Summary: There are Christians who have every right to live confidently in their relationship with God but they are dragged down spiritually by "that one sin" in their past that "God cannot forgive."
That One Sin
I Tim. 1:12-16
In this small country church, there was a man, “brother Jones,” who would respond to the invitation and asked to be baptized at every gospel meeting (revival). On this particular Sunday, the visiting minister had preached a stirring sermon and when he asked for responses to the invitation, brother Jones hurried to the front. Everyone knew what brother Jones wanted. As the visiting preacher began to announce brother Jones’ intentions, a voice from the back of the room called out, “Don’t do it preacher. He leaks!” Why did this person feel that he needed to be baptized every time the invitation was issued?
We have all known people who had every right to be happy and secure in their relationship with God. But instead they go through life downcast and, whether expressed or not, doubt that they will ever make it passed those pearly gates into heaven. They never say confidently, “Yes! I am saved!” “Yes! I am going to heaven!” Instead they use phrases like, “I hope so.” I think so.” “I’m doing the best I can.” Their words and their tone of voice betray their thinking that, “No matter how hard I try, I’m just not ever going to make it into heaven.”
Now there are a variety of reasons people feel this way but in many cases, somewhere in their past is “That One Sin.” It is some sin or incident in their past that continues to drag them down spiritually. Like a ship that is dragging its anchor or like a person trying to swim with weights on his ankles. No matter how hard that person swims, he is pulled under the water again and again. It is a weight that over time, becomes heavier and heavier and requires more and more of their time and energy until they are pulled under for the last time and drown.
Who has this problem? Ironically the people who probably need to worry the most, don’t. Those people who go out Saturday night drinking and sleep off their hangover on Sunday don’t have this problem. They are too busy enjoying their sin. The people who are burdened down with their past sins are:
1. Our most faithful members. The ones who are the hardest workers. The ones who never miss a service. They are trying so hard to be good faithful Christians but they never seem to be able to do enough to erase “That One Sin” from their past.
2. The ones who used to be faithful but have given up and gone away from the church. They tried so hard to be faithful but finally the struggle became to great and they just gave up. “That One Sin” finally got the best of them.
3. The ones who just plod along in their Christian lives. Like an old mule or oxen pulling a plow. They are just putting one foot in front of another. They are Christians but show none of the joy of Christ in their face or their lives. Their present lives are absent of joy because they dwell on “That One Sin” in their past. They would say, “Yes, I know I am good now but in the past I was so bad.”
ILLUS: A chaplain at a state mental hospital tells of a patient at the state hospital who had an encounter with another girl in her dorm room at college. The patient had been a student at a Christian college. She had not gone home for Christmas because of her job. A few other girls also did not go home. To conserve energy, the college moved all the girls into rooms clustered at one part of the dorm. This young woman was sharing her room with another young woman. One cold winter night, the heat went out and they huddled together in one bed to keep warm. During the night they engaged in activities that both knew were wrong. As the years went by, that one incident began to weigh so heavily on this young woman’s mind and conscience that she was driven to the point of insanity. “That One Sin” had destroyed an otherwise wonderful Christian life.
People with the “That One Sin” syndrome tend to spend a great deal of time analyzing and scrutinizing “That One Sin” and their role in it. And they always see themselves as totally guilty. The sin that weighs so heavily on their souls could be something they did. It could be something they did not do. It might even be something that happened to them and someone else had convinced them that it was their fault that this bad thing happened to them.
This happens many times with victims of abuse such as spousal abuse, incest or rape. In their guilt and shame, they walk around with an invisible “Scarlet Letter” hung around their neck. We can’t see it but they can. It is a big red “G.” Guilty, guilty, guilty.