9 Ways We “Poo” Our Sin before We Ever Commit It

I realize this opening picture may be a bit gross, but I trust it sets up my point. Maybe you’ve heard of sprays like “Poo-Pourri before You Go Toilet Spray” that are designed to eliminate “bathroom odor before it begins” (see, I warned you it might be a bit gross. . .). What I’m really thinking about today, though, is how often we do essentially the same thing with our sin: we make it smell better in our own minds before we ever commit it. Here are some ways we do that:

  1. Convince ourselves nobody will know anyway. The Bible says otherwise (Heb 4:13), but we pay little attention to the Word when we’ve decided to move in a sinful direction. 
  2. Decide our actions won’t cost us anything. We’ve gotten away with the sin in the past—so why should we worry about consequences now? 
  3. Say to ourselves, “It’s not so bad. It could surely be worse.” To say “it could be worse” is to say, “It doesn’t smell as bad as it could.” 
  4. Bank on the hope we can get right with God tomorrow. That is, we’ll give in to the temptation just one more time. Then, we’ll do better after that. 
  5. Hold on to a false understanding of “once saved, always saved.” I believe 100% in the eternal security of the believer (though I realize many folks do not), but that doctrine doesn’t give us license to sin.  
  6. Compare ourselves to others—and find ourselves to be more committed than they are. As long as we’re ahead of the game compared to other churchgoers, there’s not much reason to be too concerned about our own sin. 
  7. Blame others for our even considering a wrong path. After all, we’re only this way because of the way our parents raised us . . . or our culture taught us . . . or our church treated us. 
  8. Remind ourselves of all our good works rather than deal with our potential wrong. When we list multiple “good works,” one sinful choice doesn’t seem so bad. 
  9. Buy the lies of culture that what was once considered wrong simply isn’t that wrong. By its very nature, rebellion rejects the truth and clings to lies. 

What’s the point of this post? It’s not just that we “poo” our sin, but that we’ve already stepped in the wrong direction as soon as we start minimizing our potentially wrong choices. May God help us to see our sin for what it is. 


  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Like yourself, I believe in eternal security. But I am also mindful of what the apostle Paul writes about being like a brand—a piece of charred wood–plucked from the flames with the smell of smoke still upon us. The apostle James reminds us that if we repeatedly and persistently do evil and do very little, if any, good, we may lack a vital faith. In other words, we may not really be saved. We may have made a declaration of faith in baptism (or in paedo-baptist churches we may have been baptized as an infant and then made a profession of our own faith later in life before the gathered church and received the church’s prayers and the laying on of hands as gesture of goodwill) but we did not genuinely put our faith in Jesus, much less surrender our lives to him. I am acquainted with a number of people from credo-baptist and paedo-baptist church backgrounds who have said that it was mainly because their friends were being baptized or confirmed that they were baptized or confirmed. They really understand the implications of what they were doing. Their pastor, their parents, and other members of the church encouraged them to take the step. The outward sign, being immersed in a tank of water or having a bishop or minister lay hands on them, was treated with more importance than the inward reality that it was supposed to represent, giving one’s self wholeheartedly to Jesus, not just trusting his suffering and death for one’s salvation but also submitting to his lordship and embracing his teachings as one’s way of life. We can plunge an individual in a tank of water every day of their life and bishops and ministers can line up in row and lay hands on that individual every day of their life but these actions will not save that individual or make them a disciple of Jesus Christ. I do not believe in sinless perfection, that we can in this life be entirely free from sin but I will concede that what is impossible for us is not impossible for God. When we do make that momentous decision to follow the Lord Jesus, we do in the words of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, which means that we make a commitment to avoid sin and if we do fall into sin to repent and to amend our ways. Avoiding sin means that we work hard at it. While we are not free from the inclination to sin, we do our utmost not to give into that inclination. We do not do that alone in our own power. God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, his own presence in our inner most being, and he actively works in us to will and do what pleases him. Call it grace if you like. It certainly flows from his love and good-will toward us, which we do not merit and which we cannot earn.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    “They did NOT really understand the implications of what they were doing” is what they mean to say. The early church catechized candidates for baptism before they were baptized and catechized them after they were baptized. What I gather from these individuals, they did not received negligible discipling before they were baptized and negligible discipling afterwards. Most churches that practice confirmation have a tradition of catechizing candidates for confirmation but the catechizing is not extensive or in depth. I was baptized as an infant and confirmed in my late teens. The preparation that I received before my confirmation focused upon the vows that were made at my baptism and which I was going to affirm at my confirmation, an explanation of the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, all traditional elements of the Prayer Book Catechism, and a brief review of the history, customs, and traditions of the church. I received even less preparation when I was rebaptized at the Baptist church that I attend for roughly 10 years. I received no instruction in how to live the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. I suspect that new believers and longtime believers struggle with sin at least in part because they have not received instruction in how to recognize the ways that we deceive ourselves and how to resist the temptation to sin. What I have learned has been from reading the Puritan classics on these subjects and other literature.

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