Summary: This sermon is about the mystery of sin in the believer’s life.

Sunday Morning March 5, 2000 Bel Aire Baptist Church Hobbs, NM


The Mystery Of Sin In The Believer’s Life

JAMES 4:13-17; GALATIANS 5:16-23


Isaiah 35:8: "And a highway shall be there, and a way, And it shall be called The way of holiness..."

1. There is a way that God has called each of His children to follow.

a. It is the way of holiness.

b. And God is so committed to our walk on this path that He has given us easily identifiable signposts to guide us.

c. The question is whether we will choose to follow them.

2. When you come to the crossroads of spiritual decision, you have a choice: to either heed God’s signs and continue day by day on this important way, or to ignore them and muddle through.

a. You may be struggling with sin, wrestling with forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply, or battling with the idea of submitting yourself

wholly to God.

b. No matter where you find yourself, denying or ignoring God’s directions will leave you immature and ineffective; following them will allow you to handle these situations wisely, obediently, graciously- and victoriously.

3. The way of holiness clearly illustrates that each crisis of decision in the Christian life is a turning point.

a. An opportunity to choose God, to express your devotion to Him, and to experience His direction.

b. There are inevitable decisions you will face in your Christian walk.

c. Making biblical choices will free you to enjoy all that God has for you on the way of holiness.

4. One of the misleading half-truths that preachers can convey to babes in Christ is the notion that after conversion there are no more temptations, testing, or


a. It therefore comes as a great shock when a young believer discovers that it is still possible for him or her to sin.

b. It is the crisis of failure in the Christian’s walk.

c. Of course, "there’s victory in Jesus"; but there can also be defeat when we cease to abide in Him.

d. John the apostle reminds us "if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him [God] a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:10).

5. The signpost of sin is highlighted in the passages in our

texts and I want to deal with the subject from a threefold aspect: the mystery of sin, the misery of sin, and the mastery of sin in the believer’s life.

a. This morning we will look at the first, the mystery of

sin in the believer’s life.

"To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

6. Although this verse can be applied to the unsaved, its primary message is to believers.

a. James has referred already to believers as "doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22)- those who have received "the implanted word"

(James 1:21).

b. At the same time, there is a mysterious "moral dualism" in our text.

c. Here we have "good" and "sin" in the same person.

d. When we search for the explanation, we find it in the Word of God.

In the fifth chapter of Galatians, verses 16-18, Paul writes,

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the

lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and

the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one

another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But

if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."

Here is the mystery of moral dualism.

I. A Moral Dualism That Polarizes The Believer’s Life

"For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against

the flesh; and these are contrary to one another"

(Galatians 5:17).

Have you ever experienced that tug-of-war in your life- a

desire to please God and yet a desire to please self?

Here Paul contrasts the self-centered life with the Spirit-

centered life and shows that these are contrary to one another.

"To will is present with me, but how to perform what is good

I do not find" (Romans 7:18).

Therefore, "To him who knows to do good and does not do it,

to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

Look first at:

A. The Self-Centered Life

"The works of the flesh are evident" (Galatians 5:19).

Although those who commit such sins are not worthy to

inherit the kingdom of God, we all know that each of us

has the potential to commit these sins.

1. There are the sexual sins.

"Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness"

(Galatians 5:19).

a. Statistics show that the divorce rate among the clergy is increasing faster than in any other profession.

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