In Dealing with Sin

(By Diego Cuartas)

I think it is important that we look at our personal sin in a way that we consider the Gospel and its benefits. Two initial thoughts come together in my mind about this:

1. If I don't look at my sin through the lenses of the gospel I will be tempted or prone to rely on a false gospel to deal with my sin. A false gospel can be a person, an experience, or a specific resource whether cognitive or material. The goal here is to come under the benefits of the Gospel rather than pursuing a strategy that could give me a sense of "righteousness" apart from Christ and what He has secured on my behalf (Ro 10:3-4, 2 Cor 5:21, Gal 2:21, Phil 3:9, Titus 3:5, 1 Pe 2:24, 2 Pe 1:1). One danger in dealing with our sin is to put ourselves again under the curse of the law (Gal 3:10) or the curse of trusting our own flesh (Jer 17). Either approach will place us under bondage.

2. It is important that I seek the grace of God for my life in my sin so that I don't look for grace substitutes else where (Gal 2:21, 1 Cor 1:4, Titus 2:11, 1 Pe 5:5). What we lose when we seek grace substitutes includes things like true repentance, personal growth, true humility, and the experience of what Jesus provides to us through specific grace.

When dealing with our sin, we should consider looking at few important things:

My reaction to my sin, my responsibility to others, and my response to God. These three groups are important because sin does not happen in a vacuum, sin happens in the context of God--as my reference point to any holiness and righteousness--others--as the ones impacted by my actions--and me--as the one where sin originated at.

Here are a few questions to process our own sin:

1. how am I dealing with my sin and it's impact in my own life?

2. what grace is God providing me? what promises can I lean on for the future?

3. what wisdom do I need in dealing with how my sin has impacted others?

4. where is obedience being hindered? how can I grow in repentance and faith?

5. how is my knowledge and love for God increasing? how is my identity being shaped by my experience of God and His revelation? what provisions can I count on in God?

My hope is that we can grow in dealing with our sin without missing the Gospel or the Grace God can only provide for each one of us. I am convinced that grace is not a generic reality--it is specific and it is more than capable to address the details and needs of our real time moments.

For further reflection: 2 Peter 1:3-4

" His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."