When We Sin :: By Nathele Graham

I don’t like being a sinner. As much as I try, I still continue to sin. Not big ones, but enough “little” ones to bring shame on anybody. I’m not alone. You sin too and I’m sure that you’re as tired of it as I am. When we sin, we’re out of fellowship with God; and for a Christian, that separation affects our whole life. It can make us grumpy. When we accept Christ as our Saviour, our sins are forgiven. Not just the ones we’ve committed before our profession of faith, but even the sins in our future were nailed to the cross.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:13-15).

This means that sins we will commit tomorrow are also forgiven. You see, sin cannot stand in the presence of a perfect and holy God. If any sin is left unforgiven, then we cannot be in the presence of God when we die. All our sin is forgiven at the moment we give our life to Christ. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay to keep on sinning.

I’ve heard Christians say that once they gave their life to Christ, they stopped sinning. Oh, if that was only true. For one thing, pride is a sin, and to think you don’t sin is prideful. The Apostle John wasn’t under the impression that he didn’t sin. He even wrote about being deceived about our sin.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

John didn’t say “if you say you have no sin” but he included himself by using the word “we.” Jesus had called John and his brother James “the Sons of Thunder,” so we can only imagine what prompted that nickname. Maybe they were quick to anger. Maybe that anger plagued John throughout his life. In reading the words he wrote, we see a side of John that’s loving and kind, but that temper may have come out too often. He knew he sinned, so don’t deceive yourself to think you don’t sin.

The letters John wrote were written to believers. They were fellow Christians, just like you and me. Do you love Christ? Do you want to honor Him? Then don’t say you don’t sin.

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

I certainly don’t want to make Jesus out to be a liar! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and certainly is not a liar. Since He is our example of the way we need to live, we must try to live up to His example. When Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified, He became sin in our place.

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

His love for us is perfect. There is no righteousness in us, but it comes only from faith in Jesus Christ. If you think that your righteousness and perfection is by your own efforts now that you’ve accepted Christ, you call God a liar. According to John, we can’t have God’s Holy Spirit in us if we claim to live a sinless life after we are born again. God sees us through the righteous blood of Jesus, and the sin we commit doesn’t condemn us. We still need to seek His forgiveness, repent, and turn from our sin.

Jesus died to give us the only way to find salvation and forgiveness of sin. We can’t earn His favor; His gift of salvation is free for the asking.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

If we could save ourselves, then Jesus didn’t need to suffer and die on the cross. By our own efforts, we cannot be perfect. We need Jesus. Quite often we see other people living a pretty good life, but we don’t see the struggles they go through and the conscience choices they make to follow Christ rather than fall into sin. Even Paul struggled with sin just like we do.

“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:17-19). 

Yes, Paul struggled, and so did John as well as every Christian down through history. Using Scripture for a guide, we can see that we have choices; and when we choose wrong, we are still forgiven.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Because Jesus loves us, He forgives us. That’s perfect love.

Many Christians struggle against sin. Those who don’t struggle against it have given up the fight. Instead of recognizing their sin, asking to be forgiven, then moving forward, some have decided they can’t stop sinning and don’t even try to stop.

“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake” (1 John 2:12).

All believers are forgiven sinners. Something that many “In Christ” believers stumble with is the fact that they continue to sin even though they have been justified (saved). Condemnation reigns supreme in their lives, but that condemnation isn’t from God.

Paul tells us “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

As long as we live on this side of Heaven we will sin, but Jesus Christ paid the ransom for us. He shed His blood for our salvation. This doesn’t mean that it’s OK to keep on sinning as long as you’ve accepted Christ for salvation. If you can embrace sin with no prick of the conscience, then you probably haven’t truly accepted Christ. Paul said there’s no condemnation for those who don’t walk “after the flesh.” If you don’t try to overcome your sin, you aren’t walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh.

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4).

John is telling us that in observing Christ’s commandments we won’t live our lives in habitual sin. For example, living a lifestyle as a homosexual is habitual sin, as is living together as an unmarried couple, or lying habitually, shoplifting, or gossiping. Once we become born again, our sin will be unacceptable to us, and our life will change. This change will reflect Christ as a positive part of our lives.

Under the Jewish Law, there had to be blood shed to cover sin. That blood was from an animal, and it could never take the sin away. The sacrifice had to be repeated. That’s why Christ had to die for His creation. Since He had no earthly father, His blood was untainted by sin and only had to be shed once.

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:11-12). 

There was no other way for us to be redeemed from this life of sin. Born-again believers will continue to fall short of God’s standards, but Christ’s blood takes the sin away. Each time we sin there needs to be remorse; and, over time, we should grow to hate sin. Even though we remain slaves to it, as we mature in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will begin to walk to the far side of sin.

For the believer who occasionally stumbles (that’s you and me), “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).

This was written to born-again believers in Christ, and what an awesome promise it is. All we have to do is confess our sin and He will cleanse us. Then, we need to move away from the sin we know we commit. Let me make this very clear. There is no person on earth who can forgive sin, so you only need to confess your sin to Jesus. Confessing to a priest of some man-made religion is foolish, as is praying to Mary or some man-made saint. Only Christ can forgive sin, and we only need to go to Him. If your sin involved another person, it’s good to go to them and say you’re sorry, but whether they accept your apology or not, it’s Jesus who forgives the sin.

