When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. (Rom. 6:20)

DESCRIBING THE POWER OF SIN and its ability to disintegrate the soul, John Ortberg in his book Soul Keeping shares about the research of Duke professor Dan Ariely. Ariely was astounded by the widespread human tendency to cheat, be self-centered, and be deceitful. He discovered that human beings are driven by two primary motivations. The first is that we want to receive selfish gain and avoid pain. We want this so much that we are willing to lie or cheat for it. The second motivation is that we want to be able to look in the mirror and think well of ourselves. That means we all want to view ourselves as basically good, honest, honorable people. Clearly, these two motivations are in conflict with each other.

Paul reminded us that those who sin may think they are free, but in reality they are slaves to evil. In the end, we reap death when we sin. However, by knowing God, we have the possibility of a life dominated by repentance and righteousness. We can have a holy and fruitful life. Growing in this new life will not be sidetracked by sin. The result of yielding to the new nature is holiness, not obtained through works of the law, but obtained as a result of our new relationship with God.

Name your sin, confess it, and be set free!

Jeremy Summers is ministry director at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA and coauthor of Awakening Grace and Paradox (WPH).