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The Problem Of Entangling Sin
© 11.29.19 D. Eric Williams

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (Hebrews 12: 1b).

Every Christian who endeavors to live a godly life has found that sin "easily ensnares" and renders difficult the quest for Christ likeness. Perhaps you have wondered why this is so.

One of the reasons sin easily trips us up is because it provides immediate reward or satisfaction. In other words, when you indulge in sin there is typically immediate reinforcement to continue in sin. For instance, when a Christian succumbs to the temptation to gossip, they find direct gratification in themselves for participation in the sin. There is further reinforcement in the positive reaction from those who indulge in the wrongdoing with you. The same can be said for almost any violation of God's law. Lust is instantly rewarded as a person gazes upon the object of desire and gratifies inappropriate thoughts. Bitterness is reinforced and feed the moment one nurtures feelings of unforgiveness and anger.

In addition, the tolerance of sin does not disquiet the old man. More accurately, it does not disturbed the trash left behind by the old man. You see, much of the Christian life is simply a process of getting rid of the old ways left behind by the old nature. It is easier to leave the habits of the old man in place - even to indulge them from time to time. Yet, as a follower of Jesus Christ you must work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen (2 Peter 1:10a). It is wrong for a Christian to believe God will simply "wave his hand over the spot" and make everything contrary to godliness disappear. Instead, as a follower of Jesus Christ you have the responsibility to work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (Philippians 2:12b).

Indeed, the acknowledgment that the Christian life requires effort points us to the real reason sin so easily entangles us; sinning is easy. Sin comes naturally. Sin promises ease and pleasure both now and in the future. On the other hand, the Christian life is not successful apart from discipline. Truly, the word of God is given to us to teach us to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair (Proverbs 1:3b). The construct of an effortless Christian walk is a myth.

If you are unwilling to submit to the word of God you need to examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). This is not to suggest Christ likeness comes easily. Rather, it is a lifelong task we must engage with endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2). However, habitual, unrepentant sin is evidence you are not serious about growing in godliness. And, if you are not serious about growing in godliness then it is safe to assume you are unregenerate. However, dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don't believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation (Hebrews 6:9).

Therefore, do battle against entangling sin. Work hard to express the new creation you have become in Christ Jesus. Do not give up in the fight. Do not be discouraged. Instead, understand that God will empower you to do what is right as you submit your life to his word and call upon the Holy Spirit for strength.

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