We Sin Because We Want To
I was teaching a class
once having to do with 'the spirit is willing but the
flesh is weak' And said, " in the final analysis, we sin because we want to."
One of the good sisters became very upset with me and began to argue that she did not sin because she wanted to. When I asked her if she ever sinned, she said yes. "Why did you sin, I asked? "Well not because I wanted to, she snapped; it's the devil and the temptations he holds up to you that causes you to sin." "I then asked her if she thought man was a free moral agent. She said yes. How then, can a person be forced to sin against their will." Doesn't that mean he may sin or not, as he chooses? To my recollection she never agreed with me. I suppose the idea was too repulsive for her to accept. And I think proves what I have taught for many years now that no one wants the responsibility for their own sins placed squarely on their shoulders.
Of course no one wants to sin. But not wanting to and not sinning are two different animals. I don't want to become ill but occasionally I do, because I break a health law. I don't want to be run over by a big truck either, so I do everything I can to avoid it. So far, it hasn't happened, but that doesn't mean it couldn't if I am not careful. As much as we would like, we can't blame everything on the devil! So let's be fair. And give credit where credit is due. There is no getting around the fact that we sin because we want to.
By that I mean it is our own personal decision as to whether we will violate God's laws or keep them. No one can make the choice for you. Satan can't do it for you, or your neighbor down the road. It is your decision period. When it comes to temptation it is usually who has the strongest will, You or Satan? (Read my companion article, "Satan's unlimited power?"). Of course Satan is involved when we sin. Sure he tempts you. That's his sole purpose in your life. And he will pull every trick imaginable on you in order to get you to do his bidding. But he can't make you sin.
Looking back, I can't recall one sin I committed that wasn't my fault alone. The only real power he has is the power of persuasion and believe me, he is a master at it. James 4:7 tells us to 'resist the devil and he will flee from you.' The key word here is to resist, which has military connotations. We are then, to realize we are in a battle with Satan; and one in which we can lose our souls. We must 'stand against him' or be taken captive.
I Corinthians 10:13 tells us, "there hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation make also the way of escape." (Asv).
Now ask yourself, do I really believe that? Do I truly believe God has given me the power to resist whatever temptations I am being confronted with at the present? Is my desire to do God's will in this matter stronger than my desire to give in to Satan's allurements? As we said, To resist is the key. Which means we must do something, put forth as much effort on our part as is required.
Resistance from any temptation is not automatic. How may we resist? Well it could be nothing more than understanding what God has taught he would have us do in this particular situation. Understanding God's will is apparently more important than most would like to admit (judging from the overall lack of serious study I've observed over the years). Jesus knew his father's will, therefore, had no problem recognizing a lie when he heard one. And no matter how great Satan made thing appear, Jesus could always say,… "Well that's not what my Father said."
Satan is a bully and a coward. And the only people he beats up are those who allow him to do so. And as long as you allow it, that's how long he will continue to do it! And he is never going to stop until you fight back. And when you do, he will 'flee' from you. That's not a fighting withdrawal, but beating a hasty retreat! And you will have become victorious.
However, he will return (at some point). While the scriptures do not teach 'sinless perfection' I believe it possible not to sin (Jesus left us an example Matt.4:1-11). But it's not probable! Because of the complexity of the human mind with its varying levels of knowledge and dedication, his environment, personality and especially man's poor judgment in religious matters we are bound to falter from time to time. Eve was not an evil person, and she resisted some (but not enough). She just listened to the wrong one (poor judgment). If Satan can make you sin against your will, then these verses have no significance.
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