There was a time before I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when sin was my complete master. Not only was I a slave to behaviors and attitudes which ruined my life and my relationships with others, but I was also under the wrath of God and was condemned because of my sins and transgressions. But in the miracle of conversion and in the hearing and accepting of the gospel of Christ, I was delivered from my slavery to sin and was forgiven because of the death of Christ on the cross. By faith I was made new and the condemnation and the judgment which had crushed me under their hellish weight were removed. I was reconciled to God and knew peace with Him.
After my conversion, it came as somewhat of a surprise to me to realize that my sins had not disappeared upon my profession of faith in Christ. In fact, now that the Holy Spirit was resident inside me, I often felt the sting of conviction (John 16:9), realizing that there were many sins which still indwelt me. It was evident that the habits and the misbehaviors of my unsaved past did not vanish like a mist once Christ had become my King (Romans 7:14-25). But slowly I began to experience the beauty of sanctification, which is that process of growing in practical holiness that comes through conviction and confession and repentance and that proves that my conversion is real and that my salvation is genuine. Slowly, step-by-step I am walking more and more like Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).
But the point I want to make is this: My relationship to sin has been dramatically changed. Before my conversion, sin was my master, in that it controlled my thoughts, words and behavior, and sin was my death, because my sin condemned me before God. Now, however, Christ has paid the penalty for my sins and He has broken sin’s mastery over my life and set me free (John 8:36). Sin’s terrifying penalty has been removed because God’s wrath for my sin has been satisfied in Christ. Now the sins that used to be so enjoyable to me when I was an unbeliever are the very sins that I hate.
But also in my walk with Christ, sin has taken on a new role. Sin is now that which distracts me from wholly pursuing the things of Christ. My sin now burdens me and it hinders me from accomplishing all that I would like to accomplish for the Lord. I am seeing that my sins are truly those things that act as spiritual and relational weights in my life and it is those things that so easily entangle me and prevent me from running my race with endurance (Hebrews 12:1). The Holy Spirit now convicts me of the sin of judging other people, which is an immense relational weight and which hinders me from loving others and from having compassion on them and hinders me from reaching out to an unbeliever so that I can be their friend and share Christ with them. Sins of coveting what others have and of comparing myself with others create great burdens that poison relationships and that form stumbling blocks in my service to others and to Christ. Instead of serving others and encouraging others and speaking the truth to others, I am preoccupied with my own status and my own little world. These are examples of how sin acts as a burden, as a weight, as something that entangles and inhibits our service to Christ and blurs the brilliance of His glory in our lives.
So be alert so that you can lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles, and so that you can run free with Christ and be unhindered in your usefulness to Him.
SDG rmb 12/15/2017