I Sinned Again, God!
What Do I Do About It? Will You Forgive Me Lord?
With: Norm Rasmussen
Falling off the wagon. You have a battle with alcohol and promise the Lord you will stop drinking; twelve days later you drink. You have a battle with prescription drugs and promise the Lord you will quit; four days later you take some more. You have a battle with pornography and vow to the Lord you won't look at porn any more; seventeen days later you are looking at porn. You have a battle with your weight and tell the Lord no more sweets; two nights later you are sitting at your kitchen table eating a quart of Haagen Dazs. You have a battle with smoking and finally tell the Lord you won't smoke again; twenty-four days later you are having a cigarette. What do you do when you decide once and for all to take a stand over whatever bondage you may be battling in your life, to start living in victory over that bondage, and then fall off the wagon?
When you fall off the wagon, you feel like a failure. You are consumed with guilt and shame. You can't believe after you did so good you fell. You are disgusted with yourself for being so weak. You know in your heart you not only let the Lord down, but broke your promise to Him. On top of all of those feelings and emotions, here comes your old buddy the devil to pour salt in the fresh wound. He reemphasizes: What a failure you are; how you lied to Jesus and now He wants nothing to do with you: that whatever goes wrong in your life is God punishing you for falling: how the Bible is a lie; otherwise you would have been delivered from this bondage: That it is OK to give in to your carnal urges; God really doesn't expect you to be perfect, and oh yes the best of all ... You aren't really saved or you wouldn't sin like that.
Or a more deceptively painful lie yet: The sin/s you committed God won't forgive. How COULD He?
WOW, are you still with me or did you stop reading?
The fact is, EVERYONE needs to hang in there and get through this message since EVERYONE has bondages that we fight throughout the course of our life. Just so you know, lying is as much of a bondage as drugs. Gossiping is as much of a bondage as homosexuality. Anger is as much of a bondage as alcohol. Being mean to people is as much of a bondage as pornography. The fact is, we all have bondages in our life. Some people may not be fighting the more visible and popular bondages, but anything that is keeping you from being like Jesus and living in obedience to God's Word is a bondage!
Since we all fight different bondages during our life, it is critical to talk about what happens when we fall off the wagon or fail since that is part of the battle. Let me say right up front, when you fail it doesn't mean you don't love the Lord or aren't really saved. It simply means your flesh is weak. Paul summed up this classic battle between our flesh and the Spirit in Romans 7 when he stated that, "He did the things he didn't want to do and didn't do the things he wanted to do." My friend, we are men and women of flesh and blood. Our flesh is weak. Failure is part of the human experience.
Does that make it OK to sin? OF COURSE NOT! Is it an excuse to sin? OF COURSE NOT! Does it mean we are doomed to failure? OF COURSE NOT! It simply means that in the course of battling with whatever bondage you may be dealing with, you may have a moment of weakness and fail God. What I want to do is share with you how to respond to your failure. What do you do when you fall off the wagon?
The first thing you do is go to God and ask Him to forgive you. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. After you go to God and confess your sins, asking Him to forgive you, which He DOES, because he PROMISES He does. He can't lie. (It is so important you BELIEVE that He does, or the devil will keep tormenting you!). The next step is to go back to living in victory over your bondage as you were before you fell. It is the old adage of when you fall off a horse get right back on. Don't ever forget, you have an enemy that wants to see you fail, that takes delight when you fail. If you do fall off the wagon, ask the Lord's forgiveness and then get right back to living in victory and freedom over your bondage.
This is where your faith has to take over and becomes so important. You have to realize that even though your bondage is in the natural, what you are really fighting is a spiritual battle. While you need to have the practical day-to-day pieces in place to live in victory, things like being accountable to others, staying away from people, places, or things that could cause you to fall, working hard to keep from being in a position to be tempted, you also have to work on the spiritual aspects of walking in victory. The Bible tells us that our battles are NOT against flesh and blood, but they are spiritual. (See: Ephesians 6:10-18).
That is why we have to be praying every day, all throughout the day. We have to be in the Word of God every day, taking time to study and meditate on His Truth. We have to be part of a local church to be fed and grow spiritually, to have fellowship with other Believers, to serve the Lord.
These are the basics we have to be doing to stay connected to the Lord each day and stay strong spiritually. We already know our flesh is weak, so we can never lose sight that it is a constant daily battle to live in victory.
