12 Feb 2001

Entangled by Sin in Hebrews

Submitted by theshovel
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Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

A question came up recently using the above verse to put forth a very familiar premise. It claimed:

The keyword here is US. You see, sin in your life will not only hinder your fellowship with God, it will dull your spirit and cause you to be less responsive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Sin left unchecked will cause you to live only in the natural realm, and you'll miss God's plan for your life.

Now, there is something very important to notice about Hebrews 12 - it comes AFTER 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 AND 11. Now, you may consider this a minor technicality, but are you aware of the sin discussion that was going on especially in chapters 8-11? The whole letter to the Hebrews is a contrast between the Law and Christ, the Old and the New. The Law is described as being glorious, but Christ as being INFINITELY better (that's a lot more than really better). Chapters 8-11 are dealing with why the old covenant NEEDED to be replaced with a new covenant from the standpoint of the effectiveness of the sacrifices. The law had no effect in removing sin,

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins Hebrews 10:4

Somehow we think we understand this simply because we don't sacrifice animals on altars anymore, but then WHY do we still have ALTARS in our churches if they're not needed anymore? Did you realize that the altar of the new covenant was the CROSS? What is it that was sacrificed on THIS altar? The perfect sacrifice of the perfect lamb.

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. And every priest stands DAILY ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins; but He, having offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOR ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward 'until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.' For by ONE offering He has perfected for ALL TIME those who are sanctified Hebrews 10:10-14

We may say, Yes, yes, I KNOW all this, but it is obvious that we don't. Because if we did, then we would know what was meant by "the sin that so easily entangles us". Why is this so difficult to understand? Because sin SO EASILY ENTANGLES US, that's why! Listen, if Christ has removed sin from us, and us from our sin, then there really is NO REMEMBRANCE OF SIN. And this is the whole point of the writer having TWICE quoted the passage from Jeremiah 32 about the coming of the new covenant:

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: 'I will put My laws UPON THEIR HEART, and UPON THEIR MIND will I write them,' He then says, 'And their SINS and their LAWLESS DEEDS I will remember NO MORE.' Hebrews 10:16-17

That was the quoting of Jeremiah 32:33-34. The writer then adds,

Now where there is FORGIVENESS these things, there is NO LONGER ANY OFFERING FOR SIN. Hebrews 10:19

The connection? Simple. Even though the reality of the once and for all forgiveness sins is 100% taken care in Christ, WE, just like they, keep falling for the lie that somehow it is STILL left up to US to deal with those same sins that Jesus has already removed through HIS sacrifice!! In other words, we're still trying to make sacrifices and offerings for our sins - which is why our churches keep building altars. What I'm saying is that we are being lied to by law-mongers to ignore this complete removal of sins, and in doing so, we become entangled by sin even though it has been taken away. And in our desperation we makes empty vows and promises, and we do the unthinkable of rejecting the sacrifice of Christ by begging God over and over to do what He has already done! Hebrews 11 presents the great cloud witnesses. Of what did they witness? FAITH. Don't miss the impact, for even though these witnesses lived before the coming of the perfect sacrifice, most of them lived under the law. The point?

The law is not of faith. Galatians 3:12

And they all knew that. So, exactly what did faith in these witnesses witness? That there truly was a miraculous life OUTSIDE the realm of law and sin!!

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside EVERY ENCUMBRANCE, and THE SIN WHICH SO EASILY ENTANGLES US, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND PERFECTER OF FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, AND HAS SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. Hebrews 12:1-2

We get so easily entangled with sin because we keep running to the thing that stimulates sin: LAW! You see, there is a problem in taking on the responsibility of dealing with our sins, and that is that we SUCCEED ... and end up DEALING WITH OUR SINS!! Why do we keep dealing with that which Christ has already dealt?

Old Testament: 


Hi Jim!

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1"

Jim would it be safe to say that the writter is saying that the "encumbrances" are tied into the practicing of the law and it's rituals?


theshovel's picture

Hello Adam!

