24 Jan 2004

Obligated to Sin?

Submitted by theshovel
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This issue of the Shoveletter comes from a reply to the below email I received today. I have a feeling that many are often snagged by this sense of obligation. Jim

am saved and believe in jesus. But i Keep on falling into this sin of adultery. i pray about it but i keep on repeating the same mistake. What do i do? Does it mean i am not saved? Please help.

Hello, my struggling friend ...

You don't just fall into a cycle of adultery as if it's some kind of accident, you set yourself up for it. However, the nature of this set up is so mystifying to the religious mind that its solutions only complicate the matter and cause more confusion. You ask what you can do about it, but you need to realize that your attempts to control it have only kept the cycle going. Now, while you may doubt your salvation based upon your failures, I do not. Instead, I suspect the life in you simply will not accept a vicious sin-cycle as being the promised salvation Jesus brings.

Do you want to know what I really think? I think you still see yourself as being obligated to the thing you were delivered from, which is also why your prayers do nothing but reinforce the very lie that has been destroyed in Christ. Do you hear what I am saying to you? Your prayers are part of the grand delusion that keeps you in your struggle! While you may be hanging onto prayer as to a life-line, you apparently haven't noticed that the trusted rope you hold in your hand is free-falling with you. Ironically, we have been taught that such prayer is ineffective, that it does not accomplish anything, when in fact it does exactly what it demands.

After all, when you plead with God to keep you from falling into whatever sin you believe yourself to be trapped in, upon what basis do you present your case? Do you make promises in exchange for help? Do you profess your heartfelt desire to change? Do you beg God to make you new? Do you grovel before Him as an unworthy sinner? Do you suppose that by regularly admitting to God how bad you are that you will somehow escape your inclination to sin? These are not requests to the living God, they are only desperate expressions of hopelessness. And such prayer effectively locks us into an unending struggle, as the one you describe.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- Romans 8:12

The truth is that as long as you assume you are obligated to perform the desires of the old life - the one that was destroyed on the cross of Christ - you are asking God to break a sin-cycle He already delivered you from! So then, what God - other than the God of our imaginations - are we praying to who could overlook everything accomplished in Christ in order to accommodate the kind of requests we throw at him? Though we may view ourselves according to the flesh from time to time, God is not under any such confusion.

Jim Minker

New Testament: 


theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Jan-24-04 by Robert Pooley

I think the new format is great but, I think your handle on Jesus and sin are even better.

<<< am saved and believe in jesus. But i Keep on falling into this sin of adultery. i pray about it but i keep on repeating the same mistake. What do i do? Does it mean i am not saved? Please help. >>>




Posted: Jan-24-04 by Pointman

Beautifully stated and every single word is the living, loving truth. I used to be trapped in the same mindset for sometime until I realized that the Living Christ in me had done away with all that garbage and was/is leading me into the fullness of Himself. All of my pleading for forgiveness, strength to "stand" against/victory, etc., etc. was me trying to ease or appease my own guilty conscience by my "works". Then stepped in He who did away with all that garbage so that I could joyfully come into Their presence with thanksgiving and praise. Life is indeed good. Great answer Shackmeister

Posted: Jan-24-04 by Neil Larkins

As for the brother mentioned in today's Shovel, Paul sums it up nicely and oh, so aptly when he asks, "who will deliver me from this body of death?" and avows in triumph, "thanks be to God through Jesus Christ." No theological mumbo-jumbo; nothing more than a simple acceptance that in Christ is his answer, period. Regardless of what he is or does, perceived or reality, all is Christ.

Posted: Jan-25-04 by guest

Hi Jim,

This is a wonderful response to this person's dilemma. Reminds of that verse about "we died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?"

I remember a time before I found my rest when I was attending a church with a friend who was taking some bible classes there. We both had the understanding that Jesus changes your life and the fruit therein, but struggled still in that legal mentality. She wanted to know what I thought about the fact that she was being taught in the bible class that we would always sin, there was no getting away from it, although living for Jesus would mean you still had to try and clean up your act. Even though I couldn't see it yet, I told her that I knew it was preposterous to keep believing in that sin nature. For what would have Christ died for if not for that? We both agreed to the hypocrisy involved in thinking those things about ourselves. Thanks be to God it isn't true. We live in grace land and the life we now live we live unto Christ and the death we died to that old man of sin was also in Christ. Therefore how can we live in it any longer? the answer: WE CAN"T! It's just a lie perpetrated by religion to keep us bound or should I say re bound because that is where that word came from. RE=back+ Legare=to bind.

Posted: Jan-26-04 by Steve

Thank you, Jim. I love the new format.... and your conciseness. Not too wordy, just the facts, and The Truth.

In His Glory, Mercy and Name,

Posted: Jan-26-04 by Natalie

Dear Jim,

I loved the shoveletter. :) Do you think the person who emailed you understood it though? I can picture this poor person wanting a concrete answer. Kind of like when you were here and I wanted you to tell me I was OK. :) We all seek answers when we have them. And I always wonder if God is thinking....But it is so simple...why can't they see?

Have a great day and thanks for the reassuring words of LIFE.
love, Natalie

Posted: Jan-29-04 by Judy

Enjoyed reading your response to the dear person who wrote to you as far as it went. Seems like it kind of left off the next step of again, how important what Jesus purchased for us is! That there is no condemnation and that the forgiveness has already been given and that part of our prayer life(to me the most IMPORTANT part) is to hold on to that thought and REALITY so that we can hear the dear, sweet, small voice that says, "It's ok, all has been overcome, and you receiving all that I have done is your greatest gift to Me." Love you and the shovelletter!!! Your sister in Christ....THANK GOD!!!! Judy

My responses to Natalie and Judy

Posted: Jan-29-04 by Charlie

Brother Jim:

Blessings to you and many thanks to our Dad for the Shovel! You and the site have brought so much life to me and my wife that words cannot express it. I can't wait to get to Heaven to shake your hand!

In regards to today's Shoveletter and an ongoing discussion/thought/Spirit-anointed meditation going on in my heart for some time: Would you let the concept of the "accountability group" (AG) fall into the same category as this brother or sister's prayer? I have felt like our Dad has been telling me for some time that it is just the transferrence of relying on someone else's flesh, rather than my own. I understand that Scripture says, "Confess your sins to one another" and I know that we are supposed to encourage, help, and edify our fellow followers of Christ, but I personally cannot reconcile the concept of the AG to help me keep out of sin. I have never actually tried being in one, but I have a difficult time submitting my life to the "authority" of another human. People that I know that are in an AG will say, "but its great to be able to call another brother on the phone if i am thinking about getting intothis sin and just having someone to talk to." My thought is that they are talking tothe wrong person...the Spirit is the one whom I believe is going to be the ONLY thing that will help me.

Your thoughts?

Grace and Peace to you and your family!

My response to Charlie

Posted: Jan-29-04 by Betty

Dear Jim: I think you are working just for me. I am the one who needs things easy. I keep resolving that I will get the hang of this machine, but it seems to from time to time confound me. So I thank you, dear man, for working to help me.

I did like what you said about going back into bondage ; that is a conscious choice we make. I too praise the Lord for doing such a complete and perfect work for all of us on the cross.

I can especially relate to the feelings of guilt, since I have been there in years past. It is a horrible way to live. Praise the Lord , that I finally saw; and I rejoice in Him each day.

May this be a year of much freedom for His people. Your articles are always so straight to the point and you make the point well. I do appreciate the work you put into it.

Be blessed in HIm,


Posted: Jan-29-04 by Nan

good question. good answer. if it were only that easy to change the way I look at things. I sure appreciate the way you are able to address
situations. Hope to see you guys soon.

Love, Nannette

Posted: Jan-29-04 by the shovel

Hello, my dear Nanette!

Actually, the easy part of the whole thing is to keep listening to BS we tell ourselves all day long, while what I suggest only finds reality in that which is impossible.

Love, Jim

Posted: Mar-06-07 by Dignz

Ah yes, the IMPOSSIBLE ... the MIRACULOUS ... GOD in Christ Jesus ...

... but wait ... in us? How believable is that?!

Oh wait ... IMPOSSIBLE ... MIRACULOUS ... GOD in Christ Jesus in us!!

So, the Believing is part and parcel with the New and Miraculous!

How subtle and easy it is to miss this ... to miss the miraculousness of the Newness of HIM in us!

It is so subtle and easy to miss that you can find yourself down the road in time and space in this experiential life here on planet Earth and realize you DID forget this! Sometimes you realize this not so far down the road, and even several times in a day! And how did it happen? How could it happen? Why would it even be able to happen at all?! Seems cruel doesn't it? Seems wasteful and shameful ...

... but alas! It is not! For nothing/no one of HIM is wasteful or shameful or lacking in any way at any time under any circumstance or situation! The Miracle is still the Miracle and there is miraculousness in the seeing, and the hearing, and the having of the mind and heart and voice of GOD! Miraculous is the very nature of GOD. It is not magic, which is tricksy and deceptive. It is real, genuine, and ALIVE! It is indeed GOD!

His very miraculous nature is that same Life Whom we have in Christ Jesus! "Oh the Miraculousness of me and we in He!"

Thank you sooo much for your encouragement! This was a wonderful response of LIFE! It was Compassionate, Accepting, Loving, Caring, Kind, Gracious, full of Hope and ... well ... Living!

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Random Shovelquote: Principle-based life (view all shovelquotes)

How do we keep reading the words meant as freedom from law and from a life based upon the principles as found in the world as if they were promoting it?   source