• December 21, 2016

“I wish I could say that sin always appears horribly ugly and destructive to me, but it doesn’t. I wish I could say that all the time and in every way I hate what God hates, but I don’t. I wish I could say that I always love to do what is right, but I don’t. I wish I could say that I never think that my way is better than God’s way, but I can’t. I wish my heart were forever settled with staying inside God’s boundaries, but it isn’t. I wish I could say that my war with sin is over, but it’s not.

Here’s the danger for me and for you: sin doesn’t always look sinful to us. It’s hard to admit it, but sometimes sin actually looks beautiful to us. The man lusting after the woman in the mall doesn’t actually see something ugly and dangerous. No, he sees beauty. The guy who is cheating on his taxes doesn’t see the moral danger of deception. He sees the excitement of having additional money to satisfy his desires. The woman gossiping on the phone doesn’t see the destructiveness of what she’s doing because she is taken up with the buzz of passing a tale. The child who is rebelling against the will of her parents doesn’t see the danger that she’s placing herself in because she is captivated by the thrill of her temporary independence.

Part of the deceptive power of sin in my heart is its ability to look beautiful when it is actually terribly ugly. So we need help, and God in grace has met us with that help. This help doesn’t come to us first in a theology or a set of commands or principles; it comes to us in a person. God knew that my struggle with sin would be so great that it would not be enough to forgive me. That forgiveness is a wonderful thing, but I need more. So God not only forgives, but he also gets inside me by his Spirit. The Spirit that now lives inside me is a Warrior Spirit, who by grace does battle with my sin even in moments when I don’t care to. His redemptive zeal is unstoppable. Think of Peter, who denied any knowledge of Christ. Was it the end of his story? No, but not because Peter had the sense to pursue Jesus; it was because Jesus, in unrelenting, forgiving grace, pursued Peter (see John 18: 12– 14, 25– 27; 21: 15– 19).

In our battle with sin, are we called to wrestle, run, fight, and pray? Yes, we are, but our hope is not in our ability to do these things, but in the God of grace, who will war with sin until sin is no more. He never grows tired, never gets frustrated, and never gives up. Now, that’s hope!”

Category: Paul Tripp

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