Growing up in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, I often heard the phrase: “You are putting the cart before the horse.” The horse must pull the cart, not vice versa.
Sometimes, we make a similar mistake if we’ve ever believed that a reoccurring sin keeps us from salvation. God does not ask us to purify ourselves to receive His salvation. He is the only one who can purify us. He simply asks us to come to Him exactly as we are, admitting that our sin deserves eternal separation from God.
Being the holy God He is, our Father must punish sin with the only rightful punishment: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But Jesus Christ paid that price for that sin by dying in our place. God punished Him where He should have punished us.
Christ was our substitute: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Three days later, Jesus Christ arose, proving that He had conquered both sin and the grave. That’s why we can trust His earlier declaration, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
To receive this salvation, we must come to God as sinners, recognize that Christ died for us and rose again, and place our trust in Him alone to save us. The moment we do, God forgives us of everything wrong we have ever done or will do, giving us the completely free gift of eternal life.
One of the simplest things Jesus Christ ever said was, “Most assuredly, I say to you, He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 5:47).
Once we trust Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and gives us the ability to live a life reflecting the Savior. The Holy Spirit even gives us the desire to give up particular sins: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
Should we fail in our walk with Him, God does not take back His free gift. That gift was given on the basis of His Son’s performance, not on the basis of ours: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). That is why to be His is to be eternally His.
If we tell God, “I am not going to come to Christ because I don’t ever want to give up a specific sin,” we are overlooking the Holy Spirit’s ability to take away our desire toward that sin.
Second, even as pleasant and pleasurable as that sin may be, it is only for a season (Heb. 11:25). The pleasure is passing not lasting. No sin is worth being separated from God over.
I would beg you to come to Christ. As you grow as a Christian, God will introduce you to a life far more abundant than a life of sin could ever bring. Christ emphasized to His followers, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Don’t put the cart before the horse. God is not saying, “Give up a particular sin and then come to Me.” God is saying, “Come to Me and I will help you experience a victory over sin that apart from Me you will never have.”