Hi, I’m Craig Smith, and I love addressing your questions about God, the Bible, following Jesus, and the church. Today, let’s explore a common query:
“I’ve accepted Jesus, but I still struggle with sin. Is there something wrong with me?”
It’s easy to think that once we say yes to Jesus and understand the Holy Spirit’s transformative power within us, we should instantly become perfect. However, that’s not the reality, and the Bible makes it clear that perfection is not God’s immediate expectation.
You Are Not Alone
If you’re a follower of Jesus but find yourself wrestling with sin, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. It’s entirely normal. A powerful verse to consider is Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This highlights our past sins alongside our current, ongoing struggles. And we, myself included, all do still fall short of the glory of God. However, that doesn’t sever our relationship with God, jeopardize our salvation, or kick us out of heaven.
Sin has always been part of the human experience, and until Jesus returns and transforms us completely, it will persist. Our sin does get in the way of us experiencing God’s love and the intimacy of that relationship, which is why we need to confess our sin, turn back to him and be forgiven of it, but our sin doesn’t end the relationship.
From Glory to Glory
In his letters, John emphasizes that claiming to be without sin is self-deception. We’re not there yet, but the Holy Spirit is actively changing us from the inside out, gradually making us less sinful — a process known as sanctification.
Justification, an immediate result of accepting Jesus, wipes our sins clean. What Jesus did on the cross and the forgiveness he bought for us is applied to our account and immediately our accounts wiped clean and the ledgers are zeroed out.
Sanctification, on the other hand, is a cooperative process with the Holy Spirit, resulting in gradual change over time. We become more interested in the things of God and less interested in the things that are not of God. It’s not a linear progression; it involves ups and downs, but the general trend is upward.
So, if you’re saved but still struggle with sin, it doesn’t mean something is profoundly wrong with you; it means you’re normal. The key is to continually confess sins, seek forgiveness, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit for ongoing sanctification.
Some may wonder if, since they’ll be forgiven anyway, it matters if they sin. However, a genuine relationship with God through Jesus will instill a desire to grow in righteousness. If there’s no such desire, it raises questions about the authenticity of the relationship.
On the other hand, it is perfectly obvious when a person is working with the Holy Spirit to become more holy. This is a person who exhibits their relationship with God through faith in Jesus and who, in spite of any personal failures, wants to become more holy and more righteous.
What is more natural and more wonderful than this, to be motivated because of what He did for you, because of his love for you and because he’s stirring up new desires in you. So if you wonder about yourself, check your motivation. Is your general trend upward? You might be doing better than you think!
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Credit | Craig Smith
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