<<PREVIOUS           NEXT>>


Text Box: Dealing Effectively with Sin


Text Box: (Matthew 5:29-30 NIV)  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
(Matthew 18:15 NIV)  If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
(Luke 17:3-4 NIV)  So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.  If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.
(Matthew 18:7 NIV)  Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
(1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV)  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

Text Box: The Scriptures are filled with encouragement to keep our purity, sanctity and holiness.  We need to persevere and strive to deal soberly with sin, so that we may be worthy of the calling we have received in Christ.
(Hebrews 12:10-14 NIV)  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
The discipline we receive from the Lord is to keep us on the path of holiness and righteousness.  There are many distractions we have from this path, since sin has its way of deceiving us easily (Hebrews 12:1)—however, we must persevere to demonstrate our loyalty to our Lord Jesus by keeping ourselves free from the blemish of sin (Ephesians 5:27).
Jesus knows our fleshly weakness and therefore provided for us a way out of the dilemma of sin, by becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 5:9; 10:14).  Through His life and death, he was purged (Hebrews 5:7-9) and made perfect so we could be made perfect with Him!
How then, can we maintain holiness despite the fact that we sin?  Our holiness is continuously worked out by trials, tribulations and difficulties, which is why we need to welcome them and let these difficulties perfect us, instead of shying away from them (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9).  No doubt we will make mistakes as we work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12-16), but we need to understand that it is God working out His will in us to perfect us and use us as His precious jars of clay to deliver His message (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The whole epistle of 1 John is written to motivate us to holiness as loyal subjects of Jesus (1 John 2:1-6).  Exposing our sin, being open with each other, confession and seeking and forgiveness is how we walk in the light, even when we sin.  If we conceal our sin and don’t seek counsel, then we walk in darkness and know not the truth (1 John 1:5-10). “Be holy, because I am holy”, says the Lord!

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                   




Text Box: Dealing Effectively with Sin






Our studies this week are going to take us through Hebrews 12 and 1 John.  Before we get there, it would be good to understand how sin works and how it affects us.  We will use two Scriptures for this: James 1:12-17 and Ephesians 4:17-20.   Today we will examine James.  From James 1:12, what shall we do when we are tried (tested)?  What does testing do to our faith (verse 3 and 4)?  Where do these trials come from (Hebrews 12:7; 1 Peter 1:7)?  Who causes you to go through these trials?  Now read James 1:13-17.  Do temptations come from the same place as our trials?  Who is at fault when we are tempted?  What happens if we don’t flee from the temptation?  What is the goal of temptation?  Read 1 Corinthians 10:13, 14; Genesis 4:7.  Is it possible to conquer the temptation?  Can you master it?  Draw a comparative list between trials and temptations.  List the differences in origin, purpose, effects, and goals.  Temptations should never bring joy to you and are not designed to test your faith.  Trials are not to be avoided or mastered.  They are designed to help you grow and become strong in your faith.  Trials always bring about righteousness and joy if you persevere and are trained by them.  If you persevere in your temptations (follow them through) however, you will bring about bitterness, sadness, lack of self-control and eventually, death.



Let’s look at the second passage that thoroughly teaches us about the workings of sin.  Read Ephesians 4:17-20.  Think of “Gentiles” as people in the world, without Christ.  Where does the trouble start—in how we are thinking about things or in our circumstances?  What do people usually blame, their thinking or their circumstances?  Verses 18 and 19 describe the vortex of sinful addiction—Satan’s Master Plan of Deception.  How many do you know that are caught up in this?  You’re not caught up in any of this, right?  Be honest and earnest and repent (Revelation 3:19)!  How does understanding get darkened?  How can you eventually become separated from the life of God?  Where does the ignorance come from?  How does the heart get hardened (Hebrews 3:7-13)?  What does hardening of the heart produce (Ephesians 4:19)?  Is there any way out of this dilemma without Jesus?  Is there any hope of forgiveness from a guilty conscience without the forgiveness from Christ (1 Peter 3:21)?  This sinful vortex is what is present in our fleshly minds from our first sin.  Even when we become Christians, there are elements of this way of thinking still in us.  Why do you think Paul addresses this?  We must get rid of this way of thinking (Romans 12:1-3)!  This is what Paul is going to address now in Ephesians 4:20ff.  Read it carefully and learn how to be made new in your attitude and way of thinking!  You certainly will not and have not gotten to know Jesus by the ways of the world!  Why then, would you still live like one in the world?



Now that we have spoken about sin, let’s continue our studies in dealing with it effectively using Hebrews 12. The writer of Hebrews outlines 3 points to deal radically with the sin that so easily entangles. Point #1: Cut it off!  Throw it off!  Get rid of it!  Quit cold turkey!  Gradual termination doesn’t work.  It only increases your appetite for sensual indulgence (Colossians 2:23).  Jesus said it clearly in Matthew 5:29, 30.  Throw it away!  Point #2: Run with perseverance the race of holiness, which is away from sin!  Hebrews 12:2-4 teaches what our motivation needs to be throughout the race:  1- Fix your eyes on Jesus.  2- Consider how He handled opposition, not with worldly weapons, but with the weapons of love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).  3- Have you resisted to the point of shedding your blood?  Your faithful study of Scriptures, attendance to fellowship (Hebrews 10:23-25) and treatment of the brethren point out whether or not you are running with perseverance.  Point #3: Endure hardship as discipline. 1- Don’t make light of the way God is disciplining you by complaining or bickering.  2- Don’t lose heart when things get tough!  Trials are a show of God’s love for you (Hebrews 12:5-11)!  3- You are made holy through trials.



Hebrews 12:12-16 deals with preventive maintenance once you have gotten out of the vortex of sin’s deceitfulness.  Three points are offered for exhortation in this area.  Point #1: Strengthen your body, soul, spirit and mind.  Be an all-around healthy person!  This involves powerful self-control, a gift of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). Point #2: Make level paths for your feet.  Walk on the solid ground of faith, not on the sinking ground of sight!  Don’t turn growth opportunities into temptations because of your lack of self-control or pride.  Use sober judgement!  Point #3: Make every effort to live in peace and to be holy.  Hebrews 12:15-16 offers insight into point #3.  1- Get rid of all bitterness.  2- Don’t be sexually immoral.  Both of these destroy relationships and compromise peace and holiness, respectively.



The whole epistle of 1 John is written to motivate us to holiness as loyal subjects of Jesus (1 John 2:1-6).  Exposing our sin, being open with each other and seeking confession and forgiveness is how we walk in the light, even when we sin.  If we conceal our sin and do not seek counsel, then we walk in darkness and don’t know the truth (1 John 1:5-10).  Today, read 1 John and underline all references to dealing with sin in our relationships with each other and how that reflects on our relationship with God.  John’s main motivation for being holy is his love for God and therefore for His people—his brothers and sisters.


Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? Hebrews 12:7


<<PREVIOUS           NEXT>>