Defined by Sin

Something struck me during last Sunday's sermon at SHEC from Tyler Velin (which you should definitely watch here if you haven't seen it.)

All too often in our lives, we define ourselves, or give ourselves a title, based on sin.  For example, how many "alcoholics" do you know, or "gamblers", "penny-pinchers", or "shopaholics"?  This is how many of us relate to one another, by declaring our loudest, most obvious sin, and planting it as a banner over who we are.  Now, maybe for the non-Christian, this title, or definition, is somewhat accurate.  After all, the Bible calls people "drunkards", "sloths", and "pagans". But how often do Christians continue to categorize and define themselves by their sin, rather than their perfect Savior?

"Sinners are defined by sin...saved sinners are defined by their Savior." - Tyler Velin

The Bible makes this clear in Romans 6:6 where it says "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin."

Now what this does not mean is that we simply cease to sin when we become a Christian. You're going to sin until the day you die. That's just the way it is. But as an unsaved nonbeliever, you have no ability to avoid sin and do what is right. Even the "good" things that you do are tainted by the curse. Once you become a believer though, God through the Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification in  you, thereby enabling you to turn away from sin.  

This is the better life on Earth that Jesus has for you, that you are no longer confined by the sins that previously defined you. You can now proudly and boldly proclaim that Jesus is your definition. He is the reason you are alive, the motivation for what you do, and the source of everything you have.

Before Jesus saved me, I would've defined myself like this...
"My name is Jesse, I drink a lot and don't take very many things seriously. I'm overweight, lazy, a college dropout, broke, and I've been to jail. I rely on having lots of friends to make me feel good about myself."

This is what that definition would look like now...
"My name is Jesse and I'm a child of God. I've been saved from death and hell by Jesus. He is perfect and holy and loving enough to come to Earth from his rightful throne in Heaven in order that He would die in my place for my sins. Then He came back to life, enabling me to live for Him and serve His kingdom forever."

Only a miracle of God could accomplish something like this. I don't have the ability to rewrite my entire life in the way that Jesus has. I simply couldn't do it on my own. The sins of my past no longer matter to who I am as a person and as a citizen of God's kingdom.


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