“THAT Sin” Does Not Define You


"THAT" Sin Does Not Define YouI am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.”
~1 John 2:12

Does one sin (or sin area) come into your mind when I say, “‘THAT sin’ does not define you?”

I’ll be honest and tell you that I used to– as a believer– live under the weight and shame of past sin. The cloak of “not good enough” that I wore influenced every interaction I had, especially in the church.

In my mind it disqualified me from relationships with certain godly people. I felt “less than,” and (even if it didn’t show on the outside), inside I was ashamed.

And I don’t think I’m alone in having that experience.

"THAT" Sin Does Not Define You "THAT" Sin Does Not Define You "THAT" Sin Does Not Define You"THAT" Sin Does Not Define You "THAT" Sin Does Not Define You

One of our enemy’s craftiest schemes is that he tries to convince believers that they are defined by their sin, rather than by the holiness of the One Who saved them from that sin.

Some people are haunted by sins they committed before they came to Christ; some are mortified by the things they did when they were supposed to be growing into maturity as a believer.

Things we knowingly participated in, things we felt unable to break free from, and things we did and later regretted… there is hardly a person among us who walks into church on Sunday morning who doesn’t have a “THAT sin” buried away somewhere in the shadowy corners of our heart. 

However “big,” however “small,” we all have the potential to be burdened by the weight of sin.

But the truth is that, as believers who are hidden in Christ, who have the Spirit alive and at work in us, we do not have to labor under the weight of that old burden any longer.

I am free of those old ways.

You are free of those old ways.

In Christ, there is no condemnation and you are set free from sin.

As believers, these are the banners that should be held over our lives:

"THAT" Sin Does Not Define You "THAT" Sin Does Not Define You

Because if it was dependent on US, we would have no need for the Savior.

But with Him, there is mercy. There is forgiveness. There is an awareness that we are dust. There is HIS righteousness bestowed on us. There is an increasing sanctification that He draws us through, so that we become more like His Son, not through our own graspings but through His Word and Spirit alive in us.

"THAT" Sin Does Not Define You

My sister (or brother), “THAT” sin does not define who you are.

Your GOD defines you. He is what gives you value and worth and wholeness.

Your identity is not in the magnitude of your sin, but in your magnificent Savior.

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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5 Responses

  1. I’ve always pondered the relationship between the consequences of sin and what it means to be free of it. Obviously, all sin has consequences– the ultimate consequence is Jesus having to die for sin– but we also have temporal consequences. Sometimes a decision to sin that we make does impact our ability to serve– there are some qualifications for service in church that require certain behavior, and without that behavior you cannot serve.

    The question come into play tangentially to your post– if a person is proven guilty of a crime, does the fact that they now became a Christian erase this? If a person has been convicted of stealing, should a church allow that person to be an usher and collect the offering, or a treasurer that writes the checks.

    If a person has had many sexual partners and is therefore a greater risk for divorce, should we encourage others to marry that person?

    At what point do we take practical steps to help others avoid what may prove to be a future stumbling block and at what point do you say that they are a new person and it’s fine? Do we simply trust that God will take care of it and set ourselves up to possibly be poor stewards?

    I don’t have any good answers here, just plenty of questions!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Good thoughts, Min.

      What you say is true. My old youth pastor used to give the example of roller skating at a roller rink. There is nothing inherently sinful in it, but if someone used to always go down to the roller rink, get high with their friends, and flirtatiously skate & then pair off to make out afterwards, maybe roller skating is something they never need to do again. For them, it could lead to sin even though there is absolutely nothing sinful about roller skating.

      I do think old sins can (wisely) affect the future things we do, or the kinds of ways that we serve, like you point out about counting offerings. That is not identifying with old sin but recognizing our humanity and guarding ourselves against the flesh (“make no provision for the flesh”).

      And I think the church really ought to be a transparent, ministering, one anothering place where (because we know each other), we counsel and assist each other to grow and work through past sin. Biblical counseling can be soooooo beneficial for working through past “issues” and garnering a biblical understanding of who we WERE and who we ARE and identifying more and more with Christ in our hearts and in our behavior.

      Stewardship, wisdom, and discernment on the local church level are all really important parts, IMO, of dealing with what you’re asking about.

      • Exactly, we’re on the same page. We need to be so careful today because I think we get to thinking that church is a place where people are perfect– and we aren’t. Hopefully we’re getting more Christlike every day, and we need to know that we are His, but realize that temptations still do occur.

        Thanks for the analogies!

  2. Karla says:

    Love this! Such a daily struggle for me. Thank you for writing about this.

  1. October 5, 2015

    […] Are you a believer who lives as if you’re still dead in your sin?—-> “THAT” Sin Does NOT Define You […]

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