Want to stop sinning? Here’s how to get started.

4 Eternal Truths About God That Changes Us

Where does sin come from? Why do we still sin even after we have acknowledged something as sin, and perhaps, repented of it over and over?

I cannot believe I did that again!

My friend and author Tim Chester shared this with a group of us and it forever changed my view of sin.

“Sinful acts always have their origin in some form of unbelief–behind every sin is a lie. The root of all our behavior and emotions is the heart, what it trusts and what it treasures. People are given over to sinful desires because ‘they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie…”  Romans 1:25

“Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”  Romans 14:23

Another word for faith is belief, and these verses suggest that all sin comes from not believing what is true about God. Typically people want to blame their sin on their circumstances… I got angry because the guy cut me off in traffic… I started to worry all the time because my husband lost his job… I yelled at the kids because they weren’t obeying me… But the reality is that our circumstances merely reveal what is already in our hearts. Our struggles reveal our hearts.

The reality is that our circumstances and struggles merely reveal what is already in our hearts.Click To Tweet

This heart level perspective is a radical view of sin and repentance. But this perspective is also a very helpful view of sin and transformation, because it very clearly shows us the way out. Most of us think that the way to stop sinning is to change our behavior. But if behind every sin is a lie about God, then what really needs to change is what I am believing in my heart.

Here’s what I learned from Tim and his powerful book, You Can Change:

I call these the 4 G’s – Four eternal truths about God, that when not fully believed, lead to every human sin:

God is Great…so I don’t have to be in control

God is Glorious…so I don’t have to fear others

God is Good…So I don’t have to look elsewhere for my satisfaction

God is Gracious…so I don’t have to prove myself

If you are anything like me, when I first heard or read these “4 G’s” I was at once drawn to one or two of these in my soul, and immediately convicted by the Spirit that I had unbelief in those areas.

Stress, fears, performance issues, ungratefulness, striving…

Notice that all of these are heart issues. There is always a heart issue behind every sinful action.

Unbelievers… All of us!

Not many Christians think of themselves as unbelievers. We normally use the term to describe people who are sojourners and not yet disciples of Jesus. But there are many things about God that we actually do not believe. Often there is a large gap between what we say we believe in our head, and what we truly believe in our heart.

I call this our Head–Heart Distortion

The process of closing the gap between what we know in our head and what we believe in our heart is called sanctification. Sanctification is about becoming more like Jesus, but we will only become more like Jesus when our actions are consistent with what we say we believe.

I have found it super helpful to have a copy of the 4G’s up on my refrigerator or taped to my bathroom mirror. A friend of mine has a small copy of it printed out and she keeps it in her wallet or purse. Download this copy I made, the link is right here, print it out and place it somewhere that will help you to remember these four eternal truths throughout your day.

There is much more that could be said about God than is covered by these four truths, but they give us a powerful diagnostic tool for addressing most of the sins and negative emotions that we struggle with. The next best time to change the false beliefs that are leading to our sinful actions is now.

Question: Where in your experience have you believed one thing in your head, but acted out of a different heart motive, belief or perception? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: If you want to work out how these 4 Gs can really change your life, and grow in your Gospel Fluency as a community, check out the Gospel Primer. I think you and your friends will love it!