West London Alliance Church

No one sins out of duty

I recently began reading a book by John Piper entitled Future Grace. I have only read the first chapter, but have already been moved in regards to several things Piper wrote. One passage that immediately resonated with me was the following: "Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Psalm 66:3)."

This is so true. We don't sin because we feel a responsibility to, we sin because we want to. We desire it because of what it promises. James 1:15 says "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." The thing about sin is, it is a lie. It doesn't produce what it promises. It may promise satisfaction or happiness or delight, but what it produces is death. Sin is a desire for death; a death-wish as it were. 

One of the ways we combat sin is by presenting our soul with something more desirable, something that can produce what it promises. Jonathan Edwards put the discipline of presenting a more beautiful object to our soul this way, "endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement." Or as Sam Storms paraphrased it, "Posture your life so that you may be easily enticed by the beauty of Christ." So, the desire to sin is repelled by presenting our souls something infinitely more desirable: Christ.

And, how do we present Christ, the ultimately desirable One, to our souls? One tested and tried way of presenting Christ to our souls is Scripture. We can meditate on God's Word, particularly passages like Hebrews 1:3-4 which speak explicitly of the glory of Christ: "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs."

We don't sin out of duty, but out of desire. So let's undermine sin by beholding that which is more desirable, namely, Christ.

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