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Assurance of God’s Provision for Sin

Introduction

Many questions will arise about the problem of sin in the life of the believer? Why do I continue to sin? What do I do about it? How do I get forgiveness? How do I overcome my old patterns? The believer will face the dilemma of Romans 7:15-18 and the struggle of Galatians 5:17. Obviously, this means Christians desperately need direction and encouragement from the Word on this issue.

Romans 7:15-18 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want—instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.

A Definition of Sin

Sin is defection from any of God’s standards. It is a lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition, or state. It is anything in man that does not express, or which is contrary to the holy character of God.13

The Categories of Sin

Key Scriptures:

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the Lord hates,
even seven things that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that are swift to run to evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
and a person who spreads discord among family members.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

For convenience and help in grasping the nature of sin, we can divide sin into four categories:

Failing of the Grace of God

Failing of the grace of God means negative volition to God and His grace provision, and seeking to live by our own resources. It includes things like indifference to God’s Word, failure to assemble ourselves together for spiritual encouragement, and failure to pray and take our needs to God.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled.

Isaiah 50:11 Look, all of you who start a fire
and who equip yourselves with flaming arrows,
walk in the light of the fire you started
and among the flaming arrows you ignited!
This is what you will receive from me:
you will lie down in a place of pain.

Jeremiah 2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong:
they have left me,
the fountain of life-giving water,
and they have dug cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”

Jeremiah 17:5 The Lord says,
“I will put a curse on people
who trust in mere human beings,
who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength,
and whose hearts have turned away from the Lord.

Ultimately, as suggested by these verses, failing of God’s grace means seeking to handle life by our own resources and strategies rather than by the strength which God’s supplies.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.

Hebrews 10:25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.

Evil Thoughts or Attitude Sins

These sins involve attitudes such as bitterness, resentment, worry, jealousy, covetousness, envy, discontent, and hatred.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Sins of the Tongue

Sins of the tongue involve lying, bearing false witness, maligning, filthy talk, gossip, spreading strife among brethren, and outbursts of anger.

Proverbs 6:17-19 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that are swift to run to evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
and a person who spreads discord among family members.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Ephesians 5:4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting—all of which are out of character—but rather thanksgiving.

Ephesians 4:29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Overt Sins

Overt sins include immorality (adultery, fornication), stealing, fraud, murder, and licentiousness.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

As we think of these four categories, it is important to see them from the standpoint of cause and effect or root and rotten fruit. This is the principle of the root problem. The Lord spoke of this in the following two passages:

Matthew 12:34-37 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. 35 The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. 36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Matthew 15:18-19 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. In the Bible, the heart speaks of the inner person and may refer to the mind, the emotions, or the will, or to the whole inner person, mind, heart, and will. If we are thinking evil thoughts, those thoughts that are inconsistent with the mind of Christ, we will speak accordingly. Sins of the tongue are the product of sins of the heart or mental attitude sins. If we are filled with evil thoughts of envy, or jealousy, or anger, or fear, we will eventually malign others, brag about our exploits, cut others down in criticism and gossip, or speak in some way that is inconsistent with faith, love, and hope.

Even evil thoughts, however, have their source or root. Listed first in Matthew 15:19 with murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, and slanders is the sin of “evil ideas.” Obviously these other sins come from evil thoughts, but where do evil thoughts come from? Note that in Matthew 12:34-35 the Lord compares what fills the heart with treasure. The treasure is either good or evil. Treasure is something we value, but why do we value it? Because of what we think it will do for us like purchasing something we want or think we need.

May I suggest that evil thoughts have their source in faulty beliefs or in the lies we believe. When we are envious and covet what others have, for instance, we are guilty of thinking and believing that we need what someone else has to be secure or happy. When we think like that, we have believed Satan’s and the world’s lie that happiness comes in the abundance of the things we possess whether it is popularity, pleasure, position, power, giftedness, or material things.