Considering that Hebrews presents Christ as superior to the Law in every way, it's hard to see the encumbrances as not related to a return to the Law and its practices. :)


Yeah I was tossing that around in my mind..sort of intuitively seeing this to be what he[ or i guess she] was saying. It just fits you know? I mean all those encumbrances and stumblers, those rituals and sacrifices and alms and payments and lamenting..they are all encumbrances to the fixing our eyes on Him, this Author of our faith.[and what is it to "fix" on something? Isn't letting go and dropping all other encumbrances? What would he be describing as encumbrances other than the Law here?] The same faith that he seems to be going on and on about through the descriptions of the patriarchs and prophets that were being carried along WITHOUT the law, though under it. Really neat!! I am still peedering around in Hebrews right now so this is wonderfully helpful brother!


PS: I totally see what you mean about the first part of the letter directly addressing the fact that they ahd been viewing the Christ according to the flesh. Don't we STILL do that???!!!

theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Mark L

Hello, Jim.

I agree that the law doesn't do anything except spawn more sin. Interesting take, that the "weight" of Heb. 12:1 might in fact be the law. Thought-provoking. At times your writings leave things unsaid which, coming from someone else, might cause me to suspect a gnostic philosophy. I know you better, so I'm curious. Do you write in an open-ended manner for a deliberate reason? I often finish reading a Shoveletter by saying "And...?!" :-) Believers still wrapped in mortal flesh commit sins. On this, all agree. Sin is still to be avoided, no? I don't believe it can be ignored any more than I believe self-determination or guilt from the law can be used to control it. What counsel do you offer someone who is engaged in continuing sin? I face that question now, with a couple in our small group Bible study. They live together, but are not married. They claim that grace allows this. I disagree. I believe that sexual immorality is a crime they commit against themselves, and I wish to help them stop hurting themselves. They wear grace as an excuse for their sin. Any thoughts on how to penetrate that?


~~~~~|||||) Hello, my dear friend and brother M.L., :)
Haha, you ASSUME that I'm leaving things unsaid! Sure, I KNOW that many of the things I write will APPEAR open-ended - that is, AS IF I'm deliberately NOT finishing the thought - but the fact is that the answer to those unanswered questions are right there in front of your eyes. That probably sounds "open-ended", doesn't it? :) Don't worry, I'm not leaving it there.

Now, when you suggest this of my writings aren't you overlooking most of the writings of the New Testament? Let's face it, there is more debate over the meaning of these writings than over just about anything else. Did they do that on purpose? :) We have read our Bibles for years and ended up wondering "Why did he write it like that?", or "Why didn't he seem to answer the question?", or "Why didn't God make this clear enough so that there wouldn't be so much disagreement on it?". But then we go back and often discover that we simply overlooked the thing we thought missing. You know what I'm saying.

So, do I know that I'm presenting things and asking questions that come across as unanswered? You bet. But I also know that as long as I'm presenting the good news of Christ without apology and without compromise then I know there is no real way to get around it ... even if I wasn't trying to stimulate my readers into questioning every aspect of their lives through Christ.

The answer to all of the questions you have asked in your letter are found in the simple reality of us having been freed from the law of sin and death and now made alive in Christ through His Spirit. Don't worry, I am glad for the opportunity to address each one of the questions you raised because I want you to see it as I do in Christ.

Okay, here we go. You stated dogmatically: «Believers still wrapped in mortal flesh commit sins. On this, all agree.»

My question is: all WHO agree? M.L., have you really thought this through, or are you simply grasping for a disclaimer to help support the ongoing confusion found in trying to curb our rampant sin? Yeah, I hear your objections. Heck, I even taught you some of those objections, remember? :) You know, the truth is I think you really HAVE thought this through, and that you are merely struggling with the life that is within YOU, and not really with me, ya think?

John states that it is those who confess their sins who are forgiven. I'm not only NOT denying that, I see his whole argument built upon this enlightenment and honesty in those who actually call sin for what it is. We have forgotten just how MIRACULOUS it is to actually know what sin is. Do you realize that those who are truly blind have no real concept sin even though they develop and teach intricate morality systems (many them "Biblical")? Why do we assume that the blind are referring to the same thing we are when we speak of sin?

