Sin as Slavery – Gospel in Life

Sin as Slavery

Tim Keller |  March 17, 1996

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  • Sin
Numbers 11:4-6,10-20
RS 66-09


The Bible says human hearts are sinful, but beyond that we’re slaves to sin. The Bible says sin is not just an action; it’s a power. Every sinful action has a destructive power upon the faculty that put that action forth.

In other words, when you sin with the mind, that sin shrivels the rationality. When you sin with the emotions, that sin shrivels the emotions. When you sin with the will, that sin destroys and dissolves your willpower and your self-control. Sin is the destructive action of the self against itself. Sin destroys freedom. Sin is an enslaving power. It shrivels us up.

Numbers 11:4–6, 10–20

The tale of the Israelites moaning in the desert about not having enough meat, and how God provided for them, shows us how humans can often make bad choices, even when we know better. We all know what’s right and wrong, but we often fall into the trap of sin. Sin can harm our minds, feelings, and will, making us feel trapped. It’s tough, but we need to try to treat others how we want to be treated, admit that we can’t always do the right thing, and understand how addictive sin can be.

1. Tolerance

Being too tolerant can lead us on a never-ending search for pleasure. Things like alcohol, drugs, or sex may seem satisfying at first, but as time goes on, they lose their appeal. We then need more of them to feel satisfied. This constant chase for pleasure can make us numb, always unhappy, and always wanting more.

2. Denial

The harmfulness of addiction comes from how it can warp our understanding and logic, making us deny reality. The strong desires it creates can lead us to make excuses and justify our actions, hiding the truth. This kind of selective reasoning and memory tricks prevent us from thinking clearly and objectively.

3. Destroyed willpower

Sin works much like addiction, making us turn to the very thing causing our pain. When we value anything more than God, it starts a harmful cycle of always wanting, never being satisfied, and weakening our hearts, minds, and wills. Even though sin can feel imprisoning, there’s still a flicker of hope for getting better, which we should explore further.

1. You need an intervention from God

People often don’t see their real problems, not understanding that their main issue is turning away from God. It’s important to listen when someone suggests that your problem might be spiritual, meaning you’re not putting God at the center of your life. Admitting you’re powerless and asking for help can lead to real strength, while denying that you’re a slave to your desires can lead to the worst kind of slavery – not knowing your real state.

2. You have to worship God

Christians who are struggling with harmful habits need more than just self-control; the real issue is not desiring God enough. The cure is to seek God by reading His Word, going to worship with others, and praying. Seeing Jesus as our true liberator, who took our sins and died so we could be free, lets us find real freedom in His truth.



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