Confronting sin in your own life is difficult. It can be even more difficult if there are competing views about what is profitable for the faith. However, I’ve seen many Christians allow their determination of sin to be based on their perception of guilt resulting from that sin.
We sometimes try to justify behaviors that make us feel good. A previous post about how Selfies might be a form of idolatry discussed how defensive we can get about some stuff. For example, if you were to steal money from your employer and feel guilty about it, you might define that as sinful. On the other hand, if you felt underpaid by your employer, and took the money as compensation to support your family, you might feel less guilt about that. However, the definition of sin is far less subjective.
Additionally, your lack of guilt associated with a particular activity may be evidence of a far more problematic issue. It may be that you’ve become numb to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Just because you feel free to engage thoughts or activity that blatantly contradict Biblical standards set for followers of Jesus Christ, that does not indicate that you are the exception to that standard.
But could your freedom to sin indicate something far worse?
Sin sometimes looks like freedom because God has given us over to the unrighteous pursuit of pleasure. He (graciously) allows us to experience the fullness of sin in order to teach us of its complete emptiness, dissatisfaction, and exhaustibility. Only in that knowledge will we begin to know the fullness, satisfaction, and inexhaustible nature of a relationship with God.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
I’m really not trying to be ominous or heavy-handed, and I hate the idea of works-based justification. I am simply pointing out that the conviction of the Holy Spirit is something that we should cherish. The Lord’s conviction and correction is evidence of our transformation.
Looking forward to correction may seem silly, or even sadistic, but its not. Children do this all the time. They know a boundary, and test it anyway, just to make sure that their parents respond. The process reminds them that they are not alone, and they can trust what their parents say. Similarly we are looking for evidence of the Lord’s presence in our lives. We are looking for his guidance.
We must not test the Lord’s patience, grace, or mercy, by indulging in sin. Neither should we be offended when our behavior results in the Lord’s correction.
Our aim must be to please the Lord and advance the gospel. And in that pursuit, we will likely engage discipline, and correction from the Holy Spirit, but we must not be discouraged.