The simple application of this means that, in order to deal with sin in our lives, we must learn to look beyond the surface sin and go to the root issues or we will never experience true and lasting change that begins deep in the innermost part of our being through faith. More will be said on this below.

The Provision for Forgiveness of Sin

Key Scriptures:

1 John 1:8-10 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

Romans 8:31-34 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.

John 13:1-10 Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. 6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.”

Psalm 32:1-5 How happy is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven,
whose sin is pardoned!
2 How happy is the one whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I refused to confess my sin,
my whole body wasted away,
while I groaned in pain all day long.
4 For day and night you tormented me;
you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. (Selah)
5 Then I confessed my sin;
I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.
I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”
And then you forgave my sins. (Selah)

Psalm 51:1-13 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love!
Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts!
2 Scrub away my wrongdoing!
Cleanse me of my sin!
3 For I am aware of my rebellious acts;
I am forever conscious of my sin.
4 Against you, especially you, I have sinned;
I have done what is sinful in your sight.
So you are just when you confront me;
you are right when you condemn me.
5 Look, I was prone to do wrong from birth;
I was a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
6 Look, you desire integrity in the inner man;
you want me to possess wisdom.
7 Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure;
wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Give me the ecstatic joy of being forgiven!
May the bones you crushed rejoice!
9 Hide your face from my sins!
Wipe away all my wrong acts!
10 Create for me a pure heart!
Transform me and give me integrity!
11 Do not reject me!
Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me!
12 Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance!
Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey!
13 Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways,
and sinners will turn to you.

Salvation in Christ provides us with the means of dealing with sin in a victorious way, but it does not exempt us from the problem of sin and the temptation to sin. Our attitude and commitment is to be (a) that we do not sin (1 John 2:1), and (b) that we must not continue in sin that grace might abound (Rom. 6:1f). Being human, however, we are going to sin as long as we are in this life. This is clearly stated in 1 John 1:8–2:2.

What, then, is God’s solution for us when we sin? The classic New Testament passage on this is 1 John 1:8-2:2.

1 John 1:8-2:2 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. 2:1 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

Romans 6:1-8 What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

The Promise of Forgiveness Through Confession

First John 1:8-10 directs our attention to the following three aspects of confession: (a) Confession of the principle or guilt of sin; (b) confession of particular sins; and (c) confession of the practice of sin. These three aspects will be covered below.

Since the key word here is confession, what is meant by this term? The Greek word for confession in 1 John 1:9 is homologeo. This word means “to speak the same language,” “to acknowledge, admit, agree with.” It comes from homologos, “to be of one mind.” We must agree with God and His Word concerning any sin and acknowledge it to God. Let me suggest two things as to its meaning:

(1) Confession is a responsibility to truly see our sin for what it is. It is harmful to us and others, dishonoring to God, ugly, and as that which needs not only God’s forgiveness for continued fellowship with Him, but removal from our lives by His enabling grace. We dare not treat sin lightly. We are to come to hate sin as God does.

Proverbs 28:13-14 The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper,
but whoever confesses and abandons them will find mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who is always cautious,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into evil.

(2) Confession is the call to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves about our sin and what God defines as sin in His Word. Our tendency is to avoid facing the reality of personal sin. We tend to rationalize it, deny it, or blame it on others as Adam and Eve did when confronted by God in Genesis 3:7-13.

This age old tendency is clearly seen in four of the five “if” clauses of 1 John 1:6-10. Note there are three things in 1 John 1:8-10 which need to be acknowledged. Two are stated from the standpoint of a false claim, “If we say,” (verses 8 and 10) but the opposite of such a claim is an honest confession of the facts as they pertain to our sin.

Confession of the Principle (1 John 1:8)

John is writing to believers in 1 John regarding fellowship with the Lord. The Greek word koinonia, means “participation, a sharing in,” and then “communion, close relationship.” By walking closely with the Lord through faith, believers are to share in His life and experience His character in Christlike change. In 1 John 2:1, 7 and 12, John affectionately calls his readers, “my little children,” “beloved,” and simply “little children.” He is confident they know the Lord and that their sins are forgiven, but he is concerned about their fellowship and daily walk with the Lord.

