(You can listen to this on audio and pause the audio to follow page links, then, you can resume the audio, when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references for important study details).
Does SIN separate you from God?
Have you ever heard that sin can separate you from God? I have often heard this phrase, that my ‘sins’ separate me from God, and that sin even hinders or negates my prayers or that God won’t even hear me.
Those who say that sin separates us from God, usually quote verses like Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
Or, New Testament verses like Galatians 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Then, when I commit a sin, this phrase comes to my mind, I begin to worry and doubt and fear that I have created a separation between me and my Eternal Hope.
I try to “not sin”, then I sin, anyway. And, the cycle of worry and doubt and fear starts over again.
I have met Christians who have serious challenges with alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addiction, kleptomania, homosexuality, and other habits of thought, behavioral habits or addictions, and most will either say “the harder I try, the worse it gets” or “I am better, but…” or, they find themselves having to live in the torment. I had found myself in this dilemma, once in my life.
Then there are the few who say they have been delivered from this torment and have been set completely free. How do they do that?
I have read all the well-intended commentaries and the so-called Bible scholars on this matter, and you get answers that differ depending on denominational views.
WHAT A QUANDARY.
The Apostle Paul gives us a word of hope in Romans, chapter 7, speaking about the conflict of the two natures that dwell within us.
Romans 7:14-25, tells us,
“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind I am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh, the law of sin.”
THERE IS DELIVERANCE FROM THIS BONDAGE
Romans 8:1-6, tells us,
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For, those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For, the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”
NOW THERE IS THE NEW COVENANT
The Good News is that Jesus died, ONCE, for all who would believe.
Sin may cause us to separate ourselves from God, but sin will never separate God from those of us who believe.
Romans 8:31-39, says,
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You see, our ‘natural response’ to sin is to withdraw and try to HIDE FROM GOD, due to shame, guilt, worry, doubt and fear.
We can see this played out in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3:8
“They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
Sin does not separate God from us. God will seek us out. We are the ones who will seek separation.
Sin is a method of Satan to impose guilt, shame, fear and doubt into our minds in order to compel us to withdraw from God and from God’s protection over our lives.
God never withdraws from His own, thanks to Jesus our Christ. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Romans 8 tells us that, “there is now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, those who walk in the Spirit of God. And that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace!”
SO, WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THIS QUANDARY?
James 4:7 (Think on this, understand this, take it seriously, and do it)
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
YES!! Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
1 John 1:9 tells us that
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
And, on a final note, as helpful as some recovery programs are, this is not a “Two-Step” program for recovering addicts or habitual offenders.
James 4:7, is ALL ONE STEP: Submit yourself to God AND resist the devil and the devil will flee from you WHILE you are drawing near to God.
In other words, MOVE YOUR FOCUS AWAY FROM THE TROUBLE AND ONTO GOD. YOU DO YOUR PART, WHILE, GOD IS DOING HIS PART
Again, let’s remember, Romans 8:6, says, “The mind set on The Spirit is life and peace.” Life and Peace, Indeed!
Your Brother and Friend,