How many of us still sin after we are regenerated? The answer is all of us! When we are regenerated, however, we start to know what we do that is a sin, and what we do that is not a sin. The bottom line is that we still sin. How? Because we still have a part of our old fleshy, sinful nature. It is still wrong, it will cause chastisement by God if not handled properly. James 1:13-15 tell us the mechanism for our sin. By understanding the mechanism, we can overcome sin in our life.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
While it is true that God allows you to be tempted, He does not tempt you. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13). In reality, you are tempted by your desires. We all have our pitfalls: alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, pride, etc. I am not a person tempted by drugs and alcohol. I think that they are just plain stupid. I was, however, a very prideful person before Christ and I am designed by God as a person that has a tendency to want to get prideful. He does not tempt me, I do that on my own. Other people may not be able to go into a bar because the very sight of alcohol causes him to want to drink to a drunken stupor. The point is that we all have our own snares. John MacArthur gives the example of fishing. You use certain lures for certain kinds of fish, but those lures will not work well on other kinds of fish (Commentary on James).
Once you get the desire for something, lust sets in. When lust comes in, you can be sure that sin is right behind it if you don’t stop it. When sin occurs, death is in the works. A Christian is redeemed, but does not give him license to sin; if he thinks he has such license, he is probably not redeemed at all because the mark of a Christian is righteousness. With all that said, what do we do? Chip Ingram has the best course I have seen on this application. I will summarize the material from the series “How to Slay the Dragon of Lust”. This series is applied directly to sexual lust, but the application goes to all areas of sin. First, consciously recognize your specific temptations and make pre-decisions to avoid those temptations. When you are tempted, draw back immediately; Stop all desires for the sin (this is a good place for thought stopping techniques); If you get past this step, just stop and pray, perhaps you will collect your thoughts; If you find yourself sinning, stop the behavior and confess your sin to Jesus Christ. What then is sin? The answer is anything contrary to the Holiness of God. I can not create a comprehensive list, but here are some that Americans tend to struggle even seeing as a sin, let alone, stopping themselves from sinning. If you are doing any of these things, let it go. Talk to someone if you must; you can also talk to me if you wish.
Some sins that America often fails to recognize as sin
- Excess Consumption
- Pirating of software, movies, music, or other media
- Adultery (sexual relationships with a person other then your spouse)
- Fornication (sexual relationship outside the context of marriage)
- And many, many more