Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
Sin is missing the mark that our Lord has for us. Sin is a violation against God and His people. It was a Greek archery term. The mark or target is God's righteousness, and because of sin, we can never hit the target. There is no "Robin Hood" that can ever hit God's target. Thus, all humans are sinners; we all have failed His law, either by our direct transgression or "commission," (that is deliberately disobeying, such as in adultery) or failure to conform to His standards, called "omission." Even if we are not aware of that aspect of the law, we have no excuse. As with the police, ignorance of the law is no excuse. We can't say, "hey, I did not know the speed limit!" or "I did not know it was not OK to steal that watch!" Every time we sin, we incur greater guilt and punishment than before. (Gen. 3:1-24; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 2:1-11; 3:10-26; 5:12-19; Titus 1:15; James 1:12-15; 1 John 1:8-10).
The lure of sin, occult practices, and idolatry is influential and controlling; it seeks its own and those who harbor it. This is not just the pagan idol of people past; it is anything we worship and place first in our life other than our Lord. It is all about crime and punishment of those who do not seek truth and justice; it is immorality and the choice to do and be evil. Sin can also seek fame, power, money, manipulation, and exploiting of others over all else. Sin is something we do in our minds and that translates to how we live our lives. It is the same as what we do with Christ; if we live our lives glorifying Him, how much more content would we be?
Cunning in sin or coming to Him?
The questions we need to ask ourselves are these: Are the riches and desires of Satan and evil ours too? Do we seek what we should not have or what is bad for us and others and think it does not matter? Do we worship what we want and not Christ? Do we seek our ways as godlike and ignore His God like ways that He has for us? What about when He has called us to produce Love and Fruit which He wants to reap? The bottom line is this; there is nothing in the world, not all of its gold or all the treasures of kings and captains of industry that can ever light a candle to what we already have in Christ! If we seek what is foul and not of Him and His Fruit, we only delude and rob ourselves of the far greater treasure we already have or could have when we are Christians. Wealth, fortune, or successes are not bad of themselves; it is how we perceive them, what we do with them. Are they gods to us, or the tools and means to glorify Christ?
Original Sin is explained by the Fall; it was not the first sin, but the term refers to the result of sin, that everything has become corrupted.
Temptation, Tempted, or Testing, or to tempt usually means to lure someone by deceit or enticement to sin; test means to see if it is good. What God is interested in is our inclinations to either lean on God or on our apathy or desires. To the Jews, this meant poverty, famine, or oppression from either the government or the rich. And, many did. But, God does not tempt us in this way! He does test us, as in Jesus' example; God tested Him while Satan tempted Him (Matt. 4:1-11). We do not get even with God nor do we have the right to do so, because He is not causing our situation. He, rather, desires that we learn and grow from it, and then get out of it. Tempted is what the Israelites did to God in the Old Testament (Num. 14:22; Psalm 78:18, 41, 56; 95:9; Mal. 3:15), deliberately sinning by disobeying to invoke His anger. They used sins such as pride, greed, lust, and sexual impurity, showing themselves to be callous and unconcerned with truth or the true benefit of self and others. God cannot be tempted, nor does He have any malice or evil; therefore He will not direct any malice to us!
God does not tempt us to sin. Sin comes from our choices and those of others conflicting on ours. God seeks that we avoid them and thereby grow in maturity. James is making the point that we need to be responsible with temptations and avoid them-not to blame God or others. The Christian life is also about being responsible! We have to realize we are responsible for our welfare, the choices we make, and the consequences from such choices. God will get us through them even when we mess up; this is His love and grace for us. But, why get ourselves in a bad situation and have to face repercussions from our actions (Rom. 6:1)?
The Unpardonable Sin, Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven: is to willfully speak against the work of the Spirit to regenerate our life (Matt. 12:33-37; Mark 12:28-30; Luke 12:10; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:4-6; 10:26-29; 1 John 5:16-17)! This means to reject Jesus' offer of His saving grace, and refuse His salvation. It can also refer to refusing to repent--a sure sign a person is not saved (John 16:8; Rom. 10:9-10). A Christian whose faith is in Christ has no fear of this, as all of our sins will be forgiven (Matt. 12:22-37; John 14:26; Acts 7:52; 2 Cor. 3:16-17; Eph. 1:17-18; 1 John 3:9)!
What we have to be on watch for is what tempts us our "desires" is it to seek out and entice yourself or someone else to sin by trickery or aspiration; this is a form of lust, an evil impulse we all have. God has no evil or impulse to cause us to sin. This is the role of Satan, not of God. God is working His plan of redemption to save us, not destroy us. God clearly tells us in James 1:17, Do not be deceived, as in do not cave in to false thinking. We have to have the right view of sin and temptation. Satan wants your thinking to shift away from truth and the Spirit and to the slippery slope of sympathy for worldly ways (Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7; 1 John 3:7).
We, today, like to say our temptation is too tough to resist. We do face more temptations and options for sin today than in all of human history. They may seem to be aimed at us personally and deliberately, yet most are meaningless, casual cruelties that build from others and ourselves, and are easily accessible. Consider the media, internet, magazines, or places we can go that are full of sin and temptation within an easy drive or at the touch of a button. Such ideas of temptation were inconceivable to James, even to people just a few decades ago. However, in Christ, we are given the strength to endure and to avoid temptations, even in our easy, "have it now" society. So, you can avoid sin and temptation. It starts with your mindset and willingness to allow the work of Christ in you.
Watch out for sin, especially the sin that is in you! "Depravity" and "corruption" means that we can become too entrenched in our passions and sin so that we see no way out and even do not desire to come out of it. As the passions that drive us will soon overtake us. The passion of exploiting others is evil; this is prostitution. Sin captivates us when we seek freedom from God. Rather, we should be joyful slaves to God so we can be freed from sin (Rom. 6:15-18; 2 Pet. 2:17).
The one temptation that all will fail at is the loss of hope! When you have the hope of Christ in you, you will persevere and be triumphant! Never lose your confidence of who you are in Christ! We can look to God for our help (Heb. 4:15). We can admit we have a problem; we do have a sinful nature and will cave into sin (1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 5:17). Thus, we have to admit our need and seek help from Him and others (Gal. 6:1-5). We need to set boundaries for our desires so we will not deliberately seek sin out. Then, we will be victorious! We will persevere and be approved because the trials we go through will enable us to be poured out to God (Gal. 2:20-21). We will be able to come to the place where our will is emptied, our desires are set aside, and His will is at work in us. To refinish a fine piece of furniture, it first needs to be stripped of the old finish; we need to have the finish of our self stripped, so His finish will shine through us!
© 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/