I am often asked the question when preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ on street corners, campuses, and in various places, "Do you sin?" I will say, "I have sinned on occasion since I was born again." The typical response is, "Then what's the difference between you and me?" I believe there are at least six differences between a true Christian and someone who lives a life of sin.
1. We have different relationships with sin. Sin no longer has dominion over me (Rom 6:14). You are "sold under sin" and are brought under its captivity (Rom 7:14, 23). The normal Christian life is that we sin not (1 John 2:1).
According to 1 John 3:9, "Whosoever has been born of God does not sin, for his seed remains in him and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." The Apostle is not saying that it is impossible for the Christian to commit a sin, but that through grace, it is possible not to sin. It is, however, impossible to sin willfully and remain a Christian.
2. We have different attitudes toward sin. I hate sin; you love sin. If I were to sin, it would bring grief to my heart, not only over the consequences of a severed relationship with God, but also over the fact that I had hurt, offended, angered, and grieved him. My consuming desire, at that point, would be to get rid of what had separated me from my God as quickly as possible.
3. We have a different understanding regarding the awfulness of sin. I believe what the Bible says about sin. Its wages are death (Rom 6:23). God hates sin and the person who commits it. According to Hebrews 1:9 God hates iniquity. Psalm 5:5 declares that God hates all who work iniquity. Sin is worthy of eternal damnation. If you believed that the Bible says you deserve hell for your sinning, you would find the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13).
4. We have different attitudes toward the potential of committing sin. Your attitude iswhen I sin. Mine is if I sin. Do you see the difference? Sin is not normal for a Christian. I do not plan to ever sin again. If you are honest and sincere, you must admit that you not only plan to sin, but that you enjoy sinning. "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl 8:11).
5. We have different expectations and desires regarding holy living. The just man desires and expects to be sanctified wholly. He desires to be totally free from sin as a principle. According to Hebrews 4:9, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." We enter into this rest when the very God of peace sanctifies us wholly (1 Thess 5:23).
However, you reject the idea that it is possible to live such a life, that it is commanded, nor do you even desire such a life. Nevertheless, all God's commands are matched by the grace necessary to obey. If you will follow Jesus, he will help you. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it" (1 Thess 5:24).
6. Our ultimate intentions are different. Mine is to glorify God in everything. I know that sin, in any form, does not glorify God. Your ultimate intention is to enjoy life and please yourself.
How much time do you spend seeking God? The psalmist wrote, "Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You" (Psalm 73:25). "O Lord, we have waited for You. The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You" (Isa 26:8).
I was once dead in my sins, like you. I was an evil person, full of hate, rage, bitterness, revenge, lust, selfishness, lies, idolatry, and all other manner of sin. You may say, "Well, I'm not that bad." Friend, please don't deceive yourself. I was an enemy of God, even though I went to church and was very involved. My religion was hypocrisy.
At one point I began to get very convicted over my sin and rebellion against God. I realized that I was not really a Christian and that I did not know God. One night, during a prayer meeting, in a moment of repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. I was born of the Spirit of God, forgiven, cleansed, and adopted into the family of God.
Oh, what joy! I found life in November 1991. I'm not saying that living for Jesus is easy or always "fun," but I know God. I have purpose. I am walking with Jesus, just as man was created to do.
I have shared my heart with you, but more importantly, I have shared with you the truth regarding sin. If you will be real with yourself and with God, if you will examine your life and attitudes in the light of truth, and if you will ask God to convict you concerning the truth of your own miserable, lost state, then you will find that he will be faithful and just to expose your wickedness.
If you are willing, he will take you to the fountain of Christ's blood and by faith will wash away all your sin. If you turn away from sin and change your mind concerning it, which is repentance, then he will apply the blood to your life and end your mad pursuit after sin. He will put his Holy Spirit within you and lead you by his Word. Your will be forgiven, clean, spiritually alive, and at peace with God. You will have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit because you are in the kingdom of God (Rom 14:17).
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Throw away your excuses. Start reading the Bible. Meditate upon what you read. Think about it deeply, not seeking to excuse sin, but looking for the best that God has for you. Cry out to God in sincerity, desiring to know the truth of Jesus Christ more than anything else. He will set you free from sin (Rom 6:18, 22).