3 Ways Your Sin Can Serve You in Sanctification
As I grow older, I become more and more aware of just how much I sin as a Christian. Whether I sin by doing something I shouldn’t or sin by not doing something I should, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss the mark. While we can’t quit sinning in this life, our sin can serve us in our sanctification. Here are three ways:
1. Sin Reminds Us Just How Much We Need the Cross
Having grown in my faith over the years, if I’m not careful, I can start to think I have it all together. I’ve learned a few things and I know some right answers. I’ve quit doing some of the foolish things I used to. It can become easier and easier to start to act like a pharisee instead of a disciple. My sin struggles are humbling however. They knock me off my feet and put me face down before the cross. That’s exactly where I need to stay.
When you read Paul, you’ll quickly notice that he never got over the cross. He knew who he was before Christ. He stayed in the reality of his need for Christ. He knew all he did and endured wasn’t Paul, but it was the Spirit inside him, which brings me to number two…
2. Sin Reminds Us Just How Much We Need the Holy Spirit
All credit for any good that I actually do in a given day belongs to the Holy Spirit in me. Left to myself, I can be pretty selfish and conceited. My sin reminds me of that. It reminds me that the Spirit is doing an incredible work inside me. As I’ve matured in Christ, looking back at former sins helps me see the incredible work the Spirit has already done in me.
In Baptist life, we often don’t give the Spirit enough credit. But, he is huge to the church! Jesus said that it was better that he go so the Helper could come (John 16:7). In fact, I would argue that the Holy Spirit is the only way that the church can exist without imploding on itself. He is making us look more and more like our Savior. Looking back at the sin that Spirit has freed us from helps remind us just how much we need him.
3. Sin Reminds Us That This World Isn’t Our Final Destination
As long as I continue to sin, it is a reminder that I am not yet what I will be. Pauls says in Romans 8:22-23, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” We are waiting for that redemption to be complete. Our bodies are growing old and decaying. We are still fighting that battle against sin, which affects not only us, but the creation all around us.
The effects of sin serve as a constant reminder that this isn’t it. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. In Christ there is something far greater and we are waiting eagerly for the fullness of that adoption. Until then we live as sojourners in a foreign land longing for home.
I hate sin. I hate the effects of sin. We will never be made perfectly sinless in this life so we fight sin and use it to remind us of truth: we’ve received incredible grace because of the cross, the Spirit is in us helping us fight sin and look more like Christ, and this world isn’t our final destination so we deny ourselves and look forward to being home.