Skip to content Skip to footer

How Does Sin Affect Christians? 3 Important Ways

One of the most treasured truths of the Gospel is the security of the believer, that no matter how far a child of God may wander, nothing will separate Christ from the love that He has for His people. (Romans 8:38-39) Nothing can undo our justification, our citizenship in heaven, our seal of the Spirit, or our adoption as sons and daughters of the Father.

But how does sin affect Christians? And if it does, in what ways does this happen? Let’s take a look at three main areas using Scripture where we find that sin still has consequences, sometimes severe, for the Christian.

Consequences with God

The first area is with God Himself. Although Paul’s letters to Timothy are primarily for instruction to pastors, they still contain invaluable and pertinent application for all Christians. In light of that, let’s look at 2 Tim 2:20-21:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also those of wood and clay; some for honorable use and some for dishonorable. So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

In other words, when we are caught up in sin, we are not as usable to God because of both the spiritual and practical effects of sin. Spiritually speaking, sin will dull our hearts and affections for God. Practically speaking, sin will rob us of both our mental energy and time to devote to good works for God.

But also there is a sense in which we can grieve the Holy Spirit. It saddens the Lord to see His children in sin, much like the same would be true of an earthly father and son. In the context of instructing the Ephesians to avoid sin Paul writes, “And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30 CSB) Even though we are as Christians permanently sealed until the day of salvation, we can still grieve the Spirit because of our sin. The word “grieve” here means literally “to make sorrowful” or “to affect with sadness.” God is truly saddened when we sin.

Consequences with neighbors

The second area of consequence is the area of our neighbors around us. When we are in sin, it robs our hearts of love and affection for others around us. We become more inwardly drawn to ourselves and less concerned about the needs of others. And as a result of our sin, we are either worn down from its effects, or we are consumed by its temporary pleasures. The bottom line is that it pulls us away from the love of our neighbors.

Consequences with self

And the third area is the area of ourselves. All sin harms the individual. Some sin is more harmful than others. For example, in an addiction to pornography, even though it can largely be hidden from the public eye, it dramatically alters the physical and chemical balances in the brain and distorts them into unhealthy and wildly fluctuating levels, altering our behavior and health in a harmful way. This addiction also distorts our view of God’s gift of sex and sets us up for future problems in relationships. This is only one example. No matter what the sin is, there are always both physical and spiritual consequences for both.

But our salvation is secure

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one thing that is not possible for the true Christian is the consequence of losing one’s salvation. Instead, God will discipline His child, sometimes very severely, in order to cause that person to turn from His sin (Hebrews 12:5-9). The Christian can rest assured that God will complete the work that He started in each and every one of His children. (Philippians 1:6)

The remedy for addressing any besetting sin is to lean heavily on the Lord through His Word and prayer continually. God always helps those who come to Him in humility. (Psalm 51:17) And through this process He will sanctify His children over the course of days, weeks, months, and years (2 Thessalonians 2:13) until one day we will be made perfect in Christ! (Philippians 1:6) This is a very precious promise that all Christians can confidently and boldly rest in!

Leave a comment

Swan Creek Baptist Church © 2024. All Rights Reserved.