So what do we do with those pesky habitual sins? I think one has to look no further than the Book of Romans for some timely words of wisdom.
In Romans 6:1-2, Paul offers the premise of the believer’s attitude toward sin. “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2, NLT). Evidently the recipients of Paul’s letter were challenged by a false approach to grace. Some in their community of faith believed that if God’s grace was made available to them when they sinned, then logically the more they sinned, the more grace they could receive. Paul replied, “Not so fast,” which is 21st century speak for “God forbid! (KJV).”
If we’re going to appropriately respond to chronic patterns of sin in our lives, we have to begin with the premise that God’s plan is for his children to not sin. Some faith traditions believe that Christians can attain sinless perfection. I personally have not seen any place in the Bible that says we can become sinless. But I do think Christians should sin less.
I’m troubled any time I hear someone define themselves by their sin. I’m writing about those who wear their challenges as a label that has become their identity. The problem with that is that your identity is not your sin…any sin…no matter how deep or dark. Your identity is that you are a child of God, redeemed by his grace and made new. In Christ we are new creations. The old stuff is dead and everything is made new.
Sin, therefore, for the believer, is an act inconsistent with his or her character, nature, and identity. Understanding who we are in Christ is the first step in dealing with our sin. Tomorrow I’ll offer the second step in Paul’s progression from Romans. In the meantime, spend some time thinking about your nature and character in Christ. Your true identity is that you are a child of God.