Stop expecting God to rid your life of sin. Take some Responsibility!
5 min Read:
As broken and sinful people, it is easy to recognize the struggle to lead a sinless life—to truly repent from sin the way our Messiah calls us to do. Naturally, most believers turn to our Heavenly Father and his flawless son in prayer asking them to take away their sins and help them to lead a more obedient life. Many times this comes in the form of begging and pleading for help through prayer (I know from experience). This natural reaction is exactly what one should do, flinging their sins on the altar before the Most High and pleading for His forgiveness through our Messiah and begging for his help to remove our sinful habits and desires from our whole being. Again, this is exactly what a son or daughter of the Almighty should do immediately. Unfortunately, many stop here.
What I mean is, there are many believers that tend to live a life that recognizes the importance of full repentance but expect our Father to take our burden right off our plate. Simply put, many who recognize their sin, and sincerely confess it to the Father through prayer, tend to stop there and expect the Father to take it from there. But is that the whole picture that scripture paints?
Scripture does tell us that Messiah came to remove our punishment of sin through his death, burial, resurrection. However, scripture makes it clear that our path to sanctification and full repentance requires a lot more effort on our part rather than putting it all on God's shoulders. Let me stress that again, this by no means takes away one's responsibility to confess their sins to our Father and beg for him to cleanse us and help guide us on our path of righteousness—because the scriptures are clear that Yehovah is the one that will finish the work he started in you. However, too often enough we fail to recognize the important role each of us must play in order to take part in the beautiful purification that our Father guides us through. Simply put, we are instructed to take the necessary steps towards repentance and are called to lean on our Father along the way. We must take the appropriate actions, but our loving Father will support us every step of the way, leading us by His Holy Spirit and Perfect Word as He guides us to walk in the image He created us to be: His image. Which is of course the image of His perfect and sinless son: Yeshua our Messiah.
The reality is, we are expected to take the proper steps and lead a righteous life. Again, don't get me wrong, we must ask our Father for help and he most certainly is there supporting us. However, it is our responsibility to exercise our free will to live as obedient children.
Let's take a quick look at the example of Cain and the power sin can have in our lives. In Genesis 4, we have the example of Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to our heavenly Father. Cain brings an offering of the fruit of the ground, whereas Abel brings an offering of his flock. Yehovah had regard for Abel's sacrifice but had no regard for Cain's sacrifice. This made Cain very upset and angry. Our Creator's response is very telling:
The LORD (Yehovah) said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it."
Such a profound lesson just 4 chapters into the Holy Bible. Our Father gently and lovingly reminds Cain that if he only does well—if he offers the correct sacrifice according to his instructions—he will be accepted. We can quickly see that Cain brought the wrong sacrifice for that particular offering. Grain, being the fruit of the ground, is an acceptable offering under certain circumstances, but in this particular instance the correct offering was to be a blood offering from the flock. Our Father's response, gentle and loving, reminds Cain that if he follows His instructions accordingly (attention to detail, in this case God's instructions), he will of course be accepted. In other words, Yehovah reminds Cain that if he is an obedient child, he will be happily accepted. Cain must take the correct actions.
Sin's desire is contrary to us... what does that mean? In order to discern a full answer, one must remember the words recorded shortly before this very account. We are made in the image of Yehovah, our Father. Sin is contrary to Him and His image, so rightfully sin is contrary to us since we are made in His image. Before sin entered the world, we walked in this sinless and perfect image. These instructions in Genesis 4 are given to equip us to live holy after sin entered the world. Cain committed sin by offering the wrong sacrifice, which was because of disobedience of our Father's instructions.
What was the consequence of Cain not keeping the instructions of his Father? His sin was crouching at the door waiting to devour him. Sin then had an open door to influence him. Yehovah lovingly warns Cain the dangers of sin and shines light on this open door. What is his instruction?
"And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it." You must rule over it. Right here in scripture, our Father is instructing us that it is our obligation to take rule over our sin—we are to rule over it before it rules over us. We must act. We must take control over our sin. We must ask for forgiveness for our sins, but more importantly, we must take control over them. Our Father instructs us to dominate our sin, whipping it into submission in order to stop living contrary to the image we were created. If we fail to do so, our sin will dominate us.
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4:8
The sin that was crouching at Cain's door... dominated him. Instead of heeding his Father's loving instructions to rule over sin, Cain left the door open for sin to rule over him. His anger towards his brother Abel did exactly what the Torah and our Messiah warns—it lead him to murder his brother.
"You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Yehovah." Leviticus 19:17-18
Sin ruled over Cain. What can we learn from his mistake? We can learn to heed the instructions of our loving Father. Yes, turn to him with your sins through confession, pleading for forgiveness. But do not forget His clear instructions:
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it." Genesis 4:6-7
How do we know what sin is so that we may confess and rule over it? John tells us that sin is lawlessness. The breaking of what Law? Yehovah's Law, the Law of Moses. Paul tells us that he only knew sin because the Torah showed him what sin was. Our perfect example that we are to follow in order to live a life of righteousness? Our flawless Messiah, Yeshua. We are to walk just like he walked, ruling over sin and dominating it! Being obedient children before the Most High, waiting for his return to be found without spot, or blemish, and at peace. Peace because we know that when we stumble, our Messiah is our advocate before the Father and grace covers us. Such a grace allows us to freely get up from our stumbling and take hold of our sin to rule over it!
It is up to us to be obedient children and rule over our sins. But just as we saw in Genesis 4, our Father will be there to support us. One way he has already supported us is by giving us His perfect instructions, His Torah (Law of Moses). Have you read His instructions recently? Are you striving to live a life that looks just like our Messiah's? Every time our Messiah was tempted with sin, he rejected it and thus ruled over it. Are you ruling over your sin just as he did? Our heavenly Father told us that his instructions—the Law of Moses—is not too difficult for us and that we can do them (Deuteronomy 30:11). John echoes this understanding when he proclaims that the commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). Will we believe the lie that the Law of Moses is too difficult? Or will we accept our Heavenly Father at His word and ask Him to send His helper to guide us to keep them?
I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Sean is a former Atheist who was finally awoken to the reality of our Creator—which lead him to the one place he thought he would never step foot: “Bible College.” During his studies, our Heavenly Father flipped his Christian worldview upside down in order to reveal the Whole truth of His perfect Word. As a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Sean encourages believers to deepen their faith, seek the truth, test everything, and be willing to walk in the true image they were created: the image of the Most High and his flawless son.