Nobody likes to be around someone who cheats. Whether playing a game or taking a test, cheating isn’t right. It especially isn’t right when you cheat on God.
Is that possible? Yes, it’s very possible, and Christians do it all the time. At some point, every Christian realized that sin ruled their life. When you realized that truth, you repented and asked Christ to forgive your sin. Repent means to change your mind about sin. You realized that what you once thought was just a lifestyle or a choice that’s acceptable in society was actually sin and against God’s ways.
Sin separates us from God, and the sin you embraced was dragging you down to eternal death. You may have read something that convicted you of your sin, or someone may have said the right thing that made it clear that you needed forgiveness from Jesus.
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).
You accepted His sacrifice and your sins are forgiven, but temptation crosses your path. If you willingly and continually follow the path of sin, you’re cheating on God. If your life of sin means more to you than your life with Christ, then your heart is still the same old heart of stone, and you haven’t allowed Christ to change you.
Scripture is the guide to use in drawing closer to God…to knowing His heart and His will. The Bible is very clear about the things that keep you separate from God, so study Scripture daily. When tempted to sin, turn to Scripture to help you turn away from it. How would you feel if you were about to go into surgery, and you found out your doctor had cheated on his medical exams? That would make you doubt that he was a true doctor and not trust him. In the same way, how can a professing Christian embrace sin and cheat on God? That’s somewhat of an oxymoron.
Do you see the problem with saying you’ve accepted Christ for salvation but then choosing to continue in sin? Your heart should have changed when you accepted His sacrifice, and your life should reflect that change. If there’s no difference in your life now than before you repented, there’s a good chance you haven’t truly accepted Him.
We will never achieve His standard of perfection while living on this side of Heaven, but sin should have lost its appeal. After coming to Jesus, you need to submit to Him in obedience. You can’t submit to Christ and submit to sin at the same time. That’s being double-minded.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
If you keep Christ first in your thoughts, you won’t have a chance to be tempted by sin. If sin does pull at you and tempt you, make the choice to submit to Christ.
How would you feel if someone you care about deeply, such as a spouse, professed love for you but then you found out this person was living a double life? Maybe a wife finds out her husband is seeing another woman, or vice versa. Would you just shrug your shoulders and go on? No, that would be accepting the unacceptable. The deceitful spouse has betrayed the one they made a vow to love, honor, and cherish. In the same way, embracing sin is cheating on God. You asked Him to forgive your sin, but you still hold on to that sin. You cannot plead ignorance because He has given us Scripture as a guide.
How do you stop being double-minded?
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).
When you draw near to God, you move away from the sin that has ruled your life. We will never be completely free from sin until we shed this mortal body, but until then we need to resist sin. That’s not easy because sometimes Satan wraps sin in a pretty package that hides the ugliness that is hidden under the pretty paper and ribbon. Sin is ugly. As you draw nearer to God, you won’t be fooled by the pretty wrappings. The closer you draw to God, the less you’ll be tempted to fall into sin. Whether you live together with your “significant other,” continually tell lies, or have murdered someone, you’re cheating on God when you hold onto sin.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:13-14).
Amazing grace saves sinners like you and me! Draw closer to Jesus and sin will lose its power over you.
Only by the grace of God are we forgiven of sin. When you realized that you’re a sinner in need of the Saviour, you asked Him to forgive you, and even the angels rejoiced over your salvation. Once you’ve taken that first big step, you need to grow in your faith. You need to learn God’s desire and apply it to your life. That means that even though you’ve been forgiven of your sin you can’t continue in it.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).
Scripture is your guide, and prayer will keep you communicating with God. Talk to Him and listen for His answer. He will never tell you to do something contrary to Scripture. If you sincerely accepted Christ, then the Holy Spirit dwells within you and it’s important to listen to His promptings. He will lead you away from sin and closer to God.
As you draw closer to God, you’ll discover that sin isn’t as much fun as the desire to sin makes it seem. For instance, a person who continually becomes drunk will eventually realize that the hangover the next day isn’t worth the “fun.” Drinking alcohol isn’t a sin, but drunkenness is. When you’re drunk, you have no control over your actions, and that can lead to more sin. Turn from the desires of the flesh that lead to sin.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
This is a short list of sins that get between you and God. Look up those words in a good concordance and see which of them have a hold on you. Then, turn away from them. Christianity isn’t a list of rules, but it is a way of life. Jesus Christ is our example, and your life should reflect Him.
“And said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
When faced with a choice to sin or not, remember to take up your cross and choose to follow Him. Christ bore your sins on the cross when He was crucified. Submit to God and let Him lead you away from temptation. Your obedience may even help someone else to step away from sin. Instead of meeting for drinks, why not invite your friends to a potluck? That way you can enjoy each other’s company and have a conversation. Maybe you can talk about Jesus and lead a friend to salvation. This isn’t trying to do works in order to maintain your salvation. Works cannot save you. It is honoring God to ask Him to help you turn from sin and being a witness to others.
When you sin, and it happens to even the most devout Christian, there is a remedy. Ask God to forgive you.
“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
A bit of anger may slip into your mind, or you might be provoked to say some words that aren’t very nice. These might not seem like sins, but Jesus likened anger to murder. When we begin to see things from God’s perspective our understanding of sin will change. Instead of an attitude of “I’m forgiven so I can do what I want,” you’ll be more inclined to feel remorse when you allow your carnal attitudes to come between you and Jesus.
When Jesus was crucified, He took all of your sin upon Himself. He did this willingly because He loves you.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
Now it’s time to take up your cross, die to self, and live for Him. Look at sin from God’s point of view and try to please Him, not the world. Jesus will always forgive, but you need to repent and allow His love to live in you and through you rather than the “old man” who is ruled by the flesh.
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:11-12).
When you hold hands with Satan and walk in the world, you’re cheating on God. Stop cheating and begin honoring Him with your life.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
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