When it comes to learning, a common method that is often used is ‘repetition.’ The word ‘repetition’ essentially means to repeat a behavior with the end result being a learned trait or behavior. In the educational field, repetition or rehearsal is often used in order to achieve mastery over a certain skill. The mind that God has given us is designed to work within the realm of repeated behavior to learn.
As we do something over and over again, it becomes 2nd nature to us and, as a result, we no longer think it strange to behave in the manner that we learned. It is the constant exposure to a behavior that causes our mindset to change so that what we continue to do is then learned. It then means that certain boundaries that were once in place before the repetitious learning are no longer defensible to one’s mind. Repetition is a lifelong process for learning that obviously begins at our youth. It is this type of education that creates a mode of daily operation in what one has constantly learned to do.
In our world today, the aspect of sin and sinful behavior has taken on an accelerated form of acceptance and even its own lifestyle. We are living in a global society in which ‘anything goes’ which is meant to suggest that one can live as they see fit. Sin and the participation in sin is apart of our nature. This means that a continued lifestyle of sin leads to further sinful behavior because we learn from what we do constantly.
However, Jesus Christ died on the cross for a reason and that was so that you and I could be saved from the penalty of sin. In addition to this, Christ’s sacrifice demands that all who choose, will heed the call to repentance and turn from sinful behavior.
In the book of John chapter 5, Jesus encounters a man at a place called ‘Bethesda’ which is located in Jerusalem. According to verse 5, there was a man who had been lying near a pool and he had been paralyzed for 38 years. The pool was meant to be a place of healing. It is at this point that Jesus asks the man a question:
(NLV) “Jesus saw him lying there and knew the man had been sick a long time. Jesus said to him,“Would you like to be healed?”
This verse is important to examine because Jesus was asking the man if he wanted to be healed from his condition. When you think about the condition that sin leaves us in, it is a condition that leads to a life of destruction. Sin is what separates us from having a relationship with God, however, it is because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that we all have a way of escape.
The question that Jesus asks the sick individual suggests that Jesus is offering an alternative to the condition. Of course, it also symbolizes that the sick man has a choice to make.
(NLV) “The sick man said, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is moving. While I am coming, another one gets in first.” Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your bed and walk.” At once the man was healed and picked up his bed and walked. This happened on the Day of Rest.”
Once the man accepts Christ’s offer and he is obedient to the original command to get up, he is immediately healed of his condition. However, there is something else to take note of in verse 14.
(NLV) “Later Jesus found the man who had been healed in the house of God. He said to him, “Listen! You have been healed. Stop sinning or something worse will come to you.””
Not only does Jesus offer a change in the man’s condition but He says “Stop sinning or something worse will come to you.” Other translations of the Bible use the words “Go and sin no more.” Why does Jesus tell this individual not to sin anymore and why does He warn him that if he does that something worse will happen to him? It is clear that the man who had been stricken with paralysis had sinned in his past which caused his condition. It is unclear as to what sin he had committed, but the fact that Jesus tells him not to sin anymore suggests that Jesus knew that his condition was a result of his sin.
In the world that we live in today, many believe that you can seek forgiveness from God and continue to sin as you please. However, just as Jesus made a call for the sick individual to be healed from his condition, Jesus is making the same call to many today. That call is one of repentance. Many are now adhering to the message of ‘God is love’ which is absolutely true. God is a God of love and He wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
However, what this teaching or message lacks is the other part which is that God is a God who expects us to be Holy and to abstain from sin. Since God is Holy then we are to be Holy as 1 Peter 1:16 says. Satan desires that we remain in the condition of sin because he understands that we cannot fully please God or have a relationship with Him while we are in our sin. Deception has been infused into our world system and it has even crept into many churches.
God is calling us to repentance which means that He wants us to ask Him to forgive us of our sins. True repentance means that there is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing. However, that is not where repentance ends. The 2nd part to repentance is to actively turn away from your sin and not to return to it. Jesus told the paralyzed individual not to sin again because if he did he would experience worse consequences.
The message of Jesus Christ is both one of redemption but also a call to holiness. The point of being changed from one’s condition isn’t to go back to what was once detestable and sinful, however, it is to commit oneself to the aversion of sin. Even those who do not believe in God believe that the sin that they live in will not and does not equal consequences. However, if you look at the world around us you can see the consequences that exist.
Turning away from your sin is not only beneficial because you will avoid further consequences, but it shows an allegiance and a love for God. At the end of the day, God wants us to choose Him and to love Him with all of our heart. It is the avoidance and remittance of sin that shows God how much we love Him. Truly following Christ involves living in holiness and adhering to God’s Word.
The common argument is that none of us are perfect and that we all sin. This statement is a fact in that none of us are perfect. However, more often than not this is used as an excuse to continue in sin and to take advantage of God’s grace. Another issue is that many would rather not be told that they are in danger of going to Hell because of their sin. Many believe that to be condemnation. However, it would be far worse not to hold each person to God’s standard of holiness by allowing sin to run rampant in the life of a believer or even a non-believer.
Jesus Christ does not offer condemnation, but He offers eternal life. The only way to achieve eternal life is to accept Christ’s sacrifice, repent of your sin and to turn from it. Even those of us who are in Christ must actively pursue holiness because it is what God requires. We as humans will never be perfect in our endeavors, but God does not expect those who are called to live sinfully with the assumption that it is permissible to sin and yet claim allegiance unto God.
The more you love God with all of your being, the less you will desire to sin which means even when you falter it is less likely that you will go back to the same sin. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? The process for salvation starts at acknowledging that you are a sinner and that you need salvation. Secondly, you must believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then you must turn from your sin and seek God in daily prayer, reading His Word, and connecting with other believers in the faith. Today is the day to heed the call to repentance and to turn from your sin.