Practical Holiness: Understanding Sin

by Joanna Pierce on July 26, 2018

A Basis of Holiness

The Christian’s journey in becoming like God is answering the call to holiness. Holiness means separated unto something or being set aside for something. For us, we’re separated to, and for, the Lord. God called us unto separation!

God created us in holiness (Ephesians 4:24). Therefore, we’re charged in Scripture to yield our bodies to serve righteousness and holiness (Romans 6:19). And, yielding ourselves to holiness is a true process; it doesn’t happen overnight. Holiness is our ultimate destination in life (Romans 6:22; II Corinthians 7:1).

What is Sin

To understand holiness, we must first understand sin. Sin, quite simply, is missing the mark or to be in error with God. Sin is both man’s nature and our inherited, irresistible urge to act in ways that miss God’s expectations for us. Our flesh will desire things that work against desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Our sinful nature is constantly at war with God’s Spirit; we need His Spirit to override the nature of sin.

Acts of Sin

When we break the law (in any capacity) we’ve committed a sin (I John 3:4). This happens from actions we take or don’t take (what we do or don’t do). Additionally, sin arises in our life when our conscious heeds us a warning something might be wrong, and we disregard any conviction and do it anyway (open rebellion) (Romans 14:23). God gives us personal convictions: we’re directed to abstain, we engage, and sin. Lastly, if we know to do good and don’t, this is sin (James 4:17).

Note, temptations in life are not sin. But, temptations can produce sin if we entertain the idea and/or if we yield to it.

Law of the Flesh

Everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God (I Kings 8:46; II Chronicles 6:36; Psalms 51:1; Romans 3:23, 9–10). Sinful acts will always rise because of our sinful nature. Jesus shed His blood for us to pay the ultimate penalty for our sin (the wage being death). Even after our new birth experience (repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and infilling of the Holy Ghost), we still possess our sinful nature.

The law of the flesh is quite simple. Neither the law of God nor the law of the mind has the power to overcome sin in our life. Paul noted he wanted to do right, but he struggled against the sin living in him. Sin would error and walk against the Word of God (Romans 7:14–20). The only overcoming power of sin is found walking in the Spirit of the Living God (Galatians 5:16).

Law of the Spirit

In sum, left alone to ourselves, we’re going to sin. We will miss the expectations of God in our life. Only Jesus Christ, and His Spirit (the Holy Ghost), can override the lusts and works of the flesh in our life. The law of the Spirit, however, is a greater law in operation in our life! The Holy Ghost will always overcome the law of the flesh. It will give us power to live above sin until we reach the resurrection.

Overcoming Sin

While the Holy Ghost is our ticket to overcoming sin, we must take spiritual responsibility to rise above our nature. God won’t force us to live right and to abide in His Spirit. We must know who we are and what has happened to us—our body has been crucified so we don’t serve sin (Romans 6:6). We must die out to sin daily and act as if sin has no power over us by yielding to God (Romans 6:17). Lastly, we must take action to live above sin by repenting. We serve a God who is faithful and just to forgive us sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on July 25, 2018 with Pastor Nave