So we’ve clearly established that we are all sinners. Yet we also know that once we’ve accepted Christ as our personal savior, and the Holy Spirit begins to work in us, we should be working on not sinning. It is not as though knowing that we’re a hopeless sinner means we throw our hands up and say – “Well, I can’t help it anyway. I’m a sinner.”
Psalm 19 talks about a couple different types of sins. “Hidden faults” and “deliberate sins”.
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. Psalm 19:12 & 13
So what’s the difference? Here’s my take on it:
Hidden faults lurking in our heart seem like they would relate more to the thoughts and feelings we have that may creep up on us. We don’t necessarily feed them or encourage them, but because of our sinful nature – they’re there. But they remain hidden. We don’t act on them. In some cases, we may not even realize they’re brewing. And with a repentant and humble heart, we ask God to get rid of them. We don’t continue to think about them. We don’t accept them as things we just can’t help. We don’t let them turn into deliberate sins!
So what are deliberate sins? The NIV translates it as “willful”. As in – you know before you do it that it’s not right, but you do it anyway. These are the types of sins that haunt you when you’re a child of God. You end up in a cycle of: bad choice, regret, repentance…repeat!
The important thing to remember is that when you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you and one of the things he does is give you a feeling of conviction to help you recognize sin as sin, and to urge you to turn away. (John 16:8) When you feel that tug at your heart telling you to run the other direction, you have to look around for the way out that God has provided – and run! Don’t ignore that feeling, though, or you’ll become desensitized to it and you won’t even notice it anymore.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
…And God is faithful. He will not allow you the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7