Guest Post: Solving Our Sin Problem by Ray Hawk

(Note: I’ve never met Ray Hawk in person, but I have read his writings for many years. I have enjoyed a good connection with him electronically and appreciate him for so many reasons. Ray is on staff at the Campbell Street Church of Christ in Jackson, TN. I think you’ll find something important and biblical to think about in all of his writings. jd)

SOLVING OUR SIN PROBLEM

If I stump my toe and curse and ask God to forgive me, if I am truly repentant, He will.  However, if later in the day, a person cuts me off in traffic, causing me to almost have a wreck, and I yell some obscenity at him, have I really repented earlier?  Haven’t I continued to engage in the same sin?  What if, when I arrive home I step on my child’s toy and fall down, uttering another curse word?  How can God not hold those sins against me?  Haven’t I CONTINUED in that sin from morning until evening?  If He doesn’t hold it against me, why can’t I continue in that weakness without repenting and praying each time?  May I continue in sin that grace may abound (Romans 6:1)?

Paul’s divine reply is, “No,” or “God forbid.”  Some of the Roman brethren had the idea that one could continue in sin without any consequences.  The problem most have with Paul’s writings is not knowing the difference between one time sins and continual ones. For example, if a person decides there is nothing wrong in using filthy language and that no repentance on his part is needed, he has made that his life style.

We all have weakness of “the flesh.”  Paul did (Romans 7:14-20).  The person who says he doesn’t is a liar (1 John 1:8,10).  Usually we bring bad habits with us when we enter the body of Christ.  In our attempts to change, we sometimes take one step forward and two back.  Discouraging?  Often.  Yet, God forgives us because He knows our hearts and sees our progress.  Slow?  Yes.  But, it is progress.

Does God know your heart?  Yes.  Most of us are like Paul in that we don’t want to do something because we hate it, but we do it anyway.  Didn’t God know Paul’s heart?  He had a sin problem for which law keeping offered no spiritual relief.  He admitted this problem by writing, “Sin . . . . produced in me EVERY KIND of COVETOUS DESIRE”  (Romans 7:8 NIV).  If someone responded for prayer Sunday morning and stated the above, wouldn’t curiosity make you wonder what those “covetous desires” were?  A preacher, of all people, having “every kind of covetous desire.”  My, my, my!  Yet, we are just as guilty as Paul.  Regardless of what our sin is, IT IS A PROBLEM.  Attempting to solve it by assuming you can get your answer through law keeping will only end with failure and discouragement.

Our problem with forgiveness is believing we must reach a level of perfection making us WORTHY IN OUR OWN RIGHTS to go to heaven. This “perfection doctrine” believes that each time we sin, we lose our salvation and are no longer “in Christ.”  Due to that loss, we must quickly repent, confess, and ask God’s forgiveness.  When we do, we leave Satan’s  darkness and get back into the light of the body of Christ.  Due to that view, God will not forgive and forget until we get out of the darkness our sin has produced.  In that teaching, one is lost until he escapes the darkness.  The “doctrine” has no assurance, little or no hope of entering heaven, and discourages folks into giving up (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; 2 Peter 2:19-22 TLB).  The moto becomes, “I’m going to hell anyway, I might as well enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

Such a view waters down the blood of Christ, demotes the grace of God, belittles Jesus’ as our sin sacrifice, and eliminates assurance, hope, and God’s peace.

In reading the book of Hebrews, we see a contrast drawn between the Old and New Testament systems.  Some think “grace” is not found in the Old Testament.  It is (Genesis 6:8).  One was not saved by law keeping in the Old, but by grace through faith.  Paul speaks of believing being from “faith to faith” and then quotes an Old Testament passage (Romans 1:16,17; Cf. Habakkuk 2:4).

The teaching that sin causes us to be catapulted out of the body of Christ back into Satan’s kingdom of darkness is not taught, even in the Old Testament.  Notice David’s sins.

  1. He had sex with another man’s wife (1 Kings 15:5).
  2. He attempted to cover his sin by bringing Uriah home to be with his wife.  That failed.
  3. He sent Uriah back with a letter to his commander.  They were to pull back from Uriah so he would be killed by the enemy.  He was.
  4. David takes Bathsheba as his wife.
  5. Nathan the prophet exposes David’s sin.

David then writes Psalm 51.  Notice the following statement by him.

“Cast me NOT AWAY from thy presence; and TAKE NOT thy holy spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).

In spite of his actions above, from 1 to 5, God has NOT yet cast David into the kingdom of darkness nor has He withdrawn His Spirit from him as He did with Saul.  In fact, notice what God says about David in 1 Kings 15.

“Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and TURNED NOT ASIDE FROM ANY THING THAT HE COMMANDED HIM ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE, save ONLY in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5).

Was David’s sin, in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, the ONLY TIME he engaged in such?  The answer is, “No.”  If he sinned at other times, why doesn’t God bring that up?  Because, even under that system, he did not hold those sins against David.  Since we live under a better system of grace, God extends the same blessing to us.  Why is that concept so hard to believe?  As long as we think we can be justified by keeping law perfectly, that biblical message will go unheeded.

If Paul recognized that his sin problem was not solved by living a perfect life under the law, why can’t we learn from him?  Here is Paul’s solution to the problem.

“So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature?  Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.  So there is NOW no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 7:24-25; 8:1 TLB).

 

You can find Ray Hawk on Facebook HERE.

Ray and Mary Nell Hawk
Ray and Mary Nell Hawk 

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