Addiction to Sin
James 4:1-3 ESV
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
When people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are still living in addictive sin, i.e. in deliberate and habitual sin against God, and against other people, there is a conflict of interests which takes place. On the one hand they are professing faith in Jesus as their Lord (Master) and Savior who set them free from their slavery to sin, while on the other hand they are still living in addiction to sin which they are professing to have been set free from. That is kind of like trying to like something and hating it at the same time.
People who are still living in slavery to sin, but who profess faith in Jesus, and who know what the Scriptures teach, have an internal war going on within them. But the war is often not against the flesh but it is against God and it is against the teachings of the Scriptures. For they prefer their sins over God. And they prefer their sins over walks of obedience to Christ. And they prefer their sins over their marriage relationships and over being good parents and often over their jobs, for their sins have them bound in chains.
Now, there is a way out, and they know the way out, so there is no excuse for them to continue in deliberate and habitual sin and in denying Jesus and in saying “No!” to God instead of saying “No!” to their flesh. Jesus made the way for us to be freed from our chains. That is why he died on that cross so that we could die with him to sin and walk in holiness and in obedience to his commands, in his power and strength. They just have to choose to cast off their sins that so easily entangle so that they can live for the Lord.
But because they are still living in addiction to sin, and because their sinful passions within them are at war with God, then they may also be at war with those who are walking in close fellowship with the Lord and who are living to please Him with their lives. And so they may take out their anger and resentment and bitterness on those who are serving the Lord with their lives, and they may fight against them, and they may even try to lead them into sin alongside them so that they will no longer walk in holiness.
James 4:4-5 ESV
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’?”
The Bible speaks of two different kinds of adultery. The first one is really adultery against the Lord. It is cheating on God with “other lovers,” i.e. with the sinful pleasures of this world – the lust of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life. It is claiming him as your husband, i.e. spiritually speaking, by claiming faith in Jesus Christ, while you still prefer your sin, instead. But not many people today see it that way. For they are being given permission to keep living in sin while claiming Jesus as their Savior.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15 ESV).
Now this is not speaking of the people of the world who we are to love and who God loves, but of worldly and fleshly things, behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, and values. We are not to love (prefer, yearn for) what is of this sinful world. For if we do, the love of God the Father is not in us because we have made ourselves enemies of God by refusing to obey our Lord and by choosing our sins, instead. And this grieves our Lord who died on that cross to free us from our addiction to sin. So please take this seriously!
The other kind of adultery the Scriptures talk about is what takes place when a man or a woman is unfaithful to his or her spouse. Now this is not just about having physical and sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married. Jesus defined adultery as lusting after someone to whom you are not married (see Matthew 5:27-28). And this can take on many different forms, which can only be in one’s mind and heart, or it can be via porn viewing and self-gratification, or it can involve romantic or sexual extra-marital relationships or light flirtations, etc.
The thing of it is, though, is that when we marry someone we are choosing to forsake all others and to keep ourselves only unto our spouse, for so long as we both shall live. And you know what? That is what our marriage to Jesus should look like, too. We are to forsake all “other lovers” and to keep ourselves only unto God, for as long as we shall live on this earth. And God grieves when we cheat on him, and any man or woman who truly loves his or her spouse will also grieve when he or she is cheated on. Don’t go there!
Pride vs. Humility
James 4:6-10 ESV
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves 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 wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
So, what is the solution to it all? We all must submit ourselves to God in full surrender to his will for our lives. There is no other way! As long as you hold on to the flesh and to control over your own lives you will never be free from slavery (addiction) to sin, and you will not inherit eternal life with God. But many people will not submit to God because of their pride. Their pride will not let them surrender. Now, this again is no excuse, and it is not saying that they have no choice in the matter. They absolutely do!
But pride is a great enemy to submission to Christ as Lord and to following Jesus in obedience and to being set free from your chains of sin. For pride says, “My Do It!!” Pride will bow to no one but to self. And as long as self is on the throne of your life, and not God, you will never be free. So pride has to go and it will only go when you humble yourselves before the Lord and you yield control of your lives over to him and you take your hands off the wheel. So, you want to be free from your addiction to sin? Submit to God.
For God gives his grace to the humble, not to the proud. You want to be forgiven of your sins and have the true hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God? You have to die with Christ to sin and to self, and you have to surrender your life to him and let him take control, and you take your hands off the wheel. And you have to do this every day for the rest of your life. And then you have to walk in holiness and in righteousness in obedience to the Lord, in his power and strength, day by day, too.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:44; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Behold Our God
By Jonathan Baird / Meghan Baird / Ryan Baird / Stephen Altrogge
Who has held the oceans in his hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at his voice
All creation rises to rejoice
Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of his words?
Who can teach, the one who knows all things?
Who can fathom all his wondrous deeds?
Who has felt the nails upon his hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign
Behold our God, seated on his throne
Come, let us adore him
Behold our king, nothing can compare
Come, let us adore him
You will reign forever (let Your glory fill the Earth)
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