We can never take for granted that we have won and are safe, since the second we stop doing the things necessary to keep our faith strong, that is when we will fall.
We can never stop doing the things we must do to stay strong spiritually or we will fail God. I know in my own life as I have worked to overcome different bondages in my life, to try to become more like Jesus each day, when I am not praying as hard as I should, or when I am not reading and studying the Word like I should, or when I am not doing all the things to stay strong spiritually that I should, that is when I fail God. When you stop doing all the things you need to do each day to stay strong spiritually, that is when you will fall off the wagon.
Everyone reading these words today knows what it is like to fight some bondage in your life, get victory for a period of time, then fail. That is part of life my friend. The Book of First John was written to Believers and tells us that if we say we don't sin then we are a liar. God doesn't stop loving you or caring about you. His promises didn't change, they are still true. YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR IN CHRIST JESUS! My word for you is that when you are in the battle over some bondage in your life and fall off the wagon, go to God and tell Him you are sorry and then get back on that road to victory!
Don't waste precious time having a pity party and being discouraged. Don't sit there and listen to Satan lie to you. Get back to doing the practical and spiritual things you need to do in your life each day and start enjoying the great feeling it is to live your life in obedience to God and His Word and in victory over those weaknesses in your life. God has much work for you to do, so the quicker you get back to walking on the road of victory, the quicker you can get back to fulfilling your purpose in this life which is to serve and glorify Him!
God is a God of restoration and He wants to restore you today so that you can not only live in victory over your bondage, but know the peace and joy of your relationship with Him. We all wish we could go back and do things different in our life but that is not reality. The reality is if you have fallen off the wagon it is time to get up, dust yourself off, and get back into that close, intimate daily walk with the Lord so that you are operating in His strength and not your own. In your strength it is only a matter of time before you fail. In His strength, you will not fail but live in VICTORY!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
THE GREAT ETERNAL CONSTANT
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God. (1 John 3:1)
Have you ever felt that God is ready to give up on you because, instead of walking confidently in faith, you sometimes stumble and fall? Do you ever fear that there is a limit to God's tolerance of your failure and that you are walking dangerously near that outer barrier or have already crossed it? I have met a lot of Christians like that. They think that God is upset with them, that He is ready to dump them, or that He has already given up on them because their daily performance is less than perfect.
It's true that the walk of faith can sometimes be interrupted by moments of personal unbelief or rebellion, or even satanic deception. It's during those moments when we think that God has surely lost His patience with us and is ready to give up on us. The temptation is to give up, stop walking by faith altogether, slump dejectedly by the side of the road, and wonder, "What's the use?" We feel defeated, God's work for us is suspended, and Satan is elated.
The primary truth you need to know about God in order for your faith to remain strong is that His love and acceptance is unconditional. When your walk of faith is strong, God loves you. When your walk of faith is weak, God loves you (accepts you). When you're strong one moment and weak the next, strong one day and weak the next, God loves you. God's love for you is the great eternal constant in the midst of all the inconsistencies of your daily walk.
God wants us to do good, of course. The apostle John wrote: "I write this to you so that you will not sin" (1 John 2:1-2 NIV). But John continued by reminding us that God has already made provision for our failure so His love continues constant in spite of what we do: "But if anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
The biggest reason Satan is able to gain an advantage in the life of a true Christian when it comes to issues of sin is that they don't realize it is God's IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS that God gives them freely of charge when they allowed Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. Here is a short writing on The Judgment Day that will challenge Christians to see THEIR righteousness verses Christ's FREELY imputed righteousness to them that will send Satan the accuser PACKING when they are tempted to believe Satan's lies that they have failed God because of sin!
How many times does God tell us to forgive those who have sinned against us who asks our forgiveness?:
Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'
Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV)
The point God wants us to get in the above scripture passages is that there is NO LIMIT TO HOW OFTEN WE ARE TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO ASK US FOR FOR FORGIVENESS, which really means: It's our WILLINGNESS to forgive that God is after. (Though forgiving someone doesn't mean they are necessarily freed from punishment the judge gives them for breaking civil law ... say as example -- someone murders someone you love. You are to forgive that person if they ask you to, [Or if you feel strongly you need to, as the Holy Spirit impresses you to, even without their asking you to - for your OWN spiritual and emotional good] but that doesn't assume you don't want that person having to serve a life sentence for breaking the law).
