How you view sin is of great importance. If we don’t see it properly as a problem, we can’t see Jesus properly as Saviour. As Christians, even though we might be able to explain sin well, we can still often succumb to Satan’s lies about it. Here are 7 lies you may be believing about your sin, and how you can combat them:

1. It’s not really a sin

“Did God really say that?” said the serpent to the woman in Genesis 3:1. The first line of attack Satan will use is to question whether your sin is really sin. Because if we believe it’s not really against God, we’ll continue to do it. But God had spoken clearly, as Eve admitted in verse 3. If God has clearly revealed something as sinful, it’s sinful. The first step to battling sin is admitting that it is what it is before God, just like Isaiah did:

Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips. (Isaiah 6:5, ESV)

2. You’d never do it in real life

There are two problems with this lie. First: that may well be so, but didn’t Jesus talk in Matthew 5 about sins committed in the mind being just as blameworthy? For example, if you lust after someone with your eyes, you’ve committed adultery in your heart. Second: how do you know you wouldn’t do it in real life? Many people who have been convicted of the most horrible crimes never started out with those intentions. One thing led to another. Think David and Bathsheba. Follow Jesus’ advice: take sin seriously and cut it off at its source before it grows into an even bigger mess:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29)

3. You may as well do it again

Psychologists have found that if we break a rule once, we’re more likely to break it again. Take overeating, for example. You’ve decided to be healthy for the day. Then you accidentally have a little chocolate with your coffee at 11. No big deal. Then you’re offered a big slice of cake at lunch and you think “ah, sure I’ve already broken my diet today—may as well indulge now and start over tomorrow.” Satan would love to delay your repentance until tomorrow. But God wants you to admit your sin today. Why? Because He wants your relationship with Him lovingly restored:

Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful. (Joel 2:13)

4. Grace means you can do it all you like

Paul fought this battle many times in the New Testament church. God has redeemed me, therefore I can live as I please. Wrong. Fighting sin is an evidence of redemption. Jude described the people who ‘[perverted] the grace of our God into sensuality’ (1:4) as the ‘ungodly.’ Grace certainly means that our sin no longer condemns us, but a true work of grace will transform the heart into one that hates sin:

O you who love the Lord, hate evil. (Psalm 97:10)

5. It’s not as bad as someone else’s sin

Our sinful natures love to point the finger at someone else. Adam pointed to Eve, Eve pointed to the serpent. Yet none of them were guiltless. One day we will stand before God to answer for our own sin, not our neighbour’s. God certainly wants us to edify our brothers and sisters by talking to them about sin we can see in their lives, but we better be aware of our own first:

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)

6. One more time, then you’ll change

The problem with believing this lie is that even though you’ve admitted your sin, you want to indulge in it just a little while longer. But if we’ve fully grasped the weight of our sin and the price Jesus paid to forgive us for it, we’ll not waste one second in fighting it. If you know you need to start an assault on a particular sin, do it:

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)

7. You will never be free from this

The danger with a blog like this is that we become obsessive about sin, beat ourselves up and create a distorted view of the gospel. And that’s exactly where Satan wants your mind to go. We are not asked to fight sin alone. We are not asked to fight it in our own strength. And we are not told that we will be perfect before getting to heaven. But we are commanded to fight, we are commanded to fight hard, and we are told to strive for perfection. Whatever sin is holding you in its grip, Jesus offers freedom. Come before your Father and speak with Him about your sin.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:10-12)