Stopping Sin Is Not Magic

Sin is a terrible, persistent enemy. We are told to be standing in the armor of God and watching and praying all the time. Sin doesn’t stop; unfortunately, our spiritual motivation does.

When our spiritual motivation wanes, sin pounces. Sin lies at the door, waiting for you to drop your guard.

There is an idea floating around Christianity, which I think started with John Wesley, or at least came out of some of his ideas, that there is a second birth, or a second conversion that fully delivers you from experiencing sin.

The idea goes like this:

A person gets saved and yet sin still reigns supreme in their life. They reach a point of desperation, an emotional angst that breaks out all at once and leads to a second work of the Holy Spirit, a second conversion where you are now filled for good with the Holy Spirit and conscious sin ceases.

(I say “conscious sin” because this was sort of Wesley’s idea: a believer might still sin, it would just be a sin he was unaware of. He would never knowingly sin. Some theories eliminate all sin, but most have this Wesleyan idea included.)

I’ve met believers who claim to have had this experience, and I’ve met many more who have heard the stories and deeply desire this experience.

I mean, who wouldn’t?! This sounds dreamy! All my fleshly lusts suddenly disappear! I no longer have a desire to do the sins that dragged me down for years! This sounds truly magical. No fuss, no muss, no struggle, just POOF! Sin and its desires are gone!

There is much magical thinking in Christianity. The thing that keeps us sinning is our deep desire to do it. If I could just get rid of that desire once for all, everything would be cured.

Indeed. Again, I do think that through spiritual growth the desire can be killed off. I think this is real and true. I also think it comes through years of battle.

It does not happen in one magical moment or through one deeply emotional crisis.

The Bible does not speak in these terms. I know there are personal stories of this happening, maybe it could, but expecting it sets you up for discouragement.

The Bible speaks as life being a fight and a long race to be run. It does not speak in magical terms about the fight not seeming like a fight or the race not seeming like a race because magic zapping occurred.

There’s a fight. Don’t buy the idea that magic cure-all moments occur. This sounds more like a fleshly, worldly desire than a biblical expectation. Everyone wants the get rich quick scheme. Sounds too good to be true, primarily because it aint true.

Sin is a persistent enemy; it will not stop. One major thing keeping us looking ahead with hope is deliverance, final, victorious deliverance from this body of death.

You can enjoy this deliverance in part now by growing spiritually. You really can defeat sin, and sin less. But until we receive our glorified bodies, sin will remain an active force to be dealt with.

Run to win.

2 thoughts on “Stopping Sin Is Not Magic”

  1. Whilst I agree with you, Jeff, you might have just finished as well positively by saying that the antidote is for us to fall more in love with Jesus, since then we will not want to crucify him afresh?

  2. I might have, but instead I went with looking ahead. Not that you are wrong by any means, but I often see the Bible pointing us ahead when it comes to motivation in doing right at the present time.

    Plus, for me, telling people to “fall more in love with Jesus” is kind of an open-ended, fru-fru, I have no idea what that means practically, application! No offense, that’s just me, probably my personality. I don’t know what that means. Care to elaborate on how a person would do that?

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