Then, all of a sudden, with a noise like a horse shedding its saddle, the load on Christian’s back fell off. It just fell off, and rolled down the far side of the hill.
He ran after it, as if it were fill of his dearest belongings, before remembering how he had longed to be rid of it. He followed it as it bounced over gorse bushes and rabbit holes, over boulders and tree stumps.
“John Bunyan’s A Pilgrim’s Progress” retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
My wife and I have started reading A Pilgrim’s Progress to our children, as we found a fantastic version at the local library. Tonight we read about Christian coming to and ascending the Hill, where in the shadow of the Cross his burden fell off his back.
What struck me was the next sentence: “He ran after it, as if it were full of his dearest belongings, before remembering how he had longed to be rid of it.” How often does this apply to us in our lives? As christians, once we are saved, we always seem to chase after our sin, even though we know that we want to be rid of it.
We are not alone in chasing what we desire to be rid of. Paul lamented this in his epistle to the Romans, and also provides to us hope from it also:
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practising 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.
Romans 7:17-20 (NASB)
It is freeing to hear Paul tell us that if we ourselves are doing that which we desire not to then we are agreeing with the Law, and are bound by it. But if we are truly born again, it is not us who desires to do this, but our sin nature in us, inherited from Adam.
So how do we know if we are born again, and it is the sin in us and not ourselves chasing after the sin? Paul continues:
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 am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25 (NASB)
We must be waging war against the sin that we do. If we meekly roll over an accept our sin then it is not the sin in us doing it, but our own self. If we are not hating and warring, we are deceived and are heading for Hell. We look at Jesus’ words to the disciples, and think they are kind of harsh:
If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.
Matthew 18:8-9 (NASB)
But this is the attitude that we must have. God cannot tolerate sin in His presence. It will not happen. Ever. So if we are OK with sin, we cannot be OK with God. It is that simple.
So the questions I leave with you today are:
- What sin do I think is not that big of a deal?
- What sin is God showing me in my life to deal with?
- Do I hate it?
- Why not?
- Who controls my life?
- My flesh?
- My spirit?
- God’s Spirit?
Soli Deo Gloria