Most Christians are taught that sin is a choice. And we like to think that most of the choices we make are good ones. Many of us are even willing to admit that some of our choices are less than good–we may even be able to call these bad choice sin. Few of us take the time to realize that the Bible makes it clear that sin is more than some stupid mistakes. It’s more than a choice; it’s a power. That’s why Paul’s letter to the Romans talks about sin ruling.
There is a story told in the One Year Unlocking the Bible Devotional about a large group of people going on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to one of the Pacific islands. Many are traveling in economy class, some are traveling business class, and a few are in first class. Everything is going smoothly en route until suddenly an alarm sounds. Smoke fills the cabin and, to your horror, three masked gunmen appear. You realize that the unthinkable has happened: the plane has been hijacked and you are all hostages.
It no longer matters what class you are flying because you are all in the same position. The hijackers are in control and are determining the destiny of the plane. That’s what it means when the Bible talks about sin ruling. Sin invaded our world and took charge of our ultimate destiny–it was in control.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free from sin’s ruling power, but not from its influence. This is where we need to accept and depend upon that ultimate sacrifice daily (hourly, or minute by minute if necessary) in order to overcome sin’s constant influence.
The problem is that too many people see sin not as a dangerous hijacker, but as a harmless pest. In the book Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver comes to a town where people are so tiny that he seems like a giant. During his visit, Gulliver becomes tired, and while he sleeps, the little people climb all over him, tying him with thousands of tiny threads. The individual threads have very little strength, but together they effectively paralyze this comparative giant.
Sin is not simply a choice; it’s a power that has taken over our world. It may seem innocuous at times, but its many threads are too strong for you to break on your own. So depend on the grace and power of Jesus–not for just the big things, but for the seemingly little things as well.