God keeps us from sinning

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God has been so gracious to us as Christians that not only does He forgive all of our sins by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, but He also restrains us from doing more sin than we do. He keeps us from sinning against Him.

In Genesis 20, to protect himself, Abraham lied to the king Abimelech. He was afraid that Abimelech would have him killed to take away Abraham’s wife, Sarah, so he told Abimelech that Sarah was not his wife, but his sister. And so, Abimelech took interest in Abraham’s wife. He had, unbeknownst to himself, coveted his neighbor’s wife.

Now, this hardly seems “fair”. Abimelech was in danger of adultery because Abraham had lied to him. Fully aware of this, Abimelech appeals to God and says something to the effect of, “Will you punish an innocent people? I didn’t know she was his wife.” And God responds,

Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. (Genesis 20:6)

Mercifully, he restrained Abimelech from committing this sin that he only would have done because Abraham lied to him. The key here is that God was the one who kept Abimelech from sinning against Him.

So, He’s able to do it. But does He do that regularly? Psalm 119 gives us a hint. In verse 10, the psalmist requests,

let me not wander from your commandments!

In this verse, the psalmist acknowledges that God is sovereign over whether we wander away from His commandments. It’s also important to pay attention to what’s around that verse. Earlier in verse 10, we read, “With my whole heart I seek you”. And then in verse 11, “I have stored up Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” In addition to asking for God to keep us from sinning against Him, we also fight sin by seeking Him wholeheartedly and storing up His word in our hearts.

However, who is it that causes us to seek Him wholeheartedly? Who is it that causes us to store up the word in our hearts? He does. He, according to Philippians 2, causes us to will and to work for His good pleasure. So, while we have a responsibility to not sin, it is ultimately God who deserves the credit when we don’t sin. He keeps us from sinning, and for that, we should be wholly grateful.

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