What happens when I sin?
This is a two part question. The first part is “What happens when I sin?” and the second part is “What does not happen when I sin?” Every person will continue to sin, even after salvation, because even the Christian still has the body of sin that causes sin. As Paul writes,
- 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
- 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7:23-24 NKJ)
This article will deal with the first part, or, “What happens when I sin?”
First, you have depended on yourself. Every Christian is supposed to depend completely on God. Depending on self is part of the definition of sin. Paul wrote, “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23) Because you are not dependent upon God, you remain a child of God, but your communion, or fellowship, with God is broken. John writes, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 Jn. 1:6 NKJ)
Secondly, the power for godly living and service is cut off. This is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Phi 3:10 NKJ) We only know the power of His resurrection, when we are walking in unity with Him. Sin makes us walk apart from Him, because He can have nothing to do with sin (even though He continues to hold us as His children). Some Christians can continue to go to church, lead and even pastor, but sin denies God’s true empowerment. Paul writes, “…having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2Ti 3:5 NKJ) Power is cut off, because of what sin does to the Holy Spirit. This grieves Him. Paul wrote, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30 NKJ) The Holy Spirit’s role is to empower you for the Christian life, but sin cuts off that empowerment and grieves the Holy Spirit. Grieving the Holy Spirit prevents the fruit of the Spirit, like God’s “love, joy and peace” from being a part of your life.
Specifically, thirdly, you will have a loss of God’s joy. Paul alludes to this above in Romans 7:24. David cries out for God to restore his joy, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Ps. 51:12 NKJ) You may have temporary happiness, because what is “happening” is pleasing or pleasant to your flesh, but it will be fleeting at best. In place of God’s joy will be the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If you do not sense God’s conviction, then you are well down the Downward Spiral.1
Fourthly, your witness for Christ is hindered. The extent and type of sin will affect the hindrance, especially as it relates to the culture in which you live. Paul wrote,
- 18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
- 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
- 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1:18-20 NKJ)
When Christians reject the faith, they suffer shipwreck and may be delivered to Satan so they do not blaspheme. Shipwreck is a good picture of a Christian life that instead of having God’s peace, the Christian is a life of pieces floating in the waves of life tossed to and fro (Jam. 1:6). The word “blaspheme” means “to make light of” or “treat as ordinary.” God cannot be treated as ordinary or common. God is too incredibly and infinitely awesome to be treated as common like anything else. Sin hinders your witness.
Fifthly, your position in glory is affected negatively. John wrote, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.” (2 Jn. 1:8 NKJ) God has a wall full of blessings He wants to give you (Eph. 1:3). Based on how you live to glorify Him, God will bless you in time and eternity with rewards. Sin reduces the reward God wants to give you. If you live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, you produce good works characterized by gold and silver. Paul wrote,
- 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
- 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
- 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
- 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.(1 Cor. 3:11-15 NKJ)
If you live by the flesh in the power of the flesh, you produce empty works of wood, hay and stubble. YET, you will get to heaven, because you will be purged clean through fire. You just may “smell” a little like smoke! Do not be like Lot, who remained under oppressive conditions and lost blessing in time and eternity (2 Pet. 2:6-8; Luke 17:28,29)
Sixthly, you will bring God’s divine discipline upon yourself. God loves His children. He accepts them as they are. However, if they sin, or continue in sin, He uses divine discipline to correct and train them to righteous living. The writer of Hebrews wrote,
- 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
- 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. (Heb. 12:5-6 NKJ)
It is easy to forget that God is holy and will discipline you, but He loves you too much to let you continue in sin. Consequently, He disciplines in order to love you back to His mercy. The priest Ethan wrote,
- 31 If they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments,
- 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
- 33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. (Ps. 89:31-33 NKJ)
God loves you too much to let you wander in sin. Receive His discipline with humility and run back to the Lord. The last aspect is the most alarming.
Seventhly, your physical life can become endangered with extended sin. Jesus made it clear that the sinning Christian does not abide in Him and the result is a pruned life. Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2 NKJ) That is the good part, pruning. But if a Christian does not respond to pruning, but continues in sin, then he is like a sleepwalker. He is moving about, but not producing anything spiritually for the kingdom. Paul described three levels of Christians living in sin, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor. 11:30 NKJ) In fact, Paul warned the Galatians regarding living according to the flesh,
- 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
- 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal. 6:7-8 NKJ)
When you live in sin, you reap corruption. Furthermore, everything you do produce will be burned up,
- 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
- 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (Heb. 6:7-8 NKJ)
Those works that are produced are burned. That is a Christian who loses reward in life, similar to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, previously mentioned. This is not a loss of salvation, but a loss of reward in eternity.
Who wants to lose out on rewards in life or eternity? The person who is focused on the pleasures of this life and does not set his eyes on Jesus the Author or Perfector of your faith will lose rewards. These are just seven of the things that happen when you sin, so pursue the upward call of faith in Jesus Christ. The next article will record what does not happen when you sin. That article will give you great hope!
1See the article on the Downward Spiral at: http://renewingtruth.blogspot.com/2013/06/question-what-is-downward-spiral.html?q=downward+spiral
And check the link regarding the Christian in the Downward Spiral: http://renewingtruth.blogspot.com/2013/06/question-how-sinful-can-believer-get.html?q=downward+spiral