Believers can claim to have fellowship (1 John 1:6), but in reality walk in darkness because of their failure to acknowledge and deal with sin. John is writing to show what is needed to maintain fellowship and to set forth the evidences of genuine fellowship.

There is a difference, however, between relationship, being a child of God by the new birth through faith in Christ, and fellowship, walking intimately with the Lord by an active faith. Because of the many perversions and false teachings that continually pop up historically, some have claimed to have fellowship while also saying they have no sin. This is the claim that they have no guilt or sinful capacity dwelling within them. Sin is in the singular and refers to the inherited principle of sin or self-centeredness.14 John says such people deceive themselves, certainly they deceive no one who really knows them. Also some have claimed that sin is insignificant and doesn’t harm our fellowship with God.

The opposite of such a claims is to confess or acknowledge we still have a sinful nature or principle of sin that dwells within us. The new birth gives us a new nature, but, contrary to what some are teaching, it does not eradicate the old nature or sinful principle within us. Its power over us has been rendered inoperative and we no longer have to be its slave, but this principle of sin is still there. Understanding this truth and acknowledging its reality helps us to be alert that we might actively deal with it by faith in God’s plan and provision of grace. We can’t deal with an enemy if we do not know it is there.

Psalm 51:5 Look, I was prone to do wrong from birth;
I was a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked turn aside from birth;
liars go astray as soon as they are born.

Romans 6:4-11 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 7:14-21 For we know that the law is spiritual—but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin. 15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want—instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me. 21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me.

Galatians 5:17-21 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Confession of the Particular (1 John 1:9)

Knowing the principle of sin is still there, we are better prepared to be on alert to the potential of particular sins that we need to confess to God and deal with. John says, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). This verse is not talking about salvation, we are not saved by confessing sin, only by belief in Jesus Christ.

“Sins” in verse 9 is plural and in the Greek text it has the article. In verse 8 sin was singular and was without the article. John is writing about the specific and particular sins God reveals to us. We are not to simply say, “Lord, forgive my sins.” Praying a general prayer like this does three things:

(1) It lumps our sins together without having to face the fact of specific sin in our life.

(2) It becomes a means of hiding our sins or ignoring them.

(3) It hinders our ability to deal with specific sins and get to the root causes through faith in the principles of Scripture.

“Confess” is in the present continuous tense in the Greek text. This is what is called the iterative present. It refers to continuous repeated action like that of a hacking cough. The idea is, repeatedly, whenever we recognize sin, we are at that very moment to confess it and to look to the ministry of the Spirit of God and the principles of the Word for power to overcome that sin while resting in God’s forgiveness.

The promise is that God is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us and cleanse us. If we will honestly and ruthlessly confess our sins, God is faithful every single time to forgive us. He restores us to fellowship. Known sin grieves the person of the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and quenches His power (1 Thess. 5:19). Known sin constitutes negative volition to God’s control, breaks fellowship, and hinders our walk with the Lord (cf. Isa. 59:1-2).

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not extinguish the Spirit.

Isaiah 59:1-2 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.
2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;
your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.

However, though perfect holiness, God is just and free to forgive and restore us to fellowship because of the finished work of Christ, our Advocate, if we will confess our sins.

1 John 2:1-2 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

The only sins we can confess are our known sins, but as 1 John 1:8 and 10 suggest, as long as we are in this life, we will never be perfect or without sin. There will always be areas that need change. In other words, there will always be unknown sins. The promise is that as long as we are confessing our known sins and seeking earnestly to walk with the Lord, He not only forgives the sins we confess but He cleanses us from all sin (our unknown sins) and fellowship is maintained.

Cleansing us may also refer to the transformation process that confession is designed to bring about as it causes us to deal with sin and seek the fellowship and strength of God. Confession is not just to avoid divine discipline.

