Sin Within: Why We Do What We Do
At some point in my adolescent years, I experienced the 1959 Vincent Price classic, The Tingler. Ever seen it? For its time, it’s creepy. Mr. Price plays Dr. Warren Chapin who has a theory that the emotion of terror is actually caused by a creature living within us that is kept tiny only by our screams. When he performs the autopsy of a lady who was deaf and mute, he discovers the tingler, which happens to escape and run around a movie theater for a while like a giant centipede.
Dr. Chapin’s discovery reminds me of a far more bone-chilling theological reality – sin comes from within. It’s easy to blame Satan, the culture, our parents, spouse, or anyone else in our line of vision. But sin is something that we do because it’s like an invisible creature within us. Paul said,
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. – Colossians 3:5 NLT
Creepy, eh? Now you know why you and I do what we do when we do what we know we shouldn’t do. It’s sin. It grabs control of us anytime we allow it. In fact, it dominates us. But there is hope! Notice Paul says it can be put to death. How? By trusting in Jesus, who died to free us from its grip and rose from the dead to give us the power to live a whole new life and walk in victory. That’s how he’s able to continue his thoughts this way:
Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy… get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other… – Colossians 3:5, 8-9 NLT
We don’t lust because pornography is produced and sold. We lust because of sin within us. We aren’t greedy and materialistic because retailers are so great at marketing. It’s because of sin within us. We don’t blow up at others because they push our buttons. It’s because sin lives within us. And we don’t lie because we have to. We lie because we are deceived by sin within us.
Paul’s instructions to stop doing these things would be absolutely burdensome and impossible if he were merely telling us to overcome these tendencies in our own power. We are no match for the evil creature of sin within us. But by trusting in Jesus, we have the power and freedom to declare our old sinful nature to be dead on a daily basis and to live the brand new life He has given us as a gift. Now we get to look anger, deceit, profane thoughts, lust, greed, and any other internally-produced sin in our lives right in the face and declare: “I’m sorry. I’m dead to you. You’ll have to find another victim.”
The only way to really change is to follow Jesus, trust Him as our Savior and Redeemer, and live our lives in constant submission to His will and in His power. Not only is this new life possible, it’s what He wants for you right now.