How Can I Stop Sinning?
Will I ever reach sinless perfection in this life?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
All humans sin. God knew when He created us that we would not be perfect. Since the original sin in the Garden, we're all born with an inclination to sin; and even with our best intentions we still sin. The cross was not an afterthought—God knew that we had no way to correct this problem. (Job 14:4) Only God has the authority to forgive sins. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus, his only son, to walk the earth and make the perfect sacrifice so that we can be forgiven of our sins. Jesus had the power to overcome death and rise from the grave. That same power can defeat the sins that keep defeating us. By giving our lives to Jesus, and granting him all power over us, we are given victory over our sin.
Admit our sins
“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.” (1 John 1:8-10, MSG)
Please notice that this doesn't say we can eliminate all sin in our lives this side of heaven. In fact, it says the opposite: such a claim is nonsense. What it does say is that He forgives and purges us when we admit sin and agree with God about it. This is more than "believing in" Jesus, that He exists, that He is who He said He is. It is trusting Him to make and keep you pure, because you know you cannot do it. It saddens us that we continue to struggle with sin after giving our lives to Jesus. Our sin should sadden us. Sinful patterns in our lives will grow more and more clear to us as we walk closer and closer to Jesus, in fact.
Be like “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”
Do you think the Apostles stopped having to struggle with sin? After all, they saw Jesus in person after His resurrection. Many had heard His preaching before the crowds. They'd seen, and even participated in His miracles. At least one had been at the foot of the cross itself. It is that one who is writing to us, urging us not to fool ourselves by claiming to be without sin: the Apostle John himself. In fact, he writes a plural “we” here as an author: “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you…” He then goes on to write, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…” Is that clear enough? He is speaking about all of us, himself included. It should grieve us when we sin, but it should not cause us to despair. We admit our sin to God, receive His forgiveness and cleansing and press on, trusting Jesus to help us. Our hope for sinless perfection is in heaven, where He “…is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” (Jude 24)
Pray this week:
Along with the writer of Psalm 51, you can pray:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me... Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Need a confidential prayer partner to pray with you in your struggle against sin?