The practice of sin is not to be the normal lifestyle of believers. When we sin it has an impact upon us and others. For one thing, it robs us of our ability to understand spiritual truth. The Bible says that it is the Holy Spirit that helps us understand the will of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-12). Therefore, the believer is completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit if he or she expects to learn anything of permanent spiritual value. But harboring sin:
- Quenches the Holy Spirit’s ministry (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Quench means to throw a wet blanket over. Sin is not acknowledging the will of God through preaching (5:20), not being thankful in everything (5:18), not praying spontaneously (5:17), not rejoicing in whatever circumstances we find ourselves (5:16), and not abstaining from evil (5:22). All these small things quench the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry in our lives and takes away our sharpness to understand spiritual truth.
- Bible study becomes unfruitful. Bible study is not the rewarding experience of Psalm 1:1, 2 nor does Bible study accomplish anything in our lives per James 1:22-24. We are supposed to let God’s word act like a mirror to point out areas in our personal life that need changing. Instead we make excuses or forget to apply Bible teaching to our everyday situations and decisions.
- Robs believers of their joy (1 John 1:4). Joy is a deep satisfaction that stems from the knowing the channel is open between us and the Lord. We are in the place that He approves. It is an inner happiness not dependent upon outside circumstances. Sin will rob us of that joy.
- Deprives us of the Spirit’s upholding (Psalm 51:12). Another problem with sin is that it takes away the Spirit’s support. An example of this would be King David. After his sin of murder and adultery he asked the Lord for restoration of the support of God in his life. Sin causes us to lose the inner support of peace and direction. In short, we do not feel too saved right then. The Christian then looks to worldly pleasures to fill that void. It is like an anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty heart. Yet, as David pleaded, true security is found only in Him.
- Robs us of our peace (Psalm 32:3, 4). The believer is to be characterized by an inner calm and contentment (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15). Sin causes anguish of the heart – which is complete loss of peace.
- Hinders our fellowship with God (1 John 1:3, 6). Fellowship can be defined as consciousness that everything is right between God and us at any moment. The same things that make God happy make us happy. Likewise the things that make God sad make us sad.
- Causes separation (1 John 1:6). Sin can causes a separation between ourselves and the Lord. In 1 John 1:6, to “live a lie” means trying to live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh while “not practicing the truth” refers to those who are ignorant or willfully disobedient of God’s commandments. The believer experiences a lost or alone feeling until they get things right with God.
- Results in a loss of confidence in prayer (1 John 3:19-22). Notice that the final promise is qualified. The Christian must be obedient – they must keep God’s commandments to have their prayers answered. Thus the Holy Spirit controls only those who ask to be under His control. The things the believer prays for are what the Holy Spirit directs them in the will of God (Romans 8:26, 27).
- Means unanswered prayers until confession (Psalm 66:18). Sin can cause our prayers to be unanswered. When believers sin, God does not answer their prayers with a “Yes”. God wants to first hear a prayer of confession.
- The loss of the anticipation of Jesus’s return as opposed to confidence (2 Corinthians 5:8). A believer should be able to stand before the judgment seat with confidence. The judgment seat can be a time of vindication where all the little things that we have done behind the scenes, that have gone unnoticed by people, will come to light.
- Become fearful (John 2:28). Sin will cause us to be fearful of what is uncovered when Christ judges our works.
- Robs of light (1 John 1:6). Confidence is replaced by pretense marked by indecision as to what is right and what is wrong in every area of life.
- Loss of righteousness (1 John 3:4-10). Practicing sin (as opposed to the single sin) demonstrates the lack of righteousness, actions demonstrating a lifestyle opposite to that of God and His ways.
- Loss of love (1 John 2:5; 15-17; 4:12). Critical to this loss is 1 John 4:12b: “if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” God defines Himself in Exodus 34:6: “The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” all of which is of no gain to the one living in sin, including the loss of testimony.
- Possible loss of health and even physical life (1 Corinthians 11:30). There is a direct correlation between our spiritual wellbeing and physical existence; especially evident given sin itself begins in the heart and unavoidably working its way outward in a physical manifestation which hinders our testimony. So concerned was Paul that he specifically admonished the Corinthian believers (saved, but carnal in their hearts and actions) not to take communion unless they had confessed known sin, asked for guidance regarding unknown offenses, determining to live according to God’s convictions.
When we sin it has an effect on us as well as others. We lose our spiritual sharpness. Confession is the only thing that can bring that back. Therefore it is vital that believers confess their sins.