Imagine, if you will, that you are single but you have found The One that you love more than anything on this earth. But that One has been sold into slavery as a prostitute. So you take everything that you have and sell it all so that you can buy that One out of slavery. And after giving up everything that you have, the two of you are married and begin your life together. But after the honeymoon starts to fade, and things slow down, you notice that your Love has become distant, and not around as often as before. When questioned, the only response is “Oh, I was busy with something” and nothing more. And your Love begins to have less and less time for you. Finally, one day you follow your Love…to the place where they were purchased from. Your Love has been voluntarily going back to the place of slavery and prostitution. Heartbroken, you plead with your Love to stop and come back to you. They agree and return with you, promising never to return again. But they do. And this process repeats it’s self over and over.
Now you may be thinking, “Why would I be so stupid as to take someone back after they have betrayed me like that?” But that is what God has done for you. Jesus gave everything, even His own life, to save and redeem you from slavery and prostitution to Satan. That is exactly what sin is, and it is no less serious or grievous than infidelity. Every time we sin, we are prostituting ourselves to Satan, even though we have become the bride of Christ. He has every right to say “No you have messed up one too many times, your betrayal is too great, I won’t redeem you again.” But He doesn’t. His love for you is so great that He continually redeems you from sin, cleanses you from the filth of what you have done, and accepts you as His bride once more.
Imagine the heartbreak of one act of betrayal...then imagine the heartbreak of continued betrayal... And yet He loves you enough to take you back after you have betrayed Him an infinite number of times. Imagine the devotion and power and importance of that kind of love! Now imagine willingly betraying that love…who would do that? Who would willingly give up and walk away from the greatest love and Lover that you have ever known? You…me…we have all done it.
Now you may be thinking again, “Well it is inevitable, I’m human, I’m not perfect, that’s just what happens” as if it were no big deal, as if your nature excuses your behaviour. But you have the power to resist, you have the power and ability to be better than that, to walk away from sin, to be holy.
2 Peter 1: 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
So, because you believe in Him (and have been redeemed from Satan), when you sin you are willingly choosing to do so, willingly choosing to forsake and betray the One who loves you, willingly choosing to reject His offer of freedom to save you from bondage to sin.
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
This is not meant to excuse our sin, but to keep us from living in guilt, so that when you do sin you do not have to be burdened by the wrong of what you have done, but can accept God’s forgiveness and return to living for Him. If you sin willingly and do not think that it is bad or that it really matters, that it is ok to do it again because it is inevitable, can you really say that you love the One who has redeemed you if you treat that love with such disdain?
2 Corinthians 5:15 And He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
Romans 6: 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
This is not to say that we will never sin again, but when we do sin, our attitude should not be one of disregard. We need to take seriously the gravity of what we have done and repent, not just say “oh sorry, God, I messed up again” and continue as you were before, but to truly repent; to acknowledge what you have done, admit your wrong to God, and then turn away from that wrong behavior. And if you commit that sin again, repent again. The moment you treat sin as something excusable you have rejected the love and sacrifice of Christ. We need to live as though we were “set free from sin”, no longer bound to its temptation and power, but living in the strength of God separated from sin.
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We have been given the Spirit of power so that we can resist sin and temptation. We are also commanded to have self control, we were designed, created to be creatures of discipline, but sin erodes that. Sin makes us want to give in to self, to indulge our desires. Now to clarify, self control means to not do anything that is wrong, and also to use moderation with the things that are allowed. We are not to do or to use anything excessively, even things that we need like food. Just because our bodies need food doesn’t mean that it is ok to gorge ourselves when we eat. Even if we have a very high metabolism so that we could eat a gallon of ice cream every day and never gain weight, it would still be sin because it is excessive and uncontrolled, it is being a slave to your body rather than the other way around. If we do not maintain control over our appetites (of any and every kind), then we are ultimately giving up control of ourselves to Satan.
See, we are a slave to either God or Satan. There is no in between, no middle ground, it’s one or the other. But God is a good task master, He allows us to have free reign over ourselves, to govern and control ourselves rather than making us robots so that we do everything that He wants us to. He allows us to choose. Satan, on the other hand, is not a good master. He controls us. When we are tempted to do something against God, that we think is for ourselves, saying “I can do this, it’s for me, I have a right to do it,” it is really Satan deceiving us, tricking us into sinning by making us think that we are doing our own thing, when really we are just puppets on the end of his marionette strings, jumping to his every whisper. He is cunning. He uses half truths and prideful notions to ensnare us, but really he is the one in control of us. That is why Christ had to die to set us free, because we are slaves without His sacrifice, slaves without any power, ability or hope of freeing ourselves, control that Christ purchased with His death. So, when we willingly sin and return to the slavery of Satan, we are giving up control of ourselves to Satan. And that in itself is sin because we are commanded to be self controlled.
Hebrews 10: 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
This is, in itself, addiction. Because addiction is by definition: “the state of being enslaved to a habit, practice or something that is psychologically or physically habit forming (such as narcotics) to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/addiction), or “the need or strong desire to do or to have something, or a very strong liking for something” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction). That is why addictions don’t just apply to things that are already bad, like illegal drugs or pornography. Anything is an addiction if it controls you, if it is something that you do excessively, if it is something that you desire more than God; even if it is the insatiable urge to check facebook every 5 minutes, or the need for just one more piece of chocolate, just one more game of poker or candy crush, just one more drink. It could be anything for any of us, and it may be different for all of us, but none of us are immune to the pull of addiction. And once it starts in one area, it grows to other areas like cancer, killing as it goes.
Now you are the only person who can say what condition your heart is in, but your actions belie your state. And your heart can deceive you. Satan would not be as successful as he is if he did not know how to manipulate and deceive people. If he already controls your heart, of course he will not want to let it go, and he will do whatever it takes to keep you. He will lie to you, make you believe that this does not apply to you, make you think that you are not like that. If you feel a twinge of guilt, or have an inkling that this might be true of you, it is not Satan trying to make you feel condemned and bad about yourself, it is the Holy Spirit convicting you because it is true.
The question, then, is not whether this is true of you, but what you are going to do about it. Are you going to deny that you are doing anything wrong and continue to remain in your bondage? Or are you going to admit that this is true, that you are not quite the great “Christian” you had thought, and you need to repent and turn to God? Will you humble yourself before God and make an effort to control your desires and restore your relationship with God, or will you remain prideful of yourself and your state, unwilling to change or repent?