Knowing God Personally: Our Sin Separates Us from God

Principle Two: All of us are sinful and separated from God. Therefore we cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for our life..

The fact is, we need Jesus. The Bible says, “…all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23b). Though God intended for us to have a relationship with Him, we naturally want to do things our own way. We’re stubborn, selfish, and frequently unable to follow through on our promises. Try as we might, we just keep stumbling.

Deep down, our attitude may be one of active rebellion or passive indifference, but it’s all evidence of what the Bible calls sin — an old archery term which literally means “missing the mark.”

The Bible says the result of sin in our lives is death–spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

Although we may try to reach God through our own effort, we inevitably fail. We just can’t ever be good enough.

This diagram shows the great gap that exists between us and God. The arrows illustrate that we are always trying to reach God and find a meaningful life through our own efforts. We may try to do good things, adopt a new guiding philosophy, live a moral life or practice religion–but we inevitably fail.

How can we bridge this gulf? >>

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15 thoughts on “Knowing God Personally: Our Sin Separates Us from God

  1. Linda

    Hi, I stumbled upon your iamnext website while reviewing interviewing questions/answers. While on your site, I clicked on the Spirituality tab where I found “A Guided Tour Read Through the Bible.” This led me to begin reading the Bible the first time in my life at the age of 53. I can’t thank you enough for leading me to the Bible. I read it every night before going to bed. I really enjoyed the articles and the recommended reading of the Bible. Did you remove this page permanently :(? If so, can I still get access to it in some other way? This is a wonderful site. God Bless you for your insight and spreading the Word of God.

  2. Juanita

    Hello! How does repentance and forgiveness from God work? What if you stumble and fall, sin against God and ask for forgiveness and commit the same sin again?..

    I’m just curious about that…

  3. Mathieu

    Juanita, I’m not on staff with Power to Change, but your question is a good one.

    When I’ve committed habitual or wilful sin, I’ve felt the “terrifying expectation of judgment” that Hebrews 10 speaks of. I will continue to commit myself to God, however, as he is the only one who can (1) pardon me and (2) give me the strength to overcome such sin.

    I would recommend you follow up with someone who understands Hebrews 10:19-39 better than I do.

  4. JamieJamie

    Hi Juanita, I agree with Mathieu, your question is an important one and one that is best answered by God’s Word. First of all it is important to know our standing with God. Paul writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:17) That means that when a person puts their trust in Jesus as the one who paid the penalty for their sin they stand before God pure and blameless. They are clothed in His righteousness. Because that righteousness comes through Jesus’ sacrifice there is nothing that a person can do to compromise it. It is an incorruptible righteousness because it is God’s righteousness.

    “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) You can see how given the understanding of our standing before God someone might suggest that we should do whatever we want because nothing we do can corrupt the righteousness we have received from God. Paul wanted to stop this train of thought completely. The reality is, when a person has been set free from the penalty of sin their response is always, “I never want to sin again!” Because that person is so grateful for the forgiveness they have received from God they want to spend their lives thanking Him for that. So it is natural that when a follower of Jesus sins that they are broken by their error.

    But the Bible gives us hope about that as well, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9) Yes our sin hurts God but when we confess and turn from that sin He forgives us and we don’t have to be controlled by that sin nor the fear of penalty for that sin. How often does God forgive that sin? Jesus directed His followers to generously forgive those who hurt the (Matthew 18:21-22) so it makes sense that God likewise is generous in His forgiveness.

    Not only does He forgive but He is also generous in the way that He helps us to stop the sin, “And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” (2Corinthians 3:18). So if you want to stop the sin that seems to keep messing you up ask the Holy Spirit to keep you from it. When you are in the situation when you stumble, pray that the Spirit would keep you pure. When you see the temptation ask for the Spirit’s help and then choose to walk away trusting that He is helping you. I have put up little notes in places where I am prone to temptation that remind me of what God wants for me. Those physical reminders help focus my attention on the spiritual help that comes from God.

    Now what about a sin that you know is wrong but refuse to stop? That’s what is being written about in Hebrews 10, a person who knows that something is wrong but says to themself “I don’t care, I like doing this and I am going to keep on doing it”. This is a completely different scenario than a person who feels broken over their repeated sins. This is a willful disobedience that does not show evidence of a person who has received the grace of God’s forgiveness. Now I have heard some people say that this person never really accepted Jesus as their Saviour and Lord in the first place and I have heard other people say that this is a person who may have accepted that gift initially but are now turning their back on it. We can’t know for sure because we don’t know the person’s heart and the sincerity of their decision to follow Jesus, but the result is that they will not receive God’s forgiveness but His judgment.

    So if you find yourself sinning and are disappointed with yourself and confess your sin determining to trust in the Holy Spirit to help you not sin again, God’s forgiveness is complete and He will indeed work in your life to bring the victory over that sin. If however, you have sin in your life and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit that your actions/attitudes are wrong but you willfully continue in that sin because it is convenient, pleasurable, or self-satisfying be warned, “Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people… It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:29,31)

  5. Juanita

    thanks mathieu for the response, highly appreciate your help… Thanks Jamie, I’ve learned a lot from your response and really it helped me reflect on my faith in God…

    .. I just have one follow-up concern though, lately I’m really troubled with my faith in God… Any helpful passages or articles on questioning God and strengthening faith in him??

  6. CarolCarol

    This is for Juanita. you wondered how this works about sinning and being forgiven from Jesus. Then what happens if you are forgiven and yet fall into sin again?
    We as humans are not perfect. We are made in God’s image but we are not God. Although Jesus is showing us “the way” he knows if when we stumbled again it was just a mistake or if we purposely planned to do it. Like the “woman caught in adultery” Jesus did not condemn her, but He said ” Go and sin no more” Jesus said we must forgive 70 x7 or as many times as asked. But Jesus knows the heart of men and if we are not truly right with Him and love Him and are trying to not fall into sin anymore especially in the same way, He will know the truth about our souls. We as people cannot really judge, but our Lord can and will… one day.. He came to save us and give us eternal life. He also came to heal and teach. We are to do the same and extend mercy as possible. It does not mean we just have to accept wrong, as” we can not like the sin ,but we love the sinner”Jesus knows any one’s heart, and trying to never commit the same sin or any sin is what we are to try to always do. But not being perfect mistakes can and will happen. But once we really accept Jesus it gets easier as He works with our hearts. After all, He lives inside of us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit, as the bible tells us.Hope this helps you to understand?

  7. JamieJamie

    Hi Juanita, I guess before i can answer your question I have to ask you for some clarification. What do you mean “troubled with my faith in God”? Are you questioning the existence of God, His love for you, His offer of forgiveness through Jesus, or His plan for your life? I assume from your question that there has been a shift so that now you are doubting where once you were not. What has led to that shift in faith?

  8. JamieJamie

    One promise that gives me confidence is Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” I also find Ephesians 2:10 encouraging, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” There is a specific purpose for which God has created you. In order for us to live out those purposes we are called to trust in God and look to Him for direction, empowering and completion: “Trust in Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Just because you cannot see the meaning and purpose of your life right now does not mean that you have no purpose. Our human perspective is a limited one and that is why we have to trust in God. He does have a purpose and He is generous in the way He leads us so that we can have confidence that we are indeed following Him. Jesus said, “My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) You can have the confidence that you will recognize the voice of Jesus and that He will give you the strength and wisdom you need in order to follow Him.

    Do those verses help you? Are there things that have happened that have caused you to doubt that God has a meaning and purpose for your life?

  9. danny batista

    IAll I want is for God to help me & guide me in the right path , & would like to have my family back, I would Like another chance to get my family back. I want to serve the lord & him only. For he is worthy to be praise !

  10. ShelleyShelley

    Dear Father God
    I lift up my brother to You at this time as he is apart from his family. I pray that you will restore the relationship with his family under your guidance. In Jesus Mightyname amen

  11. dennis

    When we sin as a believer . it is not God who moves away from us but us that move away from God. God is always there. As God moulds and shapes you you will begin to realise how destructive sin can be. Some people take longer than others to overcome habitual sin. When you are dissapointed with yourself there is more chance that you will turn to God

  12. Doris BeckD. Beck

    You are so right dennis…..it is us that turns away from God when we sin! That’s why it separates us from God because we have turned away from Him. Someone once explained it to me by using their hands and holding them in front of themselves with the palms facing. That’s how we are created ….to have fellowship with God. But when we sin, we turn our back on God and walk away from Him. That is, we turn our hand away, so that the back of our hand is facing God. He hasn’t moved…but we have broken fellowship so He turns away(back of hand to back of hand) We need to confess our sins according to 1 John 1:9 and when we do that, we accept His forgiveness and turn back to him. When we do that, He too turns back to us….He has never moved.

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