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Who Am I When I Sin?

We're not just "mistakers" who need self-help; we're sinners who need a Savior.


The early Christian movement had a list that is famous to this day: "The Seven Deadly Sins." The seven sins on the list were pride, envy, anger, laziness, greed, gluttony, and lust. I've committed all seven—repeatedly. And not just before I became a follower of Christ, but after. This very week, in fact. In other words, I am a sinner.

And that creates a problem. How do I live with my sin? How do I understand it? What is it doing to me? Why do I sin over and over again? And where is God in all my sin? How does he look at it, feel about it, react to it? Is it okay if it's just one time, but after a while—particularly when it's the same sin, over and over—does he just give up on me? Turn away in disgust? Withdraw himself from my life? Is the relationship over?

In his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes these words:

When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and I get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

Is that you? Well, it's me. And I'm not alone. Listen to these words from the Bible from the apostle Paul:

I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do …. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Rom. 7:14-15; 18-19).

Today we begin a series called "Wicked"—a look at the complexities of our spiritual ...

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James Emery White is founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a consulting editor to Leadership Journal. He is author of Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, and blogs at

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I. The first and only story

II. The tree: rebellious

III. The serpent: deceived

IV. The fruit: temptation