Every follower of Christ is called to grow spiritually mature. Paul tells the Christians in Rome that “those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” He also wrote to the Church of Philippi that they were to be “confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
In our Adult Sunday School Class we are discovering that a disciple of Christ is one that has come to Jesus by repenting of dead works and trusting in the work of Christ in securing a right relationship with God and now submits to Christ as his Lord and is dedicated to advancing the Kingdom of God one heart at a time. A disciple has counted the cost of discipleship and willingly forsakes all in order to be used for God’s purposes. The mark of a disciple is continual growth.
This past week we were indebted to the insights of J.C. Ryle who writes that one of the marks of a Christians is that they will have a deep hatred for sin.
1 John 3:4-10 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
J.C. Ryle writes that a regenerate man does not commit sin as a habit.
“He no longer sins with his heart and will, and whole inclination, as an unregenerate man does. There was probably a time when he did not think whether his actions were sinful or not, and never felt grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin—they were friends. Now he hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, counts it his greatest plague, groans under the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be delivered from it altogether. In one word, sin no longer pleases him, nor is even a matter of indifference—it has become the abominable thing which he hates. He cannot prevent it dwelling within him. “If he said he had no sin, there would be no truth in him” (1 John 1:8)—but he can say that he keenly abhors it, and the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all.
“He cannot prevent bad thoughts arising within him, and shortcomings, omissions, and defects appearing, both in his words and actions. He knows, as James says, that “In many things we offend all.” (James 3:2.) But he can say truly, and as in the sight of God, that these things are a daily grief and sorrow to him, and that his whole nature does not consent unto them, as that of the unregenerate man does.
You are not a Christian if you enjoy sin. Your life should not be marked by a casual, comfortable attitude with sin.
• Sin destroys
• Sin kills
• Sin paralyzes
• Sin is Satan’s specialty
• Satan is God’s enemy
This attitude is not one that happens overnight. We will fight with sin our whole life until the day we are made complete in the presence of God. Until that day we must pray for the Holy Spirit to help us see the beauty of Christ, to change our desires, and to empower us to fight sin.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”