Category Archives: Dan’s Blog

Dealing with Sin in a Whole New Way

What is sin? I’ve often heard sin defined as missing the mark, as if one were missing a target he is aiming at. Those whose lives are centered on sin not only offend God, but utterly miss the precious gift of His eternal purpose. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness. And It makes perfectly clear what the sins of the flesh are—often warning that those corrupted by a lifestyle of sin have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
        But we see in Scripture conflicting opinions about what causes sin, and thus its remedy. The Jewish leaders viewed sin as being the product of a person’s outward behavior. So they attempted to manage sin through a system of rules which grew more and more burdensome as time went by. Jesus, on the other hand, realized that sin is rooted in man’s heart. God was about to deal with the problem of sin in a whole new way.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Dead to Sin? Not Feelin’ It!

God has provided the remedy for all our sin—past, present and future. But even so, it’s obvious that He intends for us to be holy, and thus commands us not to sin. So how is it that He can overlook the sin that so easily flows from our nature?
        Even though we know that through grace God forgives our sin, we need a better understanding of Christ’s provision. It’s important, because a complete awareness of both our human condition and how we now relate to our Creator is the key to walking in the total freedom God always meant for us to experience.
        God forgives our sin through Christ as a free gift. Yet even more important to understand is that this free gift of forgiveness and righteousness is rooted in the fact that He has caused us to die to sin altogether. But just exactly what does dying to sin mean? I don’t feel very dead to sin!

In the Spirit, not the Flesh

The Bible says that God’s law obligates us to obey it completely. But God knows there is no way that we can do that. And since the punishment for failing to obey is separation from God, He had to provide a way to overcome this barrier. God’s solution was to simply release us from the requirements of the law. Freedom from law means that punishment for breaking it is no longer charged against us.
In Christ we are no longer subject to the realm of the flesh, even though our flesh continues to oppress us. Romans 8 says: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Unbelievable as it may seem: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Moral Awareness at Our Core

Scripture tells us that God is righteous. We commonly define righteousness as being in right standing with God. But what does it mean for God to be righteous? It would be silly to think that He achieved a moral excellence that allowed Him to be good enough to be God. No, God doesn’t need to meet a standard of righteousness; He is that standard. God’s righteousness means that He is by nature the essence of all that is good and just.
        Now since God’s righteousness is the benchmark by which He will ultimately judge the world, He had to provide mankind with the means to relate to His perfection. He revealed that standard through law. Law gives us our sense of right and wrong—a moral awareness at the very core of our being. This is why a good understanding of biblical law is so important. It helps us appreciate God’s amazing provision for our own righteousness.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Slaves Purchased to be Set Free

Why did God allow us to be born into a world of sin? The only possible outcome of life here is enslavement to sin. Still, human existence is an incredible gift of God, since It gives us the opportunity for intimacy with Him—all culminating in a personal joining with God eternally.
        God’s justice demanded that something be done about sin. That’s why Jesus came as a man to take our sins upon Himself through His suffering and death. This radical step was equitable in God’s eyes because it allowed God to credit us with His own righteousness, thus paving the way for relationship with Him. It was the only answer to our tainted human condition.
        Crediting us with His righteousness is the very foundation of God’s redemptive plan in bringing “many sons to glory.” Our redemption means that God has purchased us, much like one would buy a slave for the purpose of setting him free.

Battling our Flesh Demands Choice

God wants good for us while here on earth, but His plan revolves around our union with Him later. His purpose is fulfilled only as we receive Christ, and then enter into a lifelong pursuit of God, in spite of our bent toward choosing self in place of Him. This is why God allows sin such power in our decision-making. Our ongoing battle with the flesh, as we’re relentlessly confronted by a world steeped in sin, boils down to just one thing: radical choice—decision with real meaning.
        But how could a good God give evil the right to exist at all, much less allow it to have such destructive power over us? Again, choice is the answer to this age-old question. In His eternal wisdom, God ordained that His children choose Him freely. And the more difficult the choice, the better He seems to like it. It makes the value we place on Him all the more meaningful.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

God Rebuilding Our Character

Trying to control our flesh through an external system of do’s and don’ts will not change our behavior. True change is only possible when a vibrant connection to the Spirit of God brings about a deep rebuilding of our character.
        Only through God’s indwelling presence can our conscience ever become healthy. Our conscience has tremendous influence on the will, which in turn guides the thoughts and feelings of our mind. It directs our actions from within—standing firm no matter what we find facing us.
        A lifestyle of communing with God is the key to transformation. Vibrancy in any relationship comes as the result of intimacy—it has to be real; it must be alive! What’s really awesome is that when we get close to God we can expect to grow into all He has planned for us. And yet we so often stubbornly refuse it. Why is that? It’s because we’re all wrapped up in ourselves.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Yourself or Your “cell-f”?

The Bible describes our membership in Christ’s body as being like our own body parts—an eye or a hand, for instance. This gives us an idea of how important it is to function together as a whole. But let’s change our perspective a little: reduce your position to the level of a cell in the body. Immediately your sense of self-importance diminishes a bit, doesn’t it.
        Yet think how vital each cell is to a healthy organism. If that cell dies or becomes malignant it ceases to be useful, or may even become destructive. So it is with us as members of Jesus’ body. Though you may not think of yourself as much, you are essential to the wellbeing of the whole. How could the eye or the hand begin to exist without all those cells working together? And where would Christ’s church be without a vibrant and healthy you?

The “Jesus App”

Our smart phones have become indispensable to us, both for communication and information. When we find a great app we immediately download it; the most important ones go right there on the front page. We tend to do the same with Jesus. We know relationship with God is super important, and thus give Him priority over most other things. Yet still we demote Him to sort of “app” status—someone we go to the minute we have a need.
        It’s not surprising that we’re a bit confused, since inviting Christ into our life has become the centerpiece of today’s evangelism. Look at it from this perspective: What really happens is not accepting Jesus into our life, but that He is allowing us to share in His! He needs to be more to us than something merely added to our life. Jesus is more than an app; He’s the operating system itself!

Ignore Symptoms; Attack the Disease!

While trying to change our behavior by disciplining the body has some value, it ultimately never produces the desired result. This is because it merely treats the symptoms—not the disease itself. And not only that, it leads to heaping on a load of guilt when it fails to work. By its very nature, this strategy is doomed to failure because it simply bucks God’s design. His life flows not from the works of the flesh, but from the Spirit of God surging through our spirit.
        The same goes for depending on our intellect. But doesn’t gaining more knowledge about God mean that our heart will change in the process? To some degree it does. Sure it’s important, but that’s not what we need most! God’s strategy is centered on our opportunity to commune with Him. Genuine change in our heart results from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit bringing our spirit alive to Him.