
You can only get this verse if you dwell on it a long time—although you guys may be much quicker in the brain that I am.
The other force working against us, also related to the curse, is Satan and his demonic forces. He has been given temporary authority over the earth and desires to affect everything that we do. Here is a verse about this: “. . . the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
We are in the habit of listening to these two influencers from this world. We listen to:
- What our curse-influenced brain tells us
- What our curse-influenced emotions tell us
- What our curse-influenced hormones tell us
- What our curse-influenced instincts tell us
- What curse-influenced others tell us
- What curse-influenced others model for us
- What spiritual opponents of God tell us
- What spiritual opponents of God show us
Children of God are still subjected to these influences, although the degree of influence diminishes as we mature in Christ. This is because we hear and respond to a new influence, the voice of Jesus, always providing solutions that are helpful to you, always interacting with you out of love, always leading you in a way that is for your good.
Main point: Despite the fact that no sins are held against us by God, disciples of Jesus desire to reject the above influences and have hearts that live by faith.
So what: Only a life lived by faith will result in earthly and heavenly rewards, and only a life lived by faith has the potential to impact the world for eternity.
I really like this post. I especially like Romans 14:23 and the true nature of sin. I also like this ” Sin isn’t defined by the things that we do. Sin is defined by the heart that our behavior comes from. So, we are always in sin when we are acting out of our natural, me first, heart.” I think sometimes we get too hung up on the “thou shalt nots” and overlook the “love you neighbor as yourself” command. As James 4:17 notes: “to him who knows to good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
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That verse from James is great. Thanks for adding that.