The Addiction of Sin: Lesson 12

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
‘Til every dark addiction starts to break
Declaring there is hope and there is freedom
I speak Jesus

These powerful lyrics are from the song “I Speak Jesus.” They were written by a team consisting of Raina Pratt, Kriston Dutton, Charity Gayle, Jesse Reeves, Dustin Smith, Carlene Prince, and Abby Benton. The entire song is found on the album “Endless Praise,” recorded by Charity Gayle and released on September 10, 2021.

I have included this brief excerpt from “I Speak Jesus” in this post for more than one reason. First, I recall the strong spiritual impact of singing the song for the first time during the worship set at our home church, The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Mitchell Bland is pastor. Second, these lyrics name addiction for what it is: It is a dark, binding force that must be broken. Third, those who suffer from addiction are not left without hope. There is hope and there is freedom! Fourth, the source of this hope and freedom is the name of Jesus.

In Lesson 11 of this series on the addiction of sin, I mentioned that in Lesson 12 we would think about Keith Miller’s proposed adaptation of the Twelve Step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. We will do that now, but if you have not been following this series, you may want to go back and review the previous eleven posts first.

We will list Miller’s twelve steps individually, which means we will complete our examination of his work in a series of posts. With each point, we will compare Miller’s insight to relevant biblical truth.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our Sin — that our lives had become unmanageable.

This admission immediately calls to mind Paul’s confession recorded in Romans 7:15-25. We have already thought about Paul’s frank acknowledgment of his struggles in this series of posts, and it would be helpful to read his words again.

Some who read Paul’s words find it almost impossible to believe the great apostle could honestly say, “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15, NKJV). Could he really mean it when he wrote, “I do what I will not to do” (Romans 7:16, NKJV)? But Paul did not back away from this transparent stream of thought. He continued:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice (Romans 7:18-19, NKJV).

This sounds a lot like Miller’s admission of personal powerlessness over sin. It calls for help from another source. And of course, that is where Paul’s struggles took him. As he came to the conclusion of his confession, Paul wrote, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25, NKJV).

Some who read Paul’s words are so surprised, even shocked them, that they insist Paul could only be describing something in his past. Surely Paul could not be referring to anything in the days after his conversion!

But Paul wrote in the present tense. There is no hint that all of this is behind him.

I graduated from Western Apostolic Bible College (now known as Christian Life College) in 1967. When I returned to teach in the school in 1982, one of my delights was to discover that Olive Haney, the widow of the school’s founder, Clyde J. Haney, was still a member of the faculty. Her husband had been one of my teachers, and he had a profound influence on me.

One day Sister Haney brought to me her husband’s handwritten notes on the Book of Romans. I was happy to see that Brother Haney acknowledged the significance of the fact that Paul’