There are three ways that sin can steal our joy:
- If we don’t understand how grace works;
- If we accept sin in our lives (whether we realise it or not); or
- If we’re bound by a habitual sin that we can’t overcome.
Each of these are addressed – how grace works; the imperative to reject sin and everything that means, and keys to overcoming sin.
It is a very practical and comprehensive talk about recognising sin, rejecting sin, and winning the constant battle we have between our flesh and our spirit.
So what is this about ‘sin’?
- We are created by God – we are his creatures. We exist because of Him, but sin separates us from Him.
- Sin is about us (the ones created), telling our creator that we are not His and that we are not going to do what He has asked. Instead we will do as we please. This sort of thinking is rebellion against our God – it is sin.
- Sin is about ‘missing the mark’ on the target that God has given us. Just like in archery when you pull back the bow and let the arrow fly, but you do not have the strength or the skill to make the arrow go all the way to the target .
- Sin is living life in a way that excludes God.
- Sin is living in a way that breaks God’s laws.
- Sin is the opposite of righteousness, which is required for us to be pure or holy for God.
What are the consequences of sin?
- Sin makes us enemies of God. Sin separates us from God. Sin results in punishment since a righteous God cannot accept or condone any sin 
- So the message is clear. The result of sin is that God’s wrath – His punishment, is coming our way. And the punishment for all sin is eternal separation from God in hell 
How can we avoid those consequences?
- Sin must be punished, but there’s a way that our punishment can be diverted to someone else. For example, if we’re fined for breaking the law in our country, we don’t need to pay if someone else kindly pays our fine for us. Just like that, God has made a way for Jesus Christ to take our punishment.
- God’s purity and righteousness means He can’t tolerate sin. But that severity against sin is matched by His awesome love for us . By allowing His perfect son, Jesus Christ, to pay our penalty by dying for us on the cross, God’s righteousness is upheld at the same time as His love is demonstrated.
- So we can be saved from God’s righteous judgement.
- The bible says that we who are Christians have been justified by ‘His blood’. That is, we have been declared innocent by God and are no longer to be punished. This is possible because of Jesus’ sacrifice of His life 
- Jesus Christ’s death saves us from what sin causes – punishment and condemnation.
But that’s not fair!
- And indeed it isn’t fair that someone perfect should suffer for someone else’s imperfection. But that is God’s awesome love being demonstrated through His grace.
- And it’s even less fair, when we don’t first have to make ourselves good to be able to earn God’s grace and mercy.
- God’s grace means that we can receive the good things He has for us, even though we don’t deserve them. In fact it is important to understand that we do not need to work for our salvation. Actually, we can’t – it’s impossible for us to ever make ourselves good enough for God. (This is one of the most important lessons for us from God’s dealing with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament before Christ came).
- In other words, we do not need to do any work, or make ourselves good enough, or even pass an exam to win God’s favour. We already have God’s favour – His grace.
- All we need to do, in fact all we can do, is to believe in God and accept that Christ has died for our sins. It’s like accepting a gift – if someone gives us a gift, we can’t enjoy that gift until we accept it and unwrap it.
To accept and unwrap the gift of salvation, we need to acknowledge that:
- Jesus, the Lamb of God, has already died for us
- Jesus, the Son of God, has already risen from the dead 
- Jesus, the High Priest is sitting down at God’s right hand 
God’s work of salvation is hard for us to understand completely. However, what we can understand is what we must do in order for God’s grace to work in us. In other words so that the salvation that God has made available to us, is really ours.
Taking away our sin and making us righteous – in other words, acceptable to God, has always been God’s plan. In fact it has been God’s plan from before the foundation of the world, to reconnect with the object and purpose of His creation – mankind.
 Rom 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
 Rom 2:5 (ESV) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up punishment for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Eph 5:6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience
 Matt 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
 Rom 11:22 (KJV; NLT) Behold the goodness and severity of God. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness.
 Rom 5:8-9 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation (wrath).
 Rom 5:8-9 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners
 1 Cor 15:3-6 Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Peter, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once.
 Heb 4:14 (NLT) So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.
 Eph 1:4-5 (NLT) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
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