AND SO: God would NEVER ask us to do something He's not FIRST willing to do Himself. He will forgive US 7 x 70 x 700 x 7000 x 70000 x ... if we'll keep asking Him to. Don't let Satan get you believing He won't. (Yet again -- just because God keeps forgiving us when we ask Him to doesn't necessarily mean there will be no consequences for our sinning, depending on the sin(s) we've committed. Example: Our spending life in prison for murdering someone).
Sin COSTS! Don't ever think it DOESN'T (It cost God's life on the cross!) ... yet it won't cause us to lose our salvation if we will simply ask Him to forgive us of the sin, and you don't need to ask TWICE! Once for each sin is totally sufficient. The ONLY thing that can cause us to lose our salvation is turning our back on trusting Jesus Christ ALONE to forgive us for our sins and seeking to have them forgiven some other way [Which Hebrews 10:26 addresses. What Hebrews 10:26 is specifically addressing is Jews who once believed that sacrificing animals to cover their sins that the Old Covenant law dictated was STILL in force by God and so trusting Jesus Christ ALONE to forgive their sins really wasn't necessary afterall because the shedding of HIS innocent blood on the cross for theirs sins no longer mattered like they once believed. Their "continuing to sin" once they had first been enlightened to the Truth of what Jesus accomplished on the cross was the sin of UNBELIEF] and/or -- having to do nothing with Him anymore right up until we die -- meaning we no longer even CARE whether we sin or not nor what Jesus Christ thinks about it.
I'll say it another way: If we could CARE LESS what God accomplished for us on the cross, that falls into the category of blatant apathy. Most people on this planet walk around in various degrees of blatant apathy. Their anger toward God (because God allowed [or didn't allow] something to happen in their life that triggered their anger toward Him) is more often than not the reason for their apathy (Coldness toward Him). That's why "many are called, but few are chosen". Everyone qualifies for their sins to be forgiven whereby being granted FREE salvation ... but most could care less, the Bible tells us. Those that DO care and do something about it -- they are the ones God calls "The chosen". They have "chosen" to believe God's Truth.
Important Tip: The wise Christian prays and asked God to give them such and such -- DO such and such. If God doesn't grant them their desire ... they REFUSE to grow angry at God. Rather - they make a decision to continue trusting and walking with Jesus Christ because their faith lies in their believe that God knows WHAT'S BEST for them in every situation they encounter as HE determines is best.
The conflict we have with Him is that we want to try to convince Him what WE believe is best for us, don't we? Spoiled, selfish kids throw their temper tantrums when they don't get what THEY want, don't they? We adults begin to reject God and grow cold and rebellious toward Him when WE throw our angry, vengeful temper tantrums in our relationship with Him.
God is far more after character growth in each of our lives than giving us everything we would like to get from Him, because character growth affects our ETERNITY. The sooner we come to grips with this fact, the greater faith we'll have in trusting Him as Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us to always do.
One more thing needs to be said about Hebrews 10:26. Satan loves to get a young Christian so focused on that very scripture that they fail to grasp what the same writer of Hebrews had to say about sin two chapters later in Hebrews 12:1. The point God wants us to get is that He wants us to work diligently through the power of Jesus Christ available to each of us to stop giving place to the same sin or sins we keep getting ensnared by -- giving place to, yet there is no condemnation by Him if we do, as Romans 8:1-2 promises us:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Yet to fully grasp Romans 8:1-2, one needs to go back and read the entire Chapter of Romans 7. The apostle Paul is writing about the normal Christian life in Chapter 7 -- the tug-a-war between sinning and not sinning -- wanting to do right in our relationship with Jesus Christ but falling short. Satan works hard at trying to get us to essentially give up when we fall back into sin. He wants us believing lies God doesn't want us believing. God NEVER wants us believing that we can never again be forgiven by Him for our sinning. God will NEVER stop forgiving us ... as long as we keep asking Him to. He wants us having unshakeable peace in the matter. 1 John 1:9 is His promise from the start of our walk with the Lord until our time is done on this planet. 1 John 1:9 covers our past, present and FUTURE sins we've yet to commit!
(Here is an excellent writing on this topic of sin in a believer's life:
I hope you can catch a hugely important glimpse of just how intent Satan is to try to mess with our belief mechanism in regards to what Jesus accomplished for humanity by giving His sinless life on the cross for our eternal salvation - the complete and total forgiveness of ALL our sins ... ALL our life.
