Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. (Proverbs 24:16)
For the Christian who longs to please God (and thus demonstrates that God has indwelt their conscience), it is discouraging and heartbreaking to fall into sin.
Satan throws gasoline onto the flame of our frustration, saying that not only have we disappointed our God, but we will never do any better. He tempts us, gets us to cooperate with his agenda by committing sin, then turns around and shames us for it. A vicious one-two punch. Indeed, the Hebrew word “Satan” carries the meaning “accuser”.
Fortunately, we belong to God, not him.
Our systematic theology never suggests that a Christian will never sin. It teaches us that the righteous are marked by repentance, by a desire to improve. You know the saying “it’s not about the size of the man in the fight, but the size of the fight in the man”? Well, the Christian has a Christ-sized fight within him. “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 1:4)
Though Proverbs 24:16 could be applied to how the righteous (and wicked) react to hardship and loss, it has also been used to describe his reaction to sin. Matthew Henry comments, “The just man falls, sometimes falls seven times perhaps, into sin, sins of infirmity, through the surprise of temptation; but he rises again by repentance, finds mercy with God, and regains his peace.”
We can let sin drive us away from God, or let it drive us towards God in repentance. Satan would love nothing more than the former. That’s his real agenda. But when we choose instead to humbly seek and receive God’s forgiveness after sin, Satan’s jig is up. The cross provides the Savior who paid the price for our sins and made us clean before God, and we acknowledge and celebrate.
It’s nice to be able to post something that applies to everyone, eh?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If you’ve stumbled this week, don’t get discouraged. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t bemoan about how you will “never get there”, no matter how many years you’ve fallen. Rise a seventh time. God has your back. His glory is our rear guard.
I’m glad you tuned in today. If you’ve found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!