Summary: Sin is something that touches all of our lives and the consequences can be dire. Paul puts it this way: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’s.” Romans 3:23
Confronting and Overcoming Sin
Two elderly, Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher. When he condemned the sin of stealing, the two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, "Amen Brother!!" When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, "Preach it Reverend!" And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, "Right on Brother! Tell it like it is... Amen!" But then the preacher condemned the sin of gossip and the two got very quiet. One whispered to the other, "He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’."
Sin. We don’t like to talk about it, especially when it hits close to home. Many times the topic of sin in the church is like the elephant in the room that no one’s talking about. That’s why we’re going to address the issue of sin head on today. I realized as I was writing this sermon series that we were talking about heaven and hell but hadn’t talked about the keys to hell and that’s sin. So forgive me if I start to move from preaching to meddlin’ but the reality is that sin is something that touches all of our lives and the consequences can be dire. Paul puts it this way: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’s.” Romans 3:23
How did sin come to be? It started with Adam and Eve. God created them and provided everything they needed in the Garden of Eden: food, safety and a place to live as well as an intimate relationship with their Creator and only three simple commands to follow: have children, tend the Garden, and don’t eat the fruit from the Tree at the center of the Garden. Simple right? You know the story: The snake says to Eve, “Are you sure that’s what God meant? Did he really say you couldn’t eat of the tree? Look at how beautiful it is and think how wonderful it must taste.” And so after mulling it over, they took that fruit and ate of it and sin enters the world. When they do, they realize they’re naked and vulnerable. Guilt and shame envelop them. So, they hide from God. And since that time sin has been passed on from one generation to the next. We have struggled with sin ever since. We have two voices in our ears: one is the voice of God who calls us to live in His love and pursue His will and the other is the voice of self which says, “ It doesn’t matter what you do, especially if it doesn’t hurt anybody else. I want it. I deserve it. I earned it.” We hear these two voices every day and in every situation we face. And the question is: “Which voice will you listen to?” Too often, it’s our voice even when we don’t want to. The Apostle Paul experienced this. He writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” Romans 7:15 Sin is something that has touched all of our lives.
Scriptures make one thing very clear: God hates sin. That’s a strong word that we don’t use very often. But God does. God’s attitude toward sin is described with strong feelings of hostility, disgust, and utter dislike “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” Isaiah 61:8. This is how the Bible describes sin in God’s eyes: putrefying sores (Isaiah 1:6) a heavy burden (Psalm 38:4), defiling filth (Titus 1:15; 2 Cor. 7:1), a binding debt (Matthew 6:12-15, darkness (1 John 1:6) and a scarlet stain (Isaiah 1:18).
Why does God hate sin? Because it is the very antithesis of His nature. God is holy and He has called us to be holy. Second, God hates sin because it separates us from Him: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 This is what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as they hid from God and then had to be banished from the Garden. God also hates sin because it entices us to focus on worldly pleasure to the exclusion of God’s blessings. God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11 And finally, God hates sin is because it blinds us to the truth of His word and that which gives true life. God hates sin because it enslaves us and will eventually destroy us.
And as children of God created in His image, called to live as Jesus and to think and act like Jesus, we are to hate sin as well. We’re not just to dislike it, or have a distaste for it, we are to hate sin. Amos 5:14-16 says, “Hate evil, love good…” Paul writes in Romans 12:9, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9 For we are “children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” 1 Thess. 5:5 God has set us apart; we are called to be “a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” 1 Peter 2:9 We are to hate sin because it separates us from God. It lessens our love and dulls our conscience, because it binds us and blinds us. Most of all, we are to hate sin because it grieves the Spirit of God. Eph. 4:30