In the Presence of Sin
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Romans 7:5)
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:11)
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)
Over the past several years there has been a fundamental change within in me when it comes to being exposed to sin. This applies to both that which I see within myself and even more so in how I relate to that which is around me.
In the past I found that it was easy to categorize the obvious outward blatant examples of sin and perversion that seems to be ever more obvious in the times in which we live, and instinctively was repulsed by it's display. Yet at the same time I made concessions to "smaller", less obvious examples of sin, simply because I myself was not willing for God to deal with them in my own life.
Sins of blatant evil are revolting to most humans regardless of their religious persuasion so in this context I wasn't any different than most people in the world. Mostly I felt good about this aversion to being in the presence of this kind of evil, and rightly so, but I found that my aversion to all things God considers sin was lacking.
In our spiritual pride, as followers of Christ, it is easy to have a heightened sense of evil just by being exposed to his word and his teachings. We take up human noble causes against more culturally sensitive issues like teen pregnancy, abortion, adultery, gluttony, pornography, racism, and many other causes of the collapse of society, but we become so involved in these cultural issues that we do not have time to look at what God teaches us about sin.
Mankind has rejected God so much that there are so many opportunities to deal with the fruits of sin in the world that we are distracted from dealing with sin in our own lives, let alone minimizing our exposure to everyday sins of the world.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
So the question is how do we allow God to transform our minds? Is this something we have nothing to do with in the sense that it is divinely imposed on us once we have met some kind of requirement that God would have us meet or fulfill? No, rather this is where we participate fully in our relationship with God. This is the part where we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, allow righteousness to be birthed, cultivated and matured in us.
The more that we understand that we are to be active in pursuing His righteousness the more we begin to understand the affects of sin in our lives for it is sin that separates us from God. The more mature we become in bearing the fruit of righteousness the more we will find our intolerance for sin, both within us and within the world. This intolerance will not be like our carnal or natural attitude toward sin but it will be transformed into the way that God views it.
We will find that even the slightest exposure to sin begins to grieve and sicken us in a way that allows for deep compassion for the sinner yet a deep aversion to the sin. The affect is such that it will encourage us to become even more Christ like for we realize that this is the only path that freed us from our sin and that our hearts and minds are quickened even more to look towards the author and finisher of our faith in an even deeper yearning from within us.
The fruit of righteousness will always produce an aversion to sin. The more we, as disciples of Christ, allow the transforming work of the cross within us the less room and tolerance we have for sin regardless of it's source. The benefits of the spiritual fruit of righteousness is that it is infinite and eternal. Sinfulness is the arch enemy of this.
Therefore the journey of the citizen of the Kingdom of God will allow them to voluntarily flee sin regardless of the cultural name that we place on it today, or how it impacts us, without having to look to scripture for a specific rule against something. The tendency for the carnal Christian to categorically try to find areas of Christian liberty to allow sin in our lives rather than allowing the transforming work of the cross deal with all sins that entertain even the simplest and remotest of things. We do not have to search to see if God would have us watch television or go to the movies or enjoy or participate in other worldly forms of entertainment of the day because the sin that we are exposed to through it will cause us to flee it because of the sin content, regardless how small, rather than allow it because it has a high percentage of good content.
The serious and cross bearing disciple will find that all sin separates us from God. Darkness can not be in the presence of light. The greater the light the further darkness is banished from the light.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of the light. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord And have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:7-16)
Brethren how evil do you see the world? Is it as evil as God see's it? Does sin make you nauseous? Praise God for his righteousness for in it and only in it do we find the light of the world. How eager are you to dispel the darkness in the world? Preaching and teaching is useless if we do not pursue righteousness and flee the influences of sin. How many displays and examples of sin can you truly flee from that you have chosen to flirt with in the past? Probably much more than we are willing to admit.
Aside from entertainment we must also look to places we frequent, environments in which we work, the clothes that we wear, the content of our homes etc. Sin is deeply hidden for those willing to avoid the obvious, but it's roots are still there. When we begin to have the attitude of God towards sin we begin to understand what bearing our cross is really all about. Giving up things that other Christians have culturally accepted, that down deep are glossed over sinful indulgences, makes bearing our cross even more difficult in a time when it is culturally acceptable, and even beneficial, to be a good Christian. Yet where do the desires for these indulgences truly stand before the Almighty? If they were exposed by the light of God's truth and righteousness would they declare his majesty? How serious are we about really knowing Him? Our level of tolerating sin gives us a pretty good idea.
May your hearts desire be for knowing him and following him by loving him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.