Today I feel like offering a reminder to us all—me included—about the disastrous nature of sin. Here then are a dozen things we all need to remember about sin and its designs on us. I’m working on an outline for what I hope will be my best book yet, The Magnificent Christian Life. In that book I’ll amplify all these points. Until then, I hope this shorthand version will be helpful.
1. Sin hurts us both short-term and long-term. We usually don’t see that when we’re tempted. It’s only later that the sad effects sting us.
2. Every Christian is a delivered Christian. We have been (not will be) delivered from the power of sin. Read Romans 6.
3. We must carry our deliverance (and freedom) from sin with us 24/7. Temptation comes at the oddest times. We must always walk securely in our freedom from sin’s power.
4. Always remember: “You do not have to do this anymore.” Forget the common excuse “I couldn’t help myself!”
5. Sin is progressive and it starts in the mind. A suggestion, a thought, a visual image. And in the mind is where it must stop. In Romans 12 Paul tells us renew our mind. A renewed mind is a strong deterrent to sin.
6. Develop the ability to stop sin in its tracks at its first appearance. Sin is like a cancer that grows. Cut the cancer out when it first starts and you will avoid the eventual disaster that accompanies sin.
7. Never toy with sin. Never. Sin always promises more than it delivers and takes away more than it gives.
8. Know the unique strategies Satan has designed for you and know God’s specific remedy for each strategy. “We are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
9. Avoid temptation zones: places, people, or things that set you up for a fall.
10. Remember, temptation is only effective against the “old nature.” Temptation has no power over your new nature. Abide in your new life, walk in the Spirit, and sin will have no power over you.
11. We overcome sin by the promises of God. Learn those promises—especially the ones that relate to your temptations. Live those promises. If you need help understanding how God works through His promises, get a copy of Power in the Promises.
12. Lastly, remember that Jesus was and is a friend of sinners. He is not embarrassed by your sin. It was for sin that Jesus came to set us free. Self-condemnation for sin is not from God. Never allow Satan to have a foothold of condemnation in your life. If you’ve sinned, confess it, be forgiven (you are forgiven) and move on. Don’t stay stuck under the black cloud of guilt and condemnation.
I hope this helps someone who is struggling with sin.