Sin Emergency! How to deal with it? First, understand what the Scriptures say about what you must do and what God is going to do.
James 4:7-10 –– “7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Luke 13:6-9 –– “6He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
I John 1:9 — “9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confess! A man from Tupelo told me of a neighbor who stole his bridle, and for 26 years suffered from guilt until he confessed to the man and received instant forgiveness.
- Psalm 32:1-5, “1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. 5I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
Are you ashamed? Do you realize you are about to lose your identity as an upright person and slide into disgrace? Worse than that, do you now fear that you are in eternal trouble with the Lord? Are you at the breaking point because of hidden sin?
Are you miserable from guilt? Is some serious and besetting sin of an obsessive kind robbing you of all joy and peace? Are regular worship, Bible study, and prayer not helping you? Do you feel yourself sliding downhill? Are you getting alarmed at your wandering away from God? If so, this is for you.
Listen to seven things James prescribes for the Christian caught in Satan’s web. The following is strong medicine for emergency treatment for sin:
1st – Submit yourself to God. It is a commandment. Do it! You know you can or else it wouldn’t have been commanded.
2nd – Resist the devil. Do it!
3rd – Draw near to God. Wait on the Lord; fast; pray; read your Bible, especially the psalms; sing; worship; go to Sunday School.
4th – Cleanse your hands of your sins. Repent. Quit doing the sin.
5th – Purify your heart of your double-mindedness. You cannot serve both God and Mammon. Quit straddling the fence. Go one way or the other. Choose! Then set your mind on God.
6th – Be afflicted, mourn, and weep. Stop pretending that it’s going to be all right. Face facts – you really are in trouble with God.
- Look at Luke 13:6-9 to realize just how grave your situation is. There is a limit to God’s patience with you, a limit to His grace and mercy! Luke 13:8 says, “8And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Do you want to be cut down and burned?
- Hebrews 10:26-39 –– “26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions… 35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. … 38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
7th – Humble yourself. God resists the proud, but exalts the humble, I Pet. 5:5. A broken and contrite heart God will not despise, Ps. 51:17.
How to be cleansed from sin and receive God’s forgiveness:
- Restore yourself to proper use: Jesus cleansed the Temple by restoring the area for the Gentiles to its proper use, not by physical cleansing. So restore your body to its proper use. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When you restore your body to its proper use, by your actions, you will immediately build up a reserve of righteousness that will dramatically improve your relationship with God.
- Understand the power of confession before God: I John 1:9 says “9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
- Fill yourself up with Jesus: You get air out of a glass not by trying to suck it out with a vacuum, but by filling the glass with water. So fill yourself with Jesus!
- Get clean by touching Jesus: The woman with the issue of blood was unclean. When she touched the hem of Jesus’s robe, she did not make Jesus unclean; instead, touching Jesus made her clean. Same with the leper whom Jesus touched. So touch Jesus! Cling to the hem of His robe.
- Ask for forgiveness from the ones you have wronged:
- First, be sure you aren’t harboring any unforgiveness against anyone yourself. Forgive, or else how can you be forgiven?
- Second, get your courage up! Practice what you are going to say. Ask God to give you the words.
- Third, work until you are genuinely repentant.
- Fourth, watch for the right time.
- Fifth, be guided by whether your confession is more likely to restore than to destroy the relationship. You must be honest with yourself here. Ask God to make this one clear to you.
- Sixth, expect that the pain of hearing of your betrayal is going to cause real damage to others. Realize that you now have to rebuild what you tore down by your sin. Rebuild as you are able and as others allow.
- Seventh, remember that if you do not forgive yourself after your victims have forgiven you, then you will enter a downward spiral that could result in repeating your sin – so consider that you owe it to them and to God to forgive yourself. Not forgiving yourself leads to pride.
Guilt and shame:
- Jesus’s blood takes away your guilt when you appeal to God. False guilt comes sometimes after repentance and confession to God, and false guilt hurts just as bad as real guilt. False guilt is when you feel guilty even though God has forgiven you. Recognize that your guilt is false and remind yourself you are forgiven by God.
- Jesus also died to take away your shame. To deal with your real shame, ask Christ to make you a new man – change your identity to become more Christlike. Let Jesus be your hero and copy Him. False shame comes just the same as false guilt. If you go back in your mind to being your old self, your feeling of shame will return. You must remain in your new identity to be free of shame.
- Put on Christ in the morning the same way you would put on your clothes!
Doubting your salvation:
- Thomas said he doubted Jesus; but Jesus appeared to him anyway. Thomas had his doubts, but Thomas was very loyal to Jesus and said to the disciples, Let’s follow Jesus into Jerusalem and die with him. He was just pessimistic. His doubts did not offend Jesus.
- Jesus can help your unbelief: Jesus said to a man who came to Him asking for the healing of his son, “If you believe, all things are possible.” The man replied, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” You too can say to the Lord, “Lord, I believe; help my doubts and fears to go away.”
- Read the essay on the assurance of salvation that I gave you.
How to hear from God:
- When a thought comes into your head which seems to be from God, ask yourself:
- Is this me just talking to myself? If it is not, then ask yourself further:
- Is this the devil pretending to be God?
- Typically, when the devil talks trying to sound like God, he wants you to act right away; he is very demanding of your obedience and wants immediate obedience; he threatens; he makes you feel guilty; fearful; anxious; upset.
- If you realize it couldn’t be the devil, then you can assume it is God.
- Typically, when God talks to you, He is realistic with you about your sin but in a way that shows you He loves you; He comforts you; He is not demanding but makes suggestions; He builds you up and calms your fears; He does not tear you down but reassures you. He does not threaten but He does warn. If He is going to punish you, He lets you know right in the middle of your sinning. Usually, He doesn’t wait till later.
- Go confess to your pastor and ask his help and prayer. Ask God to speak to you through your preacher!