Anyone who questions whether they are "truly saved, or ever WAS truly saved, or has now lost their salvation" - I highly encourage them to read: Who Is A True Christian?
God wants us SECURE in our salvation - Satan wants us INSECURE; UNCERTAIN. Satan keeps us insecure - uncertain - by believing his lies. He likes to reinforce those lies by using "Christians" to teach spiritual perversion of Christian doctrinal Truths. He often accomplishes that by getting us to focus on one solitary scripture passage at the EXCLUSION of any/all others. Furthermore, he wants to keep us in the dark that it requires the HOLY SPIRIT to give us full, balanced understanding of what is written in the Bible. Here's a for instance: Being water baptized is a commandment of God for every believer who is able to be water baptized, but it is NOT going to affect our Salvation and acceptance of God (His total forgiveness) in spending eternity with Him if we aren't able to be water baptized. The thief on the cross is our biblical mandate in the matter. There was no opportunity for him to be water baptized. Furthermore, every day around this planet since Jesus went back to heaven, someone is turning their life over to Jesus Christ in their last moments on earth. We call those "death-bed conversions." If water baptism is MANDATORY to be okay with God the Father and God the Son just prior to dying, then we can throw out ALL "death-bed conversions" as being conversions acceptable to God.
Back to Satan's strategies. This needs to be reinforced: If Satan can tempt us to grow angry at God and STAY angry with God, he knows that hardens our heart (desensitizes us to the Holy Spirit) and helps motivate us to decide to turn our backs on Jesus Christ as well. Don't let Satan do that to you! DON'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a dangerous place to stay at for very long!
Another of Satan's tactics: Satan wants you thinking and believing that you are supposed to attain sinless perfection in this life if you're truly a Christian. GOD WANTS US ALWAYS WORKING AT TRYING TO RESIST TEMPTATION TO SIN, BUT KNOWS WE'LL NEVER WALK IN 100% VICTORY PRIOR TO DYING. If a Christian COULD, then we would not have needed Jesus to take the punishment for sins, would we? No Christian ever has obtained sinless perfection prior to dying, certainty not for any length of time, that is. (For example: You might have a death-bed salvation conversion, and never sin before dying moments later, but that's not the point here).
Understanding the truth that God forgives all of our past, present, and future sin - all the time; every time - is so important. Here is a link that can help the reader realize just how complete the sacrifice of Christ on the cross fully WAS and IS:
Sometimes a Christian may wonder if they have committed "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" and therefore will not be forgiven by God ever again. This link addresses that issue well: What is the unpardonable sin? I am afraid I may have committed it.
Another area that some former Christian believers face is turning themselves over to Satan worship, or some false religion that mocks (dismisses; downplays) Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross for humanity by dying for them so that they are fully acceptable to God, here is an excellent testimony that can help people understand that Jesus will always take a person back who is truly sorry for what they have done:
You can READ this person's testimony by clicking on this link, but it is highly recommended that the reader ALSO watch her video: Jesus Get Me Out Of This Hell!
God wants Christians understanding that practicing on-going sin is a very serious issue with Him. We must never fail to realize this truth. Yet Satan's strategy is to constantly try to get a Christian to sin and THEN try to convince them that somehow ... some way ... God's love (acceptance) for them has now been diminished. Truth: God's love for us is totally UNCONDITIONAL. Our sin does NOT cause God to love (accept) us any less. Romans 8:31-39 assures us of it.
Yet to get our attention when we engage in on-going sin, God will sometimes withhold FAVOR of various sorts from us. A loving parent does that to a rebellious child for the child's ultimate good (And in some cases the parent's SANITY!). A loving parent (caring for that child's healthy upbringing) has no recourse but to withhold certain favor from a rebellious child until that child shows willingness to begin obeying.
Some half-warm half-cold Christians often wonder WHY things seem to go right for some Christians, but don't go right for THEM personally. God will often withhold His favor (much of a person's lifetime if need be) if they don't decide to give ALL their heart -- ALL their affection and devotion to Jesus Christ. God isn't going to allow people with Him in heaven for eternity to be half-warm half-cold toward Him. The sooner we realize how important it is to Him to place Him FIRST in our lives on a consistent basis and everything else second ... the sooner God looks for ways to begin showering us with His favor as He determines is good for our spiritual growth and intimate relationship - devotion - with and to Him.
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