But John doesn't leave it there, does he? No, for as he develops his thoughts he makes it clear that the forgiven ones are NOT defined by the sins they confess. I think you know what I'm talking about because the middle section of John's letter is generally avoided at all cost by those who have adopted a "grace emphasis" (yeah, you know me well enough to realize that I'm making a distinction by that phrase - more on that later). Your statement leaves no room at all for the profound reality John describes: "No one who is born of God sins, because His seed abides in him; and he CANNOT sin, because he is born of God." (1 John 3:9). Let me ask you: Does this give you confirmation in your view of sin ... or merely more confusion? So, if John is to be used as one of the everybody who agrees on your premise, you must see his points in view this of startling statement. Yes?

Now, Paul also described his fall into sin (through the law, of course) in Romans 7, where he wrote of doing the evil he did not want to do and not doing the good he wanted to do. We might establish your point here with Paul's words, but then what do we do with the fact that Paul comes to the conclusion: "So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me." and then, "But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which indwells me."? Was this an attempt to make an excuse for these sins? Not at all, for his whole discussion is one of the most honest displays in naming the sins that were going on inside him during this time. But while he made this huge distinction that it is no longer HE that is doing the sin, you seem to hold to a bottom-line that demands we ARE the ones performing the sin.

Are you following me? If we both observe problems in the lives of believers, making it obvious that "sin is in the camp" - or as Paul put it: "if a man is caught in any trespass" - are we to counsel according to the logic of this world (which is a religious logic, to be sure) or does the good news of the finished work Christ really have any insight into it? I do believe you think it SHOULD, but I also think you wonder how it CAN without being used as an excuse.

I'm telling you M.L., this has everything to do with why it seems as if I leave the gut-level "real-life" questions hanging ... and why you have such a hard time with the inclusion of sin into your grace equation. You know what always amazes me? As I have addressed this exact issue MANY times (it seems as if it's all I write about) I am repeatedly presented with the exact same objections AS IF I might not have considered them. :) M.L., I'm not saying this in a derogatory manner at all, but instead in wonder and awe at the miraculous nature of the wisdom of God, and the inability of our logical mind to digest it.

You ask: « Sin is still to be avoided, no? » What kind of a question is that? Paul would say: "HOW shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:2)" He didn't ask his question as if it was a MORAL issue, but as whether it was EVEN A REMOTE POSSIBILITY! Don't you see that even your QUESTION about avoiding sin is found in the logic that life that has not passed from death into life? Is it OKAY to sin? That is the question of those who are dead in their trespasses and sins who are looking for a way to feel okay about what they do!

The fact is that those who are born of God ABHOR sin. Paul speaks of this reality in saying, "the things of which you are NOW ashamed (Romans 6:21)". So, why does this not SEEM to be the case in so many Christians? Now, don't rule out the possibility that some of these "professing" believers may merely be religious, but there is a very real reason why one who is alive in Christ may appear to be anything BUT ashamed of sin. Any guesses? How about our old friend, THE LAW? I'll bet you think I pin too much on the law, huh? :) But consider, it is law that stimulates sin, and sin that takes advantage of the law! What a partnership.

«I don't believe it can be ignored any more than I believe self-determination or guilt from the law can be used to control it.»

I hear this mentioned all the time, but who has ever suggested IGNORING sin? There is a HUGE difference between not making sin the object of your focus and ignoring it. The ironic part of all this is that the true nature of sin is actually ignored by focusing on it. Did you follow that? :) What I'm saying is that having been transferred into the kingdom of Christ we have been given to understand - in very real ways - that sin is simply the outworking of the old empty life as it seeks to find anything but God to fill its emptiness. The perversity of this old empty life and the effects of its outworking is what is understood within us as shameful. In focusing on sin, we force "sins" to take precedence, and try as we may we cannot get around the categorizing of these sins based on degrees of badness based on our own individual backgrounds, preferences and beliefs. Degrees of badness insinuates that measures of goodness are off-setting the amount of evil in any particular sin. Whoa!! In the confusion, the true nature of sin is ignored. It has become such a habit to us within the mush of our law-based perspectives that we don't even realize that we are doing it.

I used to wonder why Paul spoke so much about sin in the letter of 1 Corinthians. You know, like what's up with that? But the more I looked at the letter the more I realized that Paul was taking the actual real-life outworking of sin among them and consistently describing how it came about that the "wisdom of the world" as preached by their arrogant leaders was causing them to miss the reality of Christ in their daily living. How does LAW play into this? Why else do you think he inserted that potent statement toward the end of the letter, "The sting of death is SIN, and the POWER OF SIN IS THE LAW; but thanks be to God, who gives us the VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! (1 Cor 15:56&57)" of course what happened among them was brought about by law. I think one of the major realities we miss from this document is that law doesn't have to announce itself as being law in order for it to do the damage. We have somehow gotten the idea that what happened to the Corinthians was that so-called OTHER extreme known as "licentiousness" as opposed to "legalism". How bogus. It IS law that brings license, and only Christ who brings freedom. But we will miss it every time we ignore the basic premise of all he wrote to them: "For I determined to know NOTHING AMONG YOU EXCEPT CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED." (1 Cor 2:2).

Now, I'm encouraged by your opening comment « I agree that the law doesn't do anything except spawn more sin.» and then here where you say that you don't believe «self-determination or guilt from the law can be used to control it (sin)». I'm a little curious as to why you are not putting this thing together to answer your own question below (though it IS an excellent question).

«What counsel do you offer someone who is engaged in continuing sin? I face that question now, with a couple in our small group Bible study. They live together, but are not married. They claim that grace allows this. I disagree. I believe that sexual immorality is a crime they commit against themselves, and I wish to help them stop hurting themselves. They wear grace as an excuse for their sin. Any thoughts on how to penetrate that?»

This will be long, but it has everything to do with your question.

"Brethren, even if a man is caught up in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourselves, lest you too be tempted." - Galatians 6:1

An often-used verse, to say the least. Every preacher has a sermon about dealing with those who are caught up in sin, huh? But somehow we read the words and we're still left wondering how to deal with those who are breaking the law. By the way, did you notice that Paul used the phrase "caught in any TRESSPASS" as opposed to saying "caught up in sin"? It is a VERY important distinction to make in the understanding of the verse, in the same way the word, "even" is crucial. "Brothers, EVEN if a man is caught up in any TRESSPASS ..."

There is something else that is just as important. Whereas we think these are Paul's instructions on how to deal with those people we see breaking commandments, it has as much to do with we who are noticing the problems. "...looking to YOURSELVES, lest YOU too be tempted. BEAR one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone THINKS HE IS SOMETHING when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his OWN work, and then he will have reason for boasting in himself ALONE, and NOT in regard to another. For each one shall bear his own load." - Galatians 6:1-5"

So, why does he say "trespass"? Simple, Paul's whole argument up to this point was all about what happens when the freedom of Christ is set aside in favor of living by the same old principles of the world, which are the same as those found in the law ("the weak and worthless elemental things" - 4:9). These believers had fallen for the lies of the law-preachers and as a result had begun to demonstrate the only possible effects of such a perspective: the works of the flesh. Instead of the former miraculous love that had been operating among them they were now tearing one another apart in legal contentions designed to prove who was more spiritual. They had turned grace into something else, their freedom had become an opportunity - a welcome mat for the flesh. Their whole life had become infected by the same bondage they lived under before the promise came to them. The problem was not with grace, it was what they had turned grace into. There is nothing to fear regarding freedom, but with the turning of freedom into law. Both grace and freedom have been maligned because we really think that the legal redefinition of them is valid. It was simply that they were still using the GUISE of grace and freedom, but it was nothing but a life of bondage as one requirement led to another. And with the more rules and regulations (even Biblical ones) came more trespasses. And this is how we still view and react to one another in most Christian circles.

So, "EVEN if any man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;" In saying, "you who are spiritual" do you think he is suggesting that some believers are spiritual while others are not? Bogus. Instead, I see a double sense in his use of this word at this juncture. First, based on Paul's constant insistence, ALL these believers were of "the Spirit", and in bringing this "calling" into play here he has caused a dramatic tension. If we are indeed of the Spirit (as we have been previously convinced) then what does this demand of us when we consider a man caught up in breaking laws? That since "trespasses" have to do with law then the real problem here is LAW.

But I also see a twist to this as I am sure that along with holding to the form of "grace" and "freedom" that they also rated their "spirituality" by comparing themselves one with another. And so this turned the tables on those who CONSIDERED themselves "spiritual" in the battle of comparisons. Are you following? "For if anyone THINKS he is something when he is nothing". To see oneself as spiritual within the legal "grace" framework they had been operating under was a "nothing" position. It was a bogus concept. This is why Paul said to "let each one examine his OWN work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and NOT in regard to ANOTHER." This idea of spirituality is only possible under the fleshly structure measurement. But if one were to discover the REASON to boast "in regard to himself alone" then he has not found a premise based on performance, but that which is only in Christ! "...just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." Which means that as we are seeing that "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me," that we are boasting in Christ, who IS our life.

What is the "law of Christ"? Love. That is, REAL love from the very life of Christ, who is in us. How is it fulfilled in this case? By BEARING one another's burdens. How does this fit here? It's obvious, once you keep it in context. The usual approach of those who see themselves as being "something" is to use some kind of rule they live by, or method, or Bible verse, or Biblical principle, or Biblical doctrine, etc, etc. And this does anything but to BEAR the burden ... it ADDS to it! The real problem is NEVER addressed by this approach.

What is it to "restore such a one in a SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS"? It's really not about the method of approach at all. Paul was in the process of restoring them in a spirit of gentleness even though many of the things he had written are not gentle in the sense we assume. Oh, we can learn the psychology of a "gentle" confrontation, but as long as we are offering the thing that brings DEATH it is NOT a spirit of gentleness. There IS only one Spirit of gentleness, and it is the very life of Christ as presented in the good news of the cross. If you are afraid that this approach avoids the real stuff that needs to be dealt with I can guarantee you that I have never had so much raw real-life dealings with people in my whole life. Bearing the burdens of law-bound believers through Christ alone will cause them not to be afraid to tell you what is REALLY behind most of the stuff you only assumed to be the real problem.

"Looking to yourselves, lest you too be tempted." Another bogus notion is that this refers to being cautious and strong lest you fall into the same sin. While it is true that the usual approach of counseling results in the counselor often falling into the exact same sin, this is just opposite what is being presented here. Law produces such a result, not life. He is indeed suggesting an examination ... but of what? Here's the simple bottom-line: believers who approach another with some principle of the flesh-based life - which usually appears very godly - will find that they are forcing themselves to operate under the same premise. In other words, consider YOURSELF, because if you go to your brother in view of his trespasses then that same law will appeal to you and pull you under.

This couple you refer to already knows what you think about their situation, and have already taken the defensive since they have justified themselves under the premise of "grace". Is your ultimate concern for them simply that they either get married or stop living together? Do you question grace simply because of how they use it? Are you afraid that more grace will only strengthen their resolve to stay together in spite of not being married? Do you find yourself reluctant to deal with them in grace since it may cause them to keep trespassing? Are you approaching them with principles more of blessing if they stop sinning? Do you approach them as if you have your act together in this area because you ARE married? If so, then you have only given them a basis upon which to view the areas of your life in which they see themselves as more spiritual.

M.L., if they have indeed turned grace into something that it is not then their problem is law and even in this they need to understand the reality of Christ in having removed us from the bondage of law and freed us into the freedom of Christ. If you hit them with principles then you are only adding to their burden and not bearing it ... and you will find yourself falling into the same mindset of "grace" rules. If they are operating as under law then any kind of a detailed study of their particular failing meant for their benefit will be of no effect.

Christ is the answer for His life is our freedom ... and that's freedom FROM sin, not freedom in trying to get out of it. Preach Christ and let the good news of His freedom break through all bondage!

Please, I want to hear back from you as I realize that this may only produce more questions from you.

Love, Jim


Posted: February 13, 2001 by Debbie

Thank you for clearing that up. I'm not sure if you've ever heard of Mike Williams but he talks about the same thing you've just touched on. As I've told you in a past e-mail we are attending a church for our children. They go to a Christian school and get points for church attendance.....I know, I know manipulation everywhere but they (the school and church which are both tied together) want everyone to continually waller in self hate and cleave to the altar of hope that we may attain a crown or maybe just some dignity...I don't know. Breaking away from the church (the modern day building) seems to be one of the hardest things to do without real persecution from the BRETHREN. THANKS FOR THE REMINDER.

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Linda

Hi Jim, My daughter, Stacey, was reading the same verses you have here and got so excited at the realization that the entanglement was in looking at the sin. Not the sin itself, a freeing revelation! Thanks again. Blessed in Jesus,

Posted: February 13, 2001 by WES

Jim, loved the latest shoveletter! It's like we're the highpriest, still at the physical altar, making sacrifices AFTER the perfect sacrifice has been made. Way after!! It reminds me of the WWII soldier who doesn't realize the war is over. Even years later, he sits in a foxhole, eating k-rations & shooting at anything that moves! He has no clue that it is finished. He thinks he's doing the right thing, when in reality he's totally lost! Then, someone gets through to him and tells him what's really going on. The poor guy jumps up out of the foxhole, shouts "Thank God!", throws his gun away, runs to a waiting vehicle and heads for his first hot shower in ten years...

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Sue M

Praise God, I do know and believe that He has marvelously dealt with our sin for all time, not only our sins but our sin ie our propensity to sin....question for you though...knowing that they are already forgiven, how do we deal with sin in our life now because we are saints who do still sometimes sin....what do you think?.....

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Phyllis

I Know I Know I have been lurking back here and just listening. I have not forgotten that I should write and tell you my thoughts because you always seem to hit upon what is on my mind. Ok so I procrastinated until here I go again for an experimental chemo. As I am sure you guessed it the last one took alot out of me and they are now going to try a new thing on the market. My point right now is to let you know that I will be taking , FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND PERFECTER OF FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, AND HAS SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD." Hebrews 12:1 & 2 with me as I go to the hospital this morning. Reading and talking with you have helped me so much because I had and still have a lot of trouble letting go of the "many" wrongs that I have done. Your letter timely as usual. God bless you In His Love

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Marcus

Jim This is a great study, keep up the great work Brother. Christ is Risen

Posted: February 13, 2001 by John

Jim, I really enjoyed this one again.

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Max

Hello Jim, Enjoyed the last Shovelletter.

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Anonymous

That settles it. You are a certifiable nut-case!

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Chris Whyte

Greetings From The WhyteHouse: GEEE, And I thought you were entangled in your roof! God Bless

Posted: February 13, 2001 by Neil

Jim, Interesting that you should send something on the entanglement aspect of sin on exactly the same day that I had been thinking along such lines ... Let's look at this in the light of reality. Now if God is no longer dealing with me according to my sins, why is that? It's because my sins have been taken away and I am clothed in Christ's righteousness. My sins haven't been covered-- they've been taken away. I sin...but He doesn't see those sins. They have been taken away and my nakedness has been clothed in Christ. So when God looks at me, he doesn't see me or my sins. He sees Christ. And if God isn't seeing my sins then who am I to be hauling them back out and trying to push them in front of His face like I'm proud of them? ... My dictionary defines "besetting" as something bothersome, troubling or annoying. We sin, but sin is no longer our master. Yet it desires attention and constantly tries to get us to pay attention to it. So it annoys us, irritates us. But since we are surrounded by the saints who have gone before us and no longer see our sin, why do we even give it any heed at all? They could easily see it when clothed in flesh like we still are and look at each other's sin. But that is no longer so with them. Paul tells us that dwelling on sin is a nettlesome thing that only holds us down. It has absolutely no power to affect our standing with the Lord or with the saints. So why put up with it's bothersome ways? Another example of Paul's absolutely right-on practical advice for living. Thanks, brother.

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