February 03, 2011

Rethinking Sin

Romans 7:14-25

I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
Romans 7:21


Many of us think of sin in allor- nothing terms: we either are sinners, or we are not. Our problem is that while God does change us, we still carry a lifelong tug toward temptation. Experienced Christians are still tempted to covet and lust and dishonor God and others—and lots more. So what’s missing?

The recovery movement helps us in looking at this struggle. Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups have helped millions of people come to terms with addictions that won’t go away. The idea is simple: while addicts won’t be done with their addiction in this life, they can still become free from it. From a Christian perspective, addicts learn to let God lead them into a new life so they are no longer at the mercy of their addiction. A recovering alcoholic may say that while she is still an alcoholic, she has not had a drink in a decade. She is still an alcoholic, but a much healthier one. A “better alcoholic,” one might say.

What if we looked at the stories of sinners in the Bible that way? What if the sins of David and other believers were somehow part of a process of God allowing us to hit bottom and finally turn to his almighty power to be set free? And what if we viewed the Christian community as a network of “sinners anonymous” groups? How would that change our thinking?

Lord, though we often pretend we can master our sin struggles, we really need to be mastered by you. Surprise us into a deeper mercy than we might expect. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!