Justification in sin, or salvation from it?
There might be someone reading this right now who’s thinking, “Ugh, religious gibberish again, yuck. This girl is a”religious” nut.
But those of us in the world of biblical knowledge have heard of that word—sin— and are familiar with the story in the Bible of the woman caught in adultery, whom the religious zealots of the time brought to Jesus to condemn and stone her (John 8).
And what are those famous words everyone remembers?
Neither do I condemn thee
And that’s it. Jesus did not condemn her for her sin, so He does not condemn me for mine.
So, you take your bow, applauding yourself as you close the book on that verse, walking away and dusting off your hands from any kind of accountability.
But then you stop and think, or…does He?
The verse continues to say go and sin no more, but I don’t know if anyone really thinks about that part. Or if they do, most people think Christ’s death on the cross meant we’re free to sin as we please and still inherit eternal life. I don’t believe that.
“Try as I might, I could not find justification anywhere in God’s word for continuing in my lifestyle of sin.”
This quote is from Victor J. Adamson’s testimony, and hearing it made me remember those times in my teenage years when I’d be sitting in church with my mom, scavenging throughout the pages of the Bible to find some scrap of justification for the sin I was living in.
Of course, it was to no avail. I knew deep down what I was doing was wrong. But still, I lived that way for years, abandoning any kind of conviction and convincing myself that this is who I am.
I know we humans have the tendency to crave the things that are bad and harmful to us. It’s our nature.
For example, sometimes the smell of cigarette smoke stirs in me the desire to have one. But the difference between me now and me a few years ago is that I run from the temptation, not run to it. I pray for God to help me. I trust my whole life to Him, especially in that moment of utter weakness. So yes, there is a struggle.
So, do my struggles mean God has not truly given me the victory over them? I dare say, certainly not. It’s all a process, and a worthy one at that. If I still lived the way I used to, who knows where I’d be right now. Probably not married, probably forming addictive and destructive habits, and definitely not happy.
Someone, who happens to be in a relationship, recently told me that infidelity in my marriage would be inevitable, that sexual desire is natural. So he shamelessly eye-balled a girl sitting across from us, dismissing any consideration for the girl he had waiting for him at home.
This made me really sad. The thing that he does not understand is that yes, sexual desire is natural. Lust is not. But who believes that these days?
There are numerous things I can say feel natural to me, but I refuse to give in to them.
Last summer, I was faced with a major temptation, and I thought I would lose all control and ruin all I had overcome in the last four years. I tried to avoid it, but there it was in my face every single day, and it got to the point where I started letting my guard down little by little.
I had to stop it right there, otherwise I’d be trapped. So I prayed, hard. I prayed for God to take that desire away from me, especially when I was around it.
And He delivered. It was like the desire had been entirely lifted from me, and I was able to be around it without even the slightest urge. Still, I know I can’t just prance around certain people and environments thinking I’ll be okay, because I need to avoid the temptation at all costs, which is why you won’t find me hanging around bars with my friends anymore or watching inappropriate movies/television. I was around that particular temptation every day because I did not have much of a choice.
So that is what I must do: give it all to God. Don’t even let the idea creep in, or if it does, get rid of it. If I trust in myself, I’ll fail.
Someone might say, “Dude, I feel sorry for you. You’re fighting against who you really are. That’s ridiculous. What kind of God do you serve?”
I serve a just God. A God of infinite love, yes, but also a God who is intolerable of sin.
Rom. 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.
If I am to follow Christ, I must abstain from sin, not make excuses for it.
Until part 2,