1 John 3:4-10 ESV
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Making a Practice of Sinning
Those who make a practice (habit) of sinning are considered addicts. And an addict is one who devotes and surrenders himself to whatever his obsession or habit is (M-W), i.e. he surrenders himself to his idol(s).
The Bible uses the term slave for this, i.e. that we are a slave to whatever masters us, i.e. we are a slave to the one we habitually obey (follow after), “either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom. 6:16). So, we either devote and surrender ourselves to obedience to God, or we devote and surrender ourselves to sin.
This brings to mind the word “porneia,” which is the root word for our English word “pornography.” This carries with it the same or a similar meaning as that of addict, too, for it means “a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity.” And, it means fornication and whoredom, i.e. idolatry, too (1). For, it means we give up our sexual purity in order to engage ourselves in (to surrender ourselves to) whoredom (idolatry) of many kinds.
So, when we make sin our practice, we are, in essence, giving up our purity we could have, by faith in Jesus Christ, in order to surrender ourselves to what is impure, unholy, evil, vile, and immoral. And, this is not speaking just of sexual sin here, but of all sin, i.e. whatever we surrender ourselves to.
And, what we learn in the scriptures is that we can’t be slaves to both at the same time. Either we are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or we are slaves to obedience to Christ, which leads to righteousness.
Masking the Sin
Anyone familiar with addiction can tell you that addicts, in order to hold on to their habit or obsession, may lie and manipulate and scheme and trick in order to hide their addiction. They will be threatened by anyone trying to bring their addiction into the light, too. And, they will be known to do whatever it takes, even attacking and falsely accusing those trying to help them to freedom, even to the point of devising a plan for that person’s destruction, in order to keep on in their slavery to sin.
So, it isn’t just that they try to mask their sin, i.e. what they are doing in secret, hoping no one will find out, but that they scheme and trick, too, in order to take out anyone they see as a threat to their secretive lifestyles.
So, their “cover” for their sin may not just be fakery of some kind, pretending that they are something they are not or that they are doing one thing while they are doing another. But, their cover may be to give a false impression of their situation in order to gain sympathy and attention for themselves, and in order to make themselves appear as though they are the victim when truly they are the perp. For, they are very clever con artists, always working at trying to throw people off their scent and to redirect them to someone else who they want to cast the blame on, instead.
So, they have a stockpile (an arsenal) of weapons that they use, which they have stored up in their hearts, but not just as defensive weapons, but as offensive (preplanned) weapons of mass destruction which they will use in order to make themselves look good, or to makes themselves appear as though they are the ones being mistreated, and to make others look bad.
Some of these who are addicted to whatever will threaten suicide, for instance, as a means of controlling others, or as a means of drawing attention and sympathy to themselves and in order to make the one(s) trying to help them appear evil. And, they may even confess some sins, too, in order to hide ones more nefarious. And, this, too, is to try to get people off the scent, and distracted, so that they don’t see what else is going on that is a whole lot more sinister.
They are really good at manipulating and deceiving, and many of them can be quite charming, actually, and very convincing. They are great actors, and performers, playing mind-games with people and toying with their emotions. But, all this is the result of pride, for it is all focused on self. They are always lying, scheming, tricking, performing, and shifting the blame to someone other than to themselves as they busily work to bring others alongside them to support them in their masquerades.
So, those who are addicted to sinful practices not only may lie, manipulate, trick, and scheme in order to cover-up their secretive sins, and in order to gain sympathy for themselves, and in order to cast the blame onto others who are probably trying to help them, but then they will excuse away their sinful practices with false religious beliefs adopted by them in order to console themselves in their sin and to alleviate their guilt.
So, they convince themselves that Jesus died on that cross merely to forgive their sins and to promise them heaven when they die, and that God requires no repentance, obedience or submission to Christ as their Lord (master).
So, in order to do this, they have to pull a few select scriptures out of context, such as Romans 10:9-10, for example, and thus they build their entire doctrine of salvation around these few out-of-context verses while they ignore the bulk of New Testament scriptures with regard to salvation and eternal life.
One of the scriptures used most often by those who are sexually addicted or who are addicted to porn is Romans 7. They love to quote this and imply that Paul regularly struggled with the flesh, meaning he regularly gave in to it. And, if Paul did, then that consoles them in their sinful addictions.
But, Romans 7 must be read in the context of Romans 6 and Romans 8. And, it must be understood that Paul was speaking (in Rom. 7) of the battle of the sin nature. But, then he goes on in chapter 8 to talk about being rescued from the control of that sin nature over his life.
And, then he goes on to explain, not only that it is only those who are walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God who have eternal life with God, but that if we walk (in practice) in sin, according to the sinful nature, that we will die in our sins. So, he could not say the things he said in Romans 8 if he was still living in Romans 7, or he would have been a huge hypocrite. Then, how could he tell people to imitate him.
The truth, though, is what is spelled out for us here in this passage of scripture. If we make sin our practice (our normal course of behavior), we don’t know God, and he doesn’t know us. In fact, we are of the devil, not of God. For, no one born of God makes sin his practice (lifestyle, habit), for Jesus delivered us out of slavery to sin, and he now lives within us by his Spirit, and if his Spirit abides in us, we cannot keep on sinning.
This is not saying we will never sin, though (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer be what we practice. It should not be our normal course of what we do and how we live. It should not be what rules or controls our lives, for we should now be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, righteousness should now be what we practice (our habit, our course of conduct). But, if it is not, then we are not of God.
Again, this is not speaking of sinless perfection here. It is not saying that we will never fail. The scriptures are real clear on this subject. Either we are enslaved to sin or we are enslaved to obedience to God, to Jesus Christ. We can’t be both. But, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we still walk (in practice, in habit) in sin, then we are liars who do not live by the truth.
We can’t pray some prayer or make some profession of faith in Jesus Christ and yet not repent of our sins and not obey Christ and not submit to his Lordship. Yet, this is a daily thing here. Every day we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh and taking up our cross and following (obeying) Jesus, and putting on the armor of God. And, we will continue in this until the day we die or Jesus returns. For, this is all part of the process of our salvation (sanctification) until one day, when Jesus returns, our salvation is complete.
But, just know this, when you commit your life to Jesus Christ, to walk in his ways, and in his truth, you will likely become an enemy of those who are still addicted to sin, and you may even be one of those who they are plotting evil against in order to destroy you or your reputation. But, don’t let that frighten you, for God is still God! And, he will carry you through whatever comes your way. And, he will turn it around for good. So, trust him!
An Original Work / February 21, 2013
Based off Luke 9:22-25
Jesus, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross.
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself and follow.
He must take up his cross daily;
Die to sin and self each day.
Father, God above,
Loved us so: gave His Son.
If you want to save your old life;
Keep on sinning, follow your ways,
You will lose your life forever;
Hope of heaven gone away.
Spirit of our God
Gives us life in God’s Son.
Nonetheless, if you die to self;
Forsake your sin; follow Jesus,
You will live with God in heaven,
And forever praise His name!