Maybe this is more about me than you. Maybe I am the only one that . . . well maybe not.
We all struggle with sin. We all have times when we fail God. The apostle Paul admits as much in his own walk with God, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.” (Romans 7:15-16). The writer of Hebrews encourages us to, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” (Hebrews 12:1). We need God’s grace to forgive our sin through Christ (Eph 2:8-10; Gal 3:26-27) and we need help to fight off sin. We need to know the enemy (2 Cor 2:11; 1 Pet 5:8).
So I ask the question that is our title, “Why do we sin?”
- We sin because we are not prepared to resist temptation. We forget we are in a battle with Satan and we forget to be vigilant. We do not daily equip ourselves with the armor of God, specifically the shield of faith (Eph 6:16).
- We sin because we feel entitled to sin. We live in a society that lives entitlement. We tend to think there are certain things we deserve. The fast-food commercial from decades ago even said it, “You deserve a break today.” So we think we deserve an “adult beverage” to help us come down from a busy week. We think deserve a break from church when we are on vacation. The list could go on. You are the king, you deserve Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21) or so he thought.
- We sin because strong desire overcomes discernment. Think back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They knew what they should and should not do, but desire overrode their discernment. The same could be said for David and Bathsheba. James describes this propensity of mankind, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15).
- We sin because of the influence of others. Your mother said, “Be careful who your friends are.” Paul said, “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33). Conformity to our associates is a human trait that can lead us to do things we should not do. Though it sounds childish to say aloud, many of us sin because “everyone else is doing it.”
- We sin simply out of habit. Habits are difficult to break. Habits are those things we do for years, eventually not even thinking about them. They become part of us. When we learn that a certain habit is sinful, we want to stop, but stopping is difficult. It is firmly rooted in our life. We put off the old man (habitual sins) by replacing them with the new man (spiritual focus and good actions).
- We sin because we are deceived. Jesus calls Satan the father of lies (Joh 8:44). The Hebrew writer speaks of the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13). Satan, his agents, and sin can disguise themselves as something good (2 Cor 11:14). We must do our best to look at our actions in the light of God’s will and desire. we need a heavenly point of view (Col 3:1-4).
- We sin because of our own ignorance. Sometimes, we just do not know any better. What we think is good and right may not be. Maybe no one taught us. Maybe we have not studied enough for ourselves. Ignorance is not an excuse (Act 17:30). Ignorance can destroy (Hos 4:6).
Since we know the wages of sin is death, what are we going to do about sin?