10. Walking in the Spirit
In this conversation we discuss what life looks like walking out a life of righteousness and liberty in Jesus.
We are called to live a life of freedom from sin. But what exactly is sin? Sin is personified in Satan, who rebelled against God, wanting his power and authority to be set above that of God's. When we choose to live our life our way, we are partaking of that same rebellion. The fruit of that rebellion is lying, stealing, hatred, covetousness, etc. So sin is rebellion against God. As a believer our heart is no longer in rebellion against him. Even when we do things that break God's law we are no longer in rebellion to God so we are no longer sinners!
Question: Have you had to think about what it looks like to live a righteous life?
How do you live this out?
"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves."
1 John 3:6
"Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is."
What is Sin?
Question: What is sin?
Don't confuse the FRUIT of sin with sin. Just like the Fruit of Spirit is things like Love, Joy, Peace and self-contol; the fruit of sin is not actually sin... it is the FRUIT.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
"Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God."
The First Sin
If you want to understand something in the Bible it is helpful to look at the first time it appears (chronologically, maybe not in order it appears in the books of the bible).
Question: What was the first Sin?
It is not what you think (in the garden)
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths."
This prophecy of Isaiah describes the fall of Satan as he was cast out of heaven
Sin is Rebellion against God - the fruit of that rebellion is everything we read earlier
So every time we see the word "sin" we can instead interpret it as "rebellion against God"
1 John 3:6
"Anyone who continues to live in him will not live in rebellion against God. But anyone who keeps on living in rebellion against God does not know him or understand who he is."
1 John 3:9
"Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of living in rebellion against God, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on living in rebellion against God, because they are children of God."
Do you have a heart of rebellion against God?
So are you a sinner?
Four Kinds of Sin:
Not all sin is the same. While all sin leads to death (hell), the level of rebellion is very different.
Unconscious Sin - I was not even aware that sinned against God
Trespass - I crossed the line but didn't realize. I didn't realize that I had sinned until after the event.
Transgression - I knew the line was there, but I crossed it anyway. I deliberately sinned
Iniquity - I chose to cross the line, and LIVE there! Continual, habitual sin
Now we can defeat sin:
"For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
But what if...?"
1 John 2:1-2
"My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world."
Question: What is John's assumption about Christians sinning here?
1 John 1:9
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness"
Question: If you do sin, what is the promise from God that comes through confessing (admitting) our sin to him?
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
What kind of power is released through confession to each other?
How do think that works?
Living This Out:
It seems too hard!
There was an expectation from Paul that believers should live above their sinful nature.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
"Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?"
But Paul recognised the battle even within himself
"And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power[b] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin."
But he tells us the answer is found in Jesus.
In the next talk we will discuss escaping that slavery.
How to Live it:
Start by keep your attention firmly focused on Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18
"So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."
This stops us focusing on our sin.
Bike riding analogy:
Try riding a bike on the bike lane line
Imagine sin and death are on either side of that line
What happens if you look down at your wheel and the line? Can you stay on the line?
What happens if instead you look up towards your destination? Will you stay on track now?
Sin is person!
"You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it[him] and be its[his] master.”
The original Hebrew uses a masculine genetive.
Resist the devil:
"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
If you do sin...
Read this story:
Imagine two pictures. In the first picture you are walking along the road of righteousness when all of a sudden you step into a muddy puddle (sin, let's call it ‘anger'). You stop walking and start thinking “I can't believe I stepped in this puddle. I am so hopeless. I am never going to be rid of this rotten anger in my life. I'm a hopeless Christian. I need to be saved all over again. What must everyone think!"
In the second picture you are walking along the road of righteousness when you stand in a muddy puddle of sin. You look down, step out of the puddle, shake the water off your boots and say “I'm so sorry God, I know that sinning is not who you made me to be. My new nature is not one of anger." Then you simply keep walking along the road of righteousness.
In the first example we actually give all the power back to sin and allow it to overcome us and dictate who we are. You can just imagine Jesus looking on saying “Come on, get out of the puddle and keep going. I've already dealt with this puddle, it's not who you are now." Instead, by the time we drag ourselves out of one puddle, we take two steps and fall into the next one and so the cycle of condemnation and not living free from sin continues.
In the second example we are empowered to remind ourselves that “Oops, this isn't me anymore" , and to say “Sorry, God, for forgetting my new identity there for a moment." Then we move forward on the path of righteousness, stepping in less and less puddles along the way.
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