HAVE YOU GIVEN UP YOUR OLD SINS?

WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL

FEBRUARY 8, 2021

TOPIC: HAVE YOU GIVEN UP YOUR OLD SINS?

BY T. O. BANSO

“Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure” (2 Corinthians 12:21 New Living Translation).

The song with the title “The Things I Used to Do” was a very popular song in years past when people seriously believed that their decisions to be born again must actually result in changed lives. The lyrics say,

The things I used to do,

I don’t do them anymore!

The things I used to do,

I don’t do them anymore!

The things I used to do,

I don’t do them anymore!

There’s been a great change,

Since I’ve been born again!

Chorus

There’s been a great (repeat) change (repeat),

Since I’ve been born-

There’s been a great (repeat) change (repeat),

Since I’ve been born-

There’s been a great change,

Since I’ve been born again!

Other verses talk about the places I used to go, the things I used to wear, and the words I used to say, and the fact that there has been a great change in each area since I have been born again. What positive changes have taken place in your way of life since you’ve been born again?

The apostle Paul established the church in Corinth during his second missionary journey at about AD 50 or AD 51 after visiting Athens (Acts 18:1).  Obviously, the original audience of the 1 and 2 Corinthians was the church in Corinth.

In 2 Corinthians 12:21, Paul said, “Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure” (New Living Translation).

Please remember that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to the church in Corinth. In other words, he wrote the letter to Christians, not non-believers in the city of Corinth. Yet, Paul said that many of them had not given up their old sins. They had not repented of their impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

We may be surprised at this. But that could amount to hypocrisy. Many churches today are not different from the church in Corinth. What we learn from Paul’s words is that it is possible to have a church full of many sinners, people who have not given up their old sins, people who have not repented of all manners of sins. Paul said such people were many in the church in Corinth. Are they many in your church, too? Are you one of them?

Paul must have received reports to this effect and he was afraid that he would go there again and be grieved seeing their sinfulness.  “For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won’t like what I find, and then you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior” (2 Corinthians 12:20 New Living Translation).

The church in Corinth consisted of people who came out of the larger Corinthian society, and apparently, their societal background affected them as Christians. They appeared to have brought their sinful habits and customs into the church.

Talking about Corinth, Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary says, “It was noted for its wealth, and for the luxurious and immoral and vicious habits of the people.” According to the American Tract Society Dictionary, in Corinth, “Lasciviousness, particularly, was not only tolerated, but consecrated here, by the worship of Venus, and the notorious prostitution of numerous attendants devoted to her.  Corinth was destroyed by the Romans, B.C. 146. It was afterwards restored by Julius Caesar, who planted in it a Roman colony; but though it soon regained its ancient splendor, it also relapsed into all its former dissipation and licentiousness.”

Paul founded the Corinthian church in this morally bankrupt setting and it appears that many of those who embraced Christianity from the Corinthian society joined the church but had not given up their old sins or renounced their old ways of life.

The Bible says the Corinthian church did not come short in any spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 1:7). They excelled in everything including faith, speech, knowledge, all diligence, and love to Paul (2 Corinthians 8:7).  Yet, Paul warned this church in 2 Corinthians 13:2, “I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that this next time I will not spare them” (New Living Translation).

When Paul wrote to the church in 1 Corinthians, he had to deal with the subject of sexual immorality in the Corinthian church. He lamented, “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something so evil that even the pagans don’t do it. I am told that you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father’s wife. And you are so proud of yourselves! Why aren’t you mourning in sorrow and shame? And why haven’t you removed this man from your fellowship?” (1 Corinthians 5:1-2 New Living Translation). Did you see that?

Apparently angry, Paul said that though he was not there with the Corinthian church in person, he was with them in the Spirit. Therefore, he said he had already passed judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the person who had committed this sin.

He told them, “You are to call a meeting of the church, and I will be there in spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus will be with you as you meet. Then you must cast this man out of the church and into Satan’s hands, so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved when the Lord returns” (verses 4-5 New Living Translation).

Paul went ahead to point out the danger of tolerating sin in the church. “How terrible that you should boast about your spirituality, and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don’t you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected? Remove this wicked person from among you so that you can stay pure. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not by eating the old bread of wickedness and evil, but by eating the new bread of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 New Living Translation).

Of course, the person who committed this sexual immorality was excommunicated by the church. However, it appears that after he had served his punishment, Paul wrote again that he should be forgiven and welcome back into the fold.

2 Corinthians 2:6-11 says, “This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (New King James Version).

The point of this message is this: The church must not tolerate brazen or open sins. Believers must give up old sins. As Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:8, we must stop eating the old bread of wickedness and evil. We must eat the new bread of purity and truth.

The church comprises people who have been called out from the world unto holy living.  “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17 New King James Version). When anyone becomes a Christian or is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away and are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

The Christian must forsake his old way of life and begin to live a new life in Christ Jesus. It is not that he does not sin but he is no more a slave to sin. He does not practise sin. “We know that those who have become part of God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot get his hands on them” (1 John 5:18 New Living Translation). He doesn’t willfully sin. If he sins, he repents, confesses, and forsakes it (1 John 1:9).

Are you still eating the old bread of wickedness and evil? Have you given up your old sins? Or are you continuing in them and even adding new sins because of the wrong teaching on grace you have received?  The apostle Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-4 New King James Version).

The Bible warns, “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3-5 New King James Version). Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Revelation 21:8; 22:15 also give a similar list of sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Believers are washed from all these sins and are sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11). Therefore, they must flee these sins including sexual immorality (verse 18). As a child of God, you should, according to Romans 13:13, walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

Give up your old sins; don’t continue in them.  “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (Colossians3:5-7 New King James Version).

As Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (New Living Translation). Has there been a great change, since you’ve been born again?  Give up your old sins and don’t have an appetite for new sins.

 TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS:  Father, I repent of my old sins. I shall no longer eat the bread of wickedness and evil but the new bread of purity and truth. I shall give up my old sins and not have an appetite for new sins in Jesus’ name. I shall not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform me into a new person by changing the way I think.

(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org