Daily Devotional | Day 351
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2, NKJV).
In our current series, we will discuss an issue which touches the core of our Christian calling: Why do Christians continue to sin? While the question appears simple, there are many sides, layers and angles to it. Today’s presentation will be in the form of a preamble. Therefore, we will not examine any Scripture passages yet. Our purpose today is to lay out the nature of the problem we want to discuss. Then, in the subsequent presentations we will examine the Scriptures to find out what the Holy Spirit says about the matter.
As the title suggests, we have taken it for granted that Christians continue to sin. In other words, Christians do not cease from sin once and for all. We are not talking about an insignificant minority of Christians. The overwhelming majority of Christians continues to sin; some to a higher degree, others to a lower degree. That is, some Christians sin more frequently; others, less frequently. Some engage in more serious sins; others engage in less serious sins.
But the bottom line is, they all continue to sin. They sin, not once every few years; no, they sin on a fairly regular basis; this could be hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The interval between one sin and the next is of no significance to this discussion. What concerns us is the fact that Christians continue to sin at all, even long after knowing Jesus. We do not need an expert to tell us what is happening. It is a fact, and we all know it. And the earlier we addressed this state of affairs, the better for us all.
We further must admit that this phenomenon (of non-cessation of sin) is not limited to a particular denomination or religious tradition. Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Calvinists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Mormons, Baptists, name them: they all deal with the problem of repeated sin. This is why we keep confessing our sins. We keep confessing because we keep sinning. If we repented and left the confessed sins in our past, we would not need more rounds of confession, would we? In fact, for most people, their only hope of staying right with God is to keep confessing until their last breath.
But the question is, why do we continue to sin in the first place? The following are some of the common responses to the question:
- No one can stop sinning. The Bible says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
- If we could stop sinning, there would be no need for Jesus to die for us.
- Only Jesus is (or can be) sinless. No other person can live without sinning.
- No one is (or can be) perfect. Everyone is flawed. We all make mistakes (i.e. we all sin). It is just by the grace of God that we are saved.
- We all have a fallen (sinful) nature. As children of Adam, we will fall from time to time. What is important is to rise when we fall and to do the best we can.
- We are a work in progress.
- If you believe you can stop sinning, you are trusting in your works for salvation. Salvation is by grace alone and faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone.
- Jesus is our righteousness. We are righteous not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus did for us. What we do does not affect our righteous standing with God.
- Even the great people in the Bible all sinned, but God loved them: Moses, David, Sampson, Abraham, Isaiah, Peter and Paul. No one is (or can be) free from sin.
In the next few days, we will scrutinize these issues under the light of the Scriptures. As we do so, our hope is to discover with certainty the main reasons why sin does not cease in the lives of many a Christian. In the meantime, take another look at today’s opening passage from Romans 6:1-2. Do not overthink it. Just look at it intently and ask yourself: What is Paul implying here? We will talk more about it as the series progresses. Until then, remain in the grace of the Lord. Amen.
For further study: 1 John 3:1-24