Christian Life,  Healing,  My Salvation

The Condition Of Sin

When I first came to Christ I was very leery of the idea of sin. For me, sin was something that was used to punish me. I was often told I was a sinner, which was equated to evil, bad, terrible, and holding a one-way ticket to hell. This wasn’t used as a segway into the need for Christ and the mercy and forgiveness He died to give us, it was used as a rod of discipline to keep me in line.

The only forgiveness I heard about was being forgiven by obeying the adults in charge of me, and that was the type of obedience that required a very high price on my part. This was obedience to take physical punishment, to worship false gods, and to lay down my life for an unknown, unseen god who required blood.

I knew very little of the One True Living God, just that He was good, but not for me. I deserved punishment and hell, and there was nothing good that I would ever have. So I rebelled throughout my life, not willing to give my life over to these false gods but to find a way to seek out a God of hope and love. Unfortunately, I looked for God in all the wrong places. I looked for Him in Paganism and New Age, because I was told that’s where I would find a god of love.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Ephesians 2:1-3

Yet what I encountered were the same taskmasters of my childhood – gods that took everything and left you with very little. Gods that wanted your soul, but not out of love. So as a newborn Christian I wanted very much to connect to this God of love I sought after all my life, but I was deathly afraid to confront my sin. Was I truly evil, and if so, what would this God do to me for it?

It took me months to begin to understand Christ’s work on the cross to save me. I could not understand why anyone would be brutalized like that, and it horrified me and saddened me. Was it really my fault He had to be broken and beaten? If so, that spoke volumes to me about what a horrible, evil person I truly was.

The Bible makes it clear, that we are all morally bankrupt and spiritually dead, but what it adds to those truths is that God already knew what would become of humanity and had a plan in place to save us before time began. He could have left us dead in our sin, but saw fit to go to the greatest lengths possible to bring us back into reconciliation to Him. Which of these gods would sacrifice themselves for mankind? I have met many of them and I can attest that there is not one.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

Even as I grew as a Christian I was still shy of the term sin. I could not separate it from the abuse I had endured as a child. Then when I went into inner healing to deal with the deep levels of pain that were swallowing me whole, it became even harder for me to deal with my own sin. I didn’t want to think about being a sinner when I was daily confronting the most horrendous acts of sin that were perpetrated against me.

I had to go into memory after memory of being connected to false gods through horrendous abuse all while my family either stood by and watched or actually participated. I was consumed by the pain of my life and my sin was not something I could deal with. So much so that I actually went through a season where I refused to acknowledge my sin or even apologize to others for it. I was so terrified that if I admitted I was a sinner I was going straight to hell.

It has taken me years to reconcile the fact that it is okay that I am a sinner because God’s love, grace, and mercy covers my sin. I don’t have to hide or be ashamed of my sin, but instead, I can release it by repenting and apologizing to others for what I have done. I don’t have to wallow in shame and guilt for my past or my current sin, but instead, I get to be set free! How beautiful it is to know that sin no longer owns me and allow God’s grace and mercy to strengthen me.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10

Humility often comes at a high price. We have to be willing to look very deeply at the problems we are currently facing and how our past sins are related. For example, I have struggled with feeling the need to control everyone and everything around me, and with that, I have been very manipulative at times. Yes, I could repent for those things, but when I look deeper to find the root of where this struggle began, I can see it came from being controlled and manipulated by my parents as a child. I never felt safe, therefore I tried to find safety by controlling what was around me.

Once I was able to deal with the deep root level issues surrounding this particular sin, it became easier to understand why I was stuck in this sin and unable to change. It also became easier to repent and renounce my behavior towards others as I worked through healing the pain and beliefs that came with the abuse. I cannot say I am free of that sin, but I have made huge leaps and bounds over the past four years.

I can repent very easily now for my sin and see the areas I need to work on. It’s not just that I am a sinner, but that I am a sinner who has a Counselor to help me through my pain and bring me closer to a place of wholeness. I can also begin to truly understand who my Father is, how much He loves me, and it has helped me to become so much closer to Him!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
  who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
  who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
  who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:2-5

Sin does not have to be a dirty word, but instead, it can be a gateway to the Father. Through our sin, we can see how great His love is for us and become aware of how wonderful our weakness is. When we are weak, we get to see just how big and strong our Abba is! We get to experience Him in ways that we never could if we were to busy trying to be our own gods, doing everything as though we don’t need Him.

Maybe you don’t think you need God, or maybe you don’t think He cares. Maybe you are like me and too afraid to confront sin because of the implications of who you believe you are. Either way, you have to turn things around, back to heaven’s perspective to understand that you were chosen before time began, to be loved by a wonderful Father, who will care for all of your needs, and more importantly, has mercies that never end. That means you can never, ever do anything to make Him stop loving you.

God is never going to look down on you, be exasperated with you, hate you, be disgusted with you or disappointed in you, because of His mercy. You will never experience that kind of unconditional love outside of God, so come to Him, lay down your burdens and all of your sins, be free and find rest. I promise you, you will be refreshed and renewed by His grace!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23