Dear Jesus, thank You. You have done for me what I could never have done for myself. My sin is forgiven. I look forward to the day I will come before You and see You face to face. I am not worthy to stand before You on my own merit, but only through the righteousness that comes from You. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for forgiving me. In Your precious and holy name, I pray. Amen.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

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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In Everything Give Thanks :: By Nathele Graham 

Are you a Christian? If so, does that fact affect your attitude and the choices you make? A Christian’s life should always reflect Christ. As we walk in this world, it’s easy to forget the blessings we have when we only see the problems we face. Health troubles can bring fear, and job problems can make us angry. Through all the challenges we face, God is always there to take us through the turmoil. When we forget our blessings, we stop being thankful.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

If you’ve received Christ for salvation, then you have everything to be thankful for. Just like everyone who lives in this fallen world, Christians face troubles, and quite often those troubles blind us to the blessings which abound. Your faith should mold your attitude; but if you only see the troubles, you’ll never see the blessings. Your countenance will be grumpy and your attitude will be contemptuous. Instead of seeing the troubles, look at the many blessings God has given you, and let His love shine.

King David comes to mind when we think of thankfulness and giving glory to God. A description of him as “a man after God’s heart” is found in 1 Samuel 13:14. David wasn’t perfect, but His love for God guided his way. When he sinned, he earnestly repented. When enemies pressed in upon him, he turned to God for help but also found a way to praise God in spite of the trouble. Many of the Psalms he wrote contain words of praise and thanksgiving, such as “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30-31).

Praises do please the Lord much more than all the things you might sacrifice in serving Him. It’s hard to embrace sin while praising God. David wrote many psalms of praise, but when you study the whole psalm, you might find that his praise was there in spite of his circumstances. Psalm 69 is one of those psalms in which we see David praising God in spite of what’s happening around him.

“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried; mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee” (Psalm 69:1-5).

David really was in the depth of despair. We’ve all been in a situation where we’re wrongfully blamed for problems. We make things worse while trying to make things better. We see the trouble all around; and we, like David, cry out in anguish before the Lord.

As Christians, we make choices every day as to whom we will serve. Will we live for Christ or bow to the evil in this world? If we choose Christ, we may become the focus of ridicule and mockery, even by friends or family. Even though David lived long before Jesus, he still had to make the choice to follow God Almighty. Even at that time in history, that choice could bring ridicule and scorn.

“Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face” (Psalm 69:7).

David was well aware of what was being said against him, but he also knew the type of people who were making a mockery of him.

“They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards” (Psalm 69:12).

When people mock you for choosing to follow Christ, consider the type of people who do the mocking. They are sinners who are in need of salvation, and they are the ones to be pitied. David made his choice.

“But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation” (Psalm 69:13).

David was beginning to look to the Lord for help through this trouble. Christians can learn so much from David. He honestly poured out his heart to God. He examined his motives and confessed his sin when he was at fault. He asked for God to forgive him and repented of sin with his whole heart. David never took God for granted. Like so many of the Psalms, David ends this one in praise

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).

King David had many troubles in his life, but he was always thankful to God in spite of the trouble. As Christians, we need to pay attention. Trouble may surround us and people might mistreat us, but we need to choose to praise God and thank Him for everything. Too often Christians seem to think we deserve the blessings we receive from God. We forget that the salvation and forgiveness we have through Christ came at a huge cost. Jesus left Heaven to walk in this fallen world and shed His blood on the cross. That should humble us. Too often we forget to seek His forgiveness when we sin, and we forget to praise Him in all things.

Paul is another one who chose to praise God in spite of circumstances. No matter what troubles he faced, he chose to serve Christ and give Him praise. We might think that times were easier all those many years ago, but they weren’t. The evil in the world, which is inspired by Satan, was just as vicious when the apostles were sharing Christ with the non-believers of the day. In those days, Christians were thrown to lions for the entertainment of those who followed Satan’s lies, and many other cruelties were used against them. What crimes were the Christians being punished for? Their faith in Jesus Christ.

There is much persecution against Christians today, and we need to look to Scripture for how we are to react. When Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Colosse, he was well aware of the troubles there. They lived in a very pagan culture and needed encouragement to stay grounded in their faith. Although Paul hadn’t been to Colosse, he had heard of their faith and was thankful. He encouraged the Christians there to walk in faith. We need that same encouragement today.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

In both the Old Testament and the New, Scripture encourages us to stay true to God and praise Him with thanksgiving.

James reminds us that we have no idea what tomorrow may bring. No matter what it is that comes our way, our life on this earth is temporary and the troubles will pass.

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

Instead of making your problems worse by handling bad situations as a non-believer would, look to Scripture for guidance and ask God to show you His ways. He will give you the courage to live for Him. Remember, your circumstances should never rule your thankfulness to God. Thank Him in the good times and also in the bad times. Jesus Christ gave us everything, and faith in Him brings life eternal. When the vapor of our life passes away, only those things done for Christ will last. The choices we make today matter for eternity.

Christians have much to be thankful for, and we need to remember to praise Him.

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

We can’t necessarily be thankful for everything, but we can choose to be thankful in everything.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your love for me. Thank You for the eternal life You give.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.