Psalm 32:5 Then I confessed my sin;
I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.
I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”
And then you forgave my sins. (Selah)

Confession of the Practice (1 John 1:10)

To walk in fellowship is to walk in the light (1 John 1:7) and this means to walk in the illuminating, revealing light of the Word. The Bible is like a sword and light which illuminates our walk (cf. Heb. 4:12; Psa. 119:105, 130). Both of these word pictures (sword and light) point to the Bible’s capacity to reveal and expose our sin and the various ways we fail the Lord and people.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.

Psalm 119:105 Your instructions are a lamp that shows me where to walk,
and a light that shines on my path.

Psalm 119:130 Your instructions are like a doorway through which the light shines.
They give insight to the untrained.

2 Timothy 3:16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Ephesians 5:8-17 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light— 9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. 13 But all things being exposed by the light are made evident. 14 For everything made evident is light, and for this reason it says:
“Awake, O sleeper!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you!”
15 Therefore be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.

Some, however, make the claim they have not sinned. This is either the denial that they have ever sinned or that they have stopped sinning and do not practice sin or have any specific acts of sin taking place in their lives, i.e., the practice of sin. Based on the Greek tense of 1 John 1:10 (which is a perfect tense and refers to completed action with continuing results in the present from the standpoint of the speaker) the latter is more likely the idea. The effect of such a claim is to stifle the convicting ministry of both the Word and the Spirit of God.

The Purpose of Confession

Key Scriptures:

1 John 2:1 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One,

Proverbs 28:13-14 The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper,
but whoever confesses and abandons them will find mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who is always cautious,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into evil.

First John 2:1 highlights the purpose John had in mind. As mentioned above, confession is designed to enable us to halt the sin process. It is designed to cause us to deal with sin and seek the fellowship and strength of God. The privilege of confession is never to become an excuse for sin, i.e., “I can sin as I please because I can always confess it.” Such an attitude does several things, all of them bad:

(1) It treats sin lightly. It fails to see its evil potential and awful consequences on the glory of God, on our witness to others, on its debilitating and degenerating impact on us personally, on our relationships with others, and on eternal rewards.

(2) It misses entirely the point and reason for confession. We confess sin to stop sinful behavior and to reestablish fellowship and the power of God in one’s life. Sin grieves and quenches the power of the Spirit; confession restores us to fellowship so we may then walk by faith in His power.

(3) It ignores God’s goal to transform us into the image of His Son. True happiness and peace is never found in sinful living, only in knowing Christ and His fellowship.

(4) It ignores or forgets about God’s discipline.

Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects you.
6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.”
7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.

Psalm 32:1-5 How happy is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven,
whose sin is pardoned!
2 How happy is the one whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I refused to confess my sin,
my whole body wasted away,
while I groaned in pain all day long.
4 For day and night you tormented me;
you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. (Selah)
5 Then I confessed my sin;
I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.
I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”
And then you forgave my sins. (Selah)

The Propitiation ( Satisfaction) for Our Sins

Key Scriptures:

1 John 2:1-2 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

Romans 8:31-34 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.

While the goal of this instruction in 1 John is that we might not sin, still the reality is we will. When we do sin, we have Jesus Christ who is the perfect solution for us at the right hand of the Father. That He is the perfect and only solution is brought out by a three-fold description.

Christ Is Our Advocate

This Greek word parakletos means “one summoned alongside as helper, or intercessor.” Though the idea of “advocate” or “defense attorney” was somewhat rare,15 this is clearly the idea here, especially in view of Paul’s instruction in Romans 8:34. As our advocate or defense attorney, if accused by someone like Satan (Rev. 12:10), He declares our forgiveness and righteous standing before God because He himself died in our place and paid the penalty that our sin deserved (Rom. 8:34). Luke 22:31-32 also illustrates how this advocacy works.

Romans 8:34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.

Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying,
“The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers,
the one who accuses them day and night before our God,
has been thrown down."

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Christ Is Righteous

This declares Christ’s qualification as the God-man Savior (undiminished deity and true, sinless humanity) to take our place as our substitute on the cross and to plead our case as our advocate, intercessor, and helper.

Christ Himself Is the Propitiation for Our Sins

Should any sinning believer wonder on what grounds he might secure God’s forgiveness or think his sin was too bad for God to forgive, the answer is found in this statement:

So adequate is Jesus Christ as God’s atoning Sacrifice that the efficacy of His work extends not merely to the sins of Christians themselves, but also to the sins of the whole world. In saying this, John was clearly affirming the view that Christ genuinely died for everyone (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 19; Heb. 2:9). This does not mean, of course, that everyone will be saved. It means rather that anyone who hears the gospel can be saved if he so desires (Rev. 22:17). In context, however, John’s point is to remind his readers of the magnificent scope of Christ’s “atoning sacrifice” in order to assure them that His advocacy as the Righteous One on their behalf is fully consistent with God’s holiness.16

The Provision for Deliverance Over Sin

Key Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Psalm 32:6-7 For this reason every one of your faithful followers should pray to you
while there is a window of opportunity.
Certainly when the surging water rises,
it will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you protect me from distress.
You surround me with shouts of joy from those celebrating deliverance. (Selah)

Romans 6:1-14 What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, 13 and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

See also Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:15-20; Colossians 3:1-16.

Since God’s desire and goal is that we might not sin, how can we have victory over sin? Here we are dealing with the issue of experiencing God’s victory over the temptation to sin, and over sinful patterns or life-dominating practices that may have defeated a Christian all his (or her) life. Because of the many temptations to sin, believers may wonder how they can handle these temptations. Or because of a pattern of failure, they may wonder if they really can break a habit that has dominated them all their lives. By the grace of God, the believer’s union with Christ, and the power of the Spirit of Christ, the answer is a resounding, YES.

First Corinthians 10:13 is a fitting passage in answer to these questions and gives us a wonderful promise. It teaches us three vital elements about temptation and God’s provision.

The Common Experience of Temptation

By the statement, “No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others.” Paul is not saying that since we all have the problem of temptation, we should just throw in the towel. After all, we are just human. This verse is not an excuse to give into temptation. Sometimes people try to excuse their sin by saying, that’s just the way I am. The implication is, since this is the way I am, I can’t help it. God is in the business of changing the way we are and the change is always in our best interest. He has our well being in mind, always!

Primarily, however, the Apostle is assuring us that our temptations are never unique just to us. We are not alone in our battle with sin. Others have faced the same thing and have experienced God’s deliverance. All our temptations are common to all men, so we cannot hide behind the idea that our problem is different and thereby seek to excuse our sin by its uniqueness. There is great comfort in knowing that others have faced similar and even worse testings and temptations and have endured by the strength and faithfulness of God.

Hebrews 11:2-12 For by it the people of old received God’s commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. 4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 12 So in fact children were fathered by one man—and this one as good as dead— like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand on the seashore.

So first, Paul has warned us about the commonality of our temptations. Now, based on the faithfulness of God, he points out two more things that we can count on the Lord for in any temptation.

God Controls the Environment of Temptation

God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to handle (1 Cor. 10:13-14). He knows our areas of weakness, our level of maturity, and all the particulars of our lives at any particular moment. He guards us against any temptation or testing we can’t handle. When temptation comes we may not handle it, but it is not because we cannot, but because we won’t. It is either because we have presumed upon our blessings or because we have not been careful in our daily walk with God.

1 Corinthians 10:13-14 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.
14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

This also means when temptation or testing comes, unless we are presuming upon the Lord, (a) we can handle it by God’s grace, and (b) the Lord, though He never tempts us to sin, has allowed it for His own purposes. This says that God limits the temptations that He allows into our lives.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.

This does not mean that we can take the Lord for granted and ignore our responsibilities regarding temptation. For instance, we are told in Scripture:

(1) To flee from certain temptations. Note the response of Joseph when tempted by Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:1-12.

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:22 But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

(2) To pray regarding temptation.

Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

(3) That we must not tempt the Lord. We tempt the Lord by unbelief, by not trusting in His power and aid, and by being careless, unguarded, or by failing to take heed.

Deuteronomy 6:16 You must not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Matthew 4:6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

(4) It is always wise to avoid unnecessary temptation. We are never to presume upon the Lord or tempt Him by playing with fire. When we do, we are going to get burned.

Proverbs 5:8 Keep yourself far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
Proverbs 7:6-20 For at the window of my house
through my window-lattice I looked out
7 and I saw among the naive,
I discerned among the youths,
a young man who lacked wisdom.
8 He was passing by the street near her corner,
making his way along the road to her house
9 in the twilight, the evening,
in the dark of the night.
10 All of a sudden a woman came out to meet him!
She was dressed like a prostitute and with secret intent.
11 (She is loud and rebellious,
she does not remain at home—
12 at one time outside, at another in the wide plazas,
and by every corner she lies in wait.)
13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,
and with a bold expression she said to him,
14 “I have fresh meat at home;
today I have fulfilled my vows!
15 That is why I came out to meet you,
to look for you, and I found you!
16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings,
with richly colored fabric from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning,
let’s delight ourselves with sexual intercourse.
19 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a journey of some distance.
20 He has taken a bag of money with him;
he will not return until the end of the month.”

God Provides the Escape From Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.

The words “with” and “also” are significant in this promise. This teaches that when we are walking with the Lord and trusting in His provision, i.e., not presuming upon Him (taking Him for granted), or tempting Him, then, temptations and escapes always go in pairs. There is no temptation without the corresponding escape, unless, of course, we are deliberately brazen and careless.

Note also that the verse reads “a way out” and not “an out.” I think this is a warning about seeking unbiblical solutions to temptation. The way out refers to God’s methods for dealing with the problems of life as outlined in the Word of God.

Psalm 119:45 I will be secure,
for I seek your precepts.

Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by your word!
Do not let any sin dominate me!

Psalm 119:165 Those who love your law are completely secure;
they are not upended.

Proverbs 3:5-6 When Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 At that time King Jehoram left Samaria and assembled all Israel for war.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way of death.

It is used only two times in the New Testament, here and in Hebrews 13:7. In Hebrews it means “issue, result, outcome.” It also had this usage or meaning in extra biblical writings. This is significant. In the Hebrews passage it is used of the outcome of a manner of life. The outcome is godly character—the result of a close walk with God—the fruit of men who spent their lives in the Word walking with the Lord by faith.

Maybe this teaches us something about the meaning of ekbasis in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Our means of deliverance or the way out of temptation is not just the result of one thing or some sudden deliverance which the Lord supplies like a man being snatched out of the fire. Though at times that will occur, that is not the promise here or certainly not the primary thrust. This is suggested from the last word, “endure.” It’s not removal or escape from temptation that God is promising, but the ability to bear up under it. The capacity to handle the temptation without sin.

In summary, this teaches us two things about our temptations:

(1) “The way out” is itself the fruit of something, an outcome. It is the outcome of adhering to the principles of the Word on a daily basis. Of course, the more we grow and the closer our walk with the Lord the greater our ability to handle testing or temptation.

(2) “The way out” means the ability to handle the temptation. It is not necessarily its removal, though ability to handle temptation often means the ability to wisely avoid temptation. And when we can’t, it means the responsibility to flee temptation.

This is further supported by the last clause of this verse which explains what the ekbasis “the way out” means. The verse closes with “that you may be able to bear it.” The NASV, KJV and NIV all translate this as a purpose or result clause. In other words, God gives the way of escape with the result we can endure the temptation or testing without falling. Perhaps a better way to understand this clause is as an explanation telling us what the way of escape consists of, “the ability to endure.”17

The NEB may have had this in mind when they translated this, “enabling you to bear it.” We could translate it, “the way of escape, the enablement to endure.” Ultimately, “the way out” is the fruit, the outcome of walking with the Lord which is at the same time the ability to endure or to handle the testing or temptation.

God, by His grace through the provision of fellowship with Him, provides the capacity to handle temptation and it is our responsibility to responsibly appropriate that into our lives.

A Summary of God’s Way of Escape

(1) Walking in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Romans 8:2-10 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. 6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.

(2) Living in the Word.

Psalm 119:9 How can a young person maintain a pure lifestyle?
By following your instructions!

2 Timothy 2:16-17 But avoid profane chatter, because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness, 17 and their message will spread its infection like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are in this group.

Hebrews 3:7-12 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks!
8 “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness.
9 “There your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works for forty years.
10“Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, ‘Their hearts are always wandering and they have not known my ways.’
11 “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’”
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.

(3) Understanding and reckoning on our position in Christ.

Romans 6:1-14 What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, 13 and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

(4) Fleeing from temptation: The principle of avoiding needless temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:22 But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Proverbs 7:6-15 For at the window of my house
through my window-lattice I looked out
7 and I saw among the naive,
I discerned among the youths,
a young man who lacked wisdom.
8 He was passing by the street near her corner,
making his way along the road to her house
9 in the twilight, the evening,
in the dark of the night.
10 All of a sudden a woman came out to meet him!
She was dressed like a prostitute and with secret intent.
11 (She is loud and rebellious,
she does not remain at home—
12 at one time outside, at another in the wide plazas,
and by every corner she lies in wait.)
13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,
and with a bold expression she said to him,
14 “I have fresh meat at home;
today I have fulfilled my vows!
15 That is why I came out to meet you,
to look for you, and I found you!

(5) Praying faithfully and in faith.

Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Ephesians 6:18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.

Psalm 119:33-38 Teach me, O Lord, the lifestyle prescribed by your statutes,
so that I might observe it continually.
34 Give me understanding so that I might observe your law,
and keep it with all my heart.
35 Guide me in the path of your commands,
for I delight in walking in it.
36 Give me a desire for your rules,
rather than wealth.
37 Turn my eyes away from what is worthless!
Revive me with your assuring word!
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
which you made to the one who honors you.

(6) Bringing every thought captive—watching and controlling our mental processes and attitudes in the light of Scripture.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments 5 and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

(7) Walking circumspectly, soberly, alertly, vigilantly.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 4:7 For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

(8) Living by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 … for we live by faith, not by sight.

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.

Hebrews 4:1-2 Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith.

Hebrews 11:1-6 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old received God’s commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. 4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

(9) Seeking the right associations and fellowship.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Sober up as you should, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame!

Psalm 1:1 How happy is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand in the pathway with sinners,
or sit in the assembly of arrogant fools!

Psalm 119:63 I am a friend of all your loyal followers,
and of those who keep your precepts.

(10) Having the mind of Christ. The right set of perspectives, values, priorities and pursuits.

Matthew 6:21-33 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? 31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

2 Corinthians 10:5 and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.

1 Timothy 6:6-12 Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. 7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. 8 But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that. 9 Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. 11 But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses.

(11) Reflecting on the consequences: sin always has its wages—we reap what we sow.

Galatians 6:6-7 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows,

Some consequences of sin are: loss of fellowship, divine discipline, loss of effective ministry, destroyed relationships, loss of rewards, and most of all, dishonor to the Lord.

13 Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, Wheaton, 1986, p. 212.

14 J. R. W. Stott, The Epistles of John, An Introduction and Commentary, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1964, pp. 76-77.

15 William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Cambridge, University Press, 1960, p. 623.

16 Zane Hodges, “1 John,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary, the New Testament Edition, Editors, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, 1983, p. 887.

17 A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Broadman Press, Nashville, 1934, p. 1087; James Hope Moulton, A Grammar of the New Testament Greek, Vol. 1, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, Third Ed., 1967, p. 167.

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Assurance, Regeneration, Justification, Forgiveness