Tuesday, July 03, 2007

holding on to sin

Sometimes in our struggle against sin, or a sin, I'm convinced by experience that our problem can lie simply in our insistence on holding on to a sin.

We know theologically/Scripturally that our thoughts, attitudes and perhaps actions, are in violation of God's revealed will. We perhaps are justifying ourselves in convincing ourselves that we are justified in it. Or we can at least be excusing ourselves.

Sometimes too, I think the question can come to us, "Do you want this, or do you want me, God?" Too often we think we can have both. Yes, God is a god of forgiveness, mercy and love, of incomparable, amazing grace who continues to reach out and even still bestow blessing in spite of our sin, oftentimes. But God won't leave us to wallow in our sins, though in a sense he indeed does, such wallowing being its own punishment.

Instead of holding on to our sin, we need to simply let go of it in confession and renunciation of it before God.

Those who conceal their sins do not prosper,
but those who confess and renounce them find mercy.
Proverbs 28:13
What wisdom might you add to this for us?


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

First, thanks for your kind wishes. I am still in hopes that, though quite slow, blogger will be able to find what disappeared into cyberspace. But, until then, I am at least up and running again with a link that works and a name that is recognizable to those that I read and leave comments with.

Now, on to your post of this morning - 4am? I thought I was the only one who worked at that time of the morning - however, I am ususally STILL up - not getting up early.

I was reading a book by Tony Evans this morning that also addresses the same thing you are blogging about in his little book, "God Cannot Be Trusted", about the lies that Satan tells. I was particularly struck by this statement, "...feelings can react to something we know not to be true." I think this fuels much of the wallowing that you speak of as our theology clashes with our feelings and the wallowing becomes quicksand.

Thank you for a true and fortright post - it is, indeed, better to just let it go and cling to God as not only author and finisher of our faith but as the only legitimate fulfiller of our desires.

Ted Gossard said...

Susan, Yes, I'm an early riser, though probably with not the same vigor I used to have.

I think sin is a kind of addictive thing that with it gives us a kind of "high" or some kind of brain chemical thing going on, when something really gets ahold of us. Then that makes it all the harder to get out of it. Our feelings or affections being perpetually set against God's revealed will for us in Scripture and in Christ Jesus.

Yet with this high is the strong emotional sense that there is something wrong, which of course we most often know in our minds, anyhow.

I think the affection side is important, though not the way we get there in affecting them. I want to read Jonathan Edwards on this.

But on the flipside, I think the more we go the way of faith by grace towards righteousness, the more we have emotions from God that verify that stance, emotions which are relational and bringing that sense and experience or awareness of God's love poured into our hearts by the Spirit.

I'm working on this in mind and life.

Thanks! And that book by Tony Evans sounds like a good one.

Craver Vii said...

In studying the life of David, a discussion arose concerning methods and benefits of confession. I wanted to explore the idea of public confession, but the group became quite shy all of the sudden. Go figure. I still think God has wired us to experience a certain level of freedom and release as we develop transparency, trusting our brothers and sisters to help us along in the restoration process. It's not without risk, of course. I'm just sayin'...

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks Craver, for checking in over here.

I agree. Bonhoeffer in "Life Together" acknowledges that one may be able to break through and live in repentance just between themselves and God. But he believed that confession among brothers and sisters, or at least among one trusted such, was what God has provided for us, and he argued, what we need.

I like the way you express it, Craver, and I'm sure you'd appreciate "Life Together".

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

What you are describing sounds to me like the first half of Romans 8 - feelings/emotions versus "faith by grace towards righteousness"

and as a neuroscientist, I can verify that your theory is correct - we do become "addicted" to the feelings we have when we sin - sin is at first pleasant - or who would ever repeat it? - there is a rush of brain chemical release and eventually, after repeated exposure, the brain can actually become "rewired".

However, do not hear me as using the word "addiction" to mean disease - it is still sin - it is, above and beyond all things, idolatry - a wise physician and biblical counselor told me once that he would never call disease what scripture called sin and he would never call sin what scripture did not speak to.

One of the coolest things that I've ever read about in the behavioral literature is that prayer can actually "rewire" the brain - almost sounds like "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he" or Rom 12:1,2 - doesn't it! So like God to hide it in scripture for foolish men to not be able to understand.

Ted Gossard said...

Susan, I think this is so helpful and I have heard or read it before. But glad you brought it out here, because I would not be able to do so as you did.

I do see, in Isaiah, God likening the sinful condition to a disease, and I also see healing as extending not just to our brokenness in our bodies, but to our brokeness in our sin.

But yes, we look to God more and more for that rewiring which will be complete and perfected someday, but in which we can make much progress now, I believe.