Why do Christians still struggle with sin? Why does God allow it to remain and not kill it immediately like he will do when we see him face to face and reach our glorified state? Every believer has asked these questions when the war against flesh and Spirit becomes tiring, but they are not without answers. Below, Thomas Boston gives seven reasons sin is not immediately eliminated from the believer’s life.
1. God has ordered the matter of the believer’s sanctification that sin is left to be active in their souls while here on earth, for their further humiliation. For example, God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. And so we find David, after his grievous fall, grows in the grace of humility.
2. The Lord allows sin to remain in His people so they are stirred to the frequent exercise of prayer. The soul feels the continual need of pardon, and therefore must be much lying at God’s footstool. When His children grow remiss in their duty, the Lord sometimes allows them to fall into some grievous sin to awaken them and wound their conscience, so that they cry to Him like a child who falls into a fire.
3. The sin left in us makes us more watchful of our hearts which still are prone to wander. When a prisoner escapes, and they catch him, they will put him into more close custody than before. We walk through a world filled with many snares; if we were not watchful, we would be caught in them!
4. Just like God allowed some Canaanites to remain in the land to try His people, so He has left remains of natural corruption in them for their exercise and trial. Indwelling sin makes us lean on Christ’s strength and use God’s armor in the battle.
5. Through sin is left in us, we are made more and more to feel our need for Christ and His precious blood for the removal of our guilt daily contracted anew, and for the strengthening of our souls in our Christian course so that we come out of the wilderness resting upon our Beloved.
6. Through the indwelling sin that remains, Christ is glorified. While the enemy, sin, dwells in us, Christ’s grace and Holy Spirit are at work in us so that the enemy cannot overcome, domineer, or destroy us. Because of indwelling sin, we know that we cannot justify ourselves, but can only be justified by the perfect obedience of Christ, which we lay hold of by faith. In this, Christ is glorified.
7. To see how God makes such an excellent medicine from such poisonous ingredients, cannot be but very delightful! Romans 8:28