In last week's blog, we talked about what the Bible has to say about sex. Of course, the result is people asking the question, “Why is the Christian church so obsessed with sex? What does the church care what happens in the privacy of my bedroom?”
The answer is simple. While the Bible does talk about sexual purity, it is far from the ONLY sin the Bible addresses.
The Bible teaches that we need to overcome ALL sin in our lives.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
(Galatians 5:19-21, ESV)
Notice, it isn’t just about sex. The Bible also talks about overcoming:
Fighting with other people
Fits of rage.
In other places the Bible calls stealing, murder, lying, pride, gluttony, hatred, and covetousness a sin.
Obviously, we aren’t going to take the time to list every sin in the Bible. We’re just making the point that the Bible is concerned about every part of people’s lives. As Christians, the ongoing process of sanctification requires that we are constantly trying to overcome ALL sin in our lives, and become more like Jesus.
It’s important to understand that sanctification doesn’t just mean we “put off sin”. We are also supposed to “put on” Christ-like character traits.
That’s why Galatians 5 doesn’t end with a list of sins to avoid but it continues to tell us what we should be “putting on”.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV)
Just like you wouldn’t take off your dirty clothes and walk about town naked, as you are overcoming sin in your life, you need to replace those actions with Christlike actions.
For instance, as we overcome anger, we put on an attitude of forgiveness, grace, and kindness.
We replace envy with thankfulness for what we have.
Pride is replaced with humility.
Sanctification isn’t just eliminating things from your life. It’s replacing them with new, better attitudes. It’s about laying aside your old self and embracing your life new in Christ.
As it says in Ephesians 4:22-32:
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
It's the "great exchange"--we "put off" sin and "put on" Christ's character. It's God's plan for His followers.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."