According to the National Institute of Justice, 76.6 % of prisoners are re-arrested within 5 years. Over 56% are re-arrested within 1 year. Returning to prison is a problem.
We do the same thing. Even as Christians, having been released from sin by the cross of Jesus Christ and through the forgiveness of sin that comes as result of faith and grace, we have a way of returning to our prison of sin. The Gospel is that we, who are in Christ, are free not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the prison of sin. So, why do we so often return?
Usually, we return to our sin because we fail to really “face our sin problem.” Go read Romans 6 and follow these 3 principles.
Face your true commitment to Christ. (Romans 6:1-11) Paul points to our baptismal confession to show us a true commitment to Christ. Our commitment should reflect that we have died to sin. Our commitment should reflect that we have come to life in Christ. Finally, our commitment should reflect a once-and-for-all commitment to Christ.
Second, we must fight against and for what really controls us. (Romans 6:12-19) We can’t let sin reign or have an opportunity in our lives. Instead, we must present ourselves to God. In presenting ourselves either to God or Sin, we can control what controls us! Reading the Bible is one way to daily present ourselves to God’s control. Rick Warren said it this way, “We can’t watch TV 3 hours a day and read the Bible 3 minutes a day and expect to become Holy.”
Third, we must fear the consequences of sin. (Romans 6:20-23) Paul pulled no punches. Sin destroys. Sin ultimately leads to death. We need to fear those consequences.
This is not about legalism. This is about grace. This is about not going back to prison—often times a prison of our own making.
This is Psalm 32. The context of Psalm 32 is probably one of the most widely known sins of history—David’s sin with Bathsheba. All of us can be thankful that our sins are not as publicly known as David’s.
But here is what he said on the other side of God’s grace.
How joyful is the one
whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered!
2 How joyful is a person whom
the LORD does not charge with iniquity
and in whose spirit is no deceit!
3 When I kept silent, my bones became brittle
from my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was drained
as in the summer’s heat. Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not conceal my iniquity.
“I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Some of us need to do that today!
(This post is based on the message “Facing Our Sin (Folly)” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video