John is a WELS Member who has been incarcerated for most of his adult life. I first met John when he joined our Bible study at the prison to which he had been transferred. While he has been at several prisons at which I do not serve, I now meet with him regularly to study God’s Word.
When we met one day, John seemed distressed. When I asked if something was bothering him, he answered, “Yes,” and asked me, “Pastor, why do I keep on committing the same sins over and over again?” And then he added, “It’s like I’m addicted!”
For a few moments, I thought about what John had said and then answered his question. I agreed with John that sin often seems to be very much like an addiction in a Christian’s life. I told John that in a spiritual sense he is “addicted” to sin. So am I. The Apostle Paul also confessed the same truth about his life in his letter to the Christian’s in Rome, “So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19 – EHV).
It’s sad, but true, for every Christian. All too often, the sin that I don’t want to be part of my life is exactly what I do. And even worse, the good that I want to do, I don’t do! It’s like an addiction. I just go on sinning day after day after day. I can’t help myself, but Jesus can (and did). Jesus helped me overcome my “addiction to sin.”
I reminded John that our loving Father forgives all of our sins for Jesus’ sake and gave thanks with him. Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we stand not guilty before our Father in heaven through faith in his Son. With his suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan and shattered sin’s hold on us. Now, one day we will be in heaven with our Savior, where we will be forever free of our “addiction” to sin.