Those who have been cleansed by the shed blood of Christ and have His Spirit within them still struggle with sin. Some Christians will battle certain sins’ temptations all of their lives, and there may even be a genetic link to such orientations, but we all have inherited an essentially fallen nature, and most of us will feel like we are perhaps fighting against our own selves at least during various seasons of our pilgrimages toward a deeper relationship with God.
Undaunted, we must “fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience” (I Timothy 1:18-19). We need to resist sin so that we don’t wreck our faith, at which time our relationship with Christ ceases to be an experiential reality. Sin and faith are at odds with one another; each dilutes and weakens the other. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. His behavior was not in question, but the result of it was, so Jesus also prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him (Luke 22:31-34).
Whatever is sin should be avoided, never embraced. As we do this, our perceptions of sin become keener, and our conscience becomes stronger. When this takes place, we may realize that some of our prohibitions are nothing more than religious hang-ups, and we find ourselves putting aside groundless rules and moving in more freedom (Romans 14). More commonly, that which we were once doing without remorse becomes troubling to us, and if we are wise, we will respond by “putting aside our sin and the weights that so easily entangle us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Sin wreaks havoc with our conscience. Once that happens, there are only two ways to go. Repent and turn from that sin–even it it’s the thousandth time, turn to God and be cleansed, and walk like Christ walked, or else we can excuse ourselves and walk on our own.
Everything we do is either drawing us closer to God or taking us farther away. Likewise, our actions are either drawing people to Christ, or the opposite is true.