“I’d rather ask forgiveness of my parents than ask permission to use the beach house,” the trendy college girl announced to her friend in the window seat as the plane taxied down the runway. Seated by the aisle, I was shocked to hear her cavalier attitude toward her parent’s wishes. “Do you think they will mind?” her friend asked, while shutting off her phone. “Yeah, probably. Dad says I am destructive, messy and irresponsible. As if!” she pouted. “So it’s just way easier not to tell him until after we have our fun. He will get mad and try to lecture me, but he always forgives. Not asking permission is just easier for everyone!” Her friend conveniently agreed. Within minutes the two girls were reclining in their seats, pink satin masks over their eyes, sleeping away the flight. But I could not sleep, their flippant attitude continued to bother me. Not only because of their blatant disrespect and manipulation of their parents, but because their attitude is so common in today’s society.
It seems like I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. One, a college student with a rocky past, told me, “I know what God is telling me to do, but it is easier to stay in this habit of sin rather than fight against it. Fighting sin is just so HARD.” Another woman, a 30-something wife and mother, admitted “I know this sin is wrong, but I want to enjoy it a little longer. I’ll repent …. tomorrow. God will forgive me and we will be good again.” My heart grieved at their words, because I too have gone through times in my life when I also held a flippant view of sin – sin now and repent later.
These kinds of statements are evidence of a cavalier attitude toward sin. This attitude is flippant toward sin, disrespectful of our Savior, irreverent of God’s holiness, impertinent toward the gift of grace, ungrateful for Christ’s death on the cross, and complacent toward that which breaks our Savior’s heart.
Scripture clearly states that this cavalier attitude is a symptom of a heart that is ruled by the flesh. Paul addresses this in Romans, saying, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-4 Paul asks a powerful, rhetorical question to the church at Rome. How can we who died to sin – believers – still live in sin? …. We cannot.
Those who follow Christ cannot live a life of consistent sin. A heart that takes advantage of God’s grace by assuming they will be forgiven on their own terms is the antithesis of a child of God. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 Scripture is crystal clear on the issue of sin: a person who consistently lives in the flesh is not of God. “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:9 John Piper further explains this by saying, “If you are living according to the flesh – if you are not making war on the flesh, and not making a practice out of killing sin in your life, then there is no compelling reason for thinking that you are united to Christ by faith or that you are therefore justified.” This cavalier attitude toward sin is a symptom of a heart that is ruled by the flesh, of one who is not saved. If this is you, then you are either a believer who needs to repent or you are an unbeliever who has never surrendered to Christ as Lord and Savior.
Your reaction to these scriptures will help reveal your heart – whether or not you are saved.
If you read the above paragraph and thought, “Who is she to judge me?” If you think this blog sounds legalistic and judgmental. If you are strongly tempted to close the browser window and block out everything that has been said. If your heart is hardened to the topic of sin. (Hebrews 8:7-19) If this is you, there is a good chance you have never truly come to know Christ as your Savior. You may have said a prayer. You may have walked an aisle. You may have been baptized. But your life does not reflect Jesus Christ. Salvation is not about aisle-walking or water-dunking, it is about being forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:1), it is about the total surrender of the life of a sinner to the control of God (Matthew 16:24), it is about a personal and intimate relationship with God (Romans 8:15). If this is you, then you need to repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (Romans 10:9-10).
If you are shocked and saddened at the thought that your life may look like that of a lost person. If you feel sick inside and know you won’t sleep tonight until you get down on your knees and talk with God. If, while reading the above paragraph, the Holy Spirit brought to mind specific sins that have got to go. If you are grieved at how far you have moved away from your Savior. If this is you, then you are most likely a child of God in desperate need of repentance and reconciliation. (1 John 1:9)
What are you doing?
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” Romans 6:12-23
You were enslaved to sin. As an unbeliever, you had no choice but to sin. It was a vicious taskmaster. Sin ruled you with an iron fist, determining what you did, what you said and who you became. You were a slave, at the mercy of the whims of Satan. But Christ humbled himself, being obedient even to the point of death, death on a cross. (Philipians 2) He took your place on that cross, so that He could take your sin upon Himself and give you His righteousness. He paid the price – his perfect, sinless blood – to free you from slavery to sin.
So you are free, yet you continually flirt with your old taskmaster. You know that life offers fleeting pleasure and lifelong bondage, but you still keep it around. Satan did everything in his power to destroy you through sin and yet you still invite him into your life over and over again. What is wrong with this picture? Run from sin and embrace your new life of freedom! As Piper says, “We owe the flesh nothing but enmity and war. Don’t dally with your destroyer. Don’t be a debtor to your destroyer. Get out of debt to the flesh, don’t pay for your own destruction.”
My Savior. My Jesus. What am I doing to you?
Who are you doing it to?
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Psalm 51:3-4
Every time you choose to sin. Choose to wallow in that attitude. Choose to share that juicy bit of gossip. Choose to allow that thought to dwell in your mind. Choose to give in to temptation. Choose to return to that comfortable, secret sin. Choose yourself over God. Every time you choose to sin, you are telling your Jesus – the one who died a horrific death so that you could be free from the chains of sin – that you would rather have a relationship with sin than with Him. You are choosing fleeting pleasures of sin over a meaningful relationship with your Savior, who loves you enough to die for you. You are choosing to play the harlot and run after sin rather than be cherished, protected and safe in the arms of the One who rescued you from sin.
My Savior. My Jesus. What am I doing to you?
But you are not your own, you were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6). “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:10-11 You, the believer, are DEAD to sin. You, the believer, are ALIVE in Christ. Now, as Piper says, “become what you are!” Fall broken before your Savior, turn from your sin, fight the flesh, be who you are!
My Savior. My Jesus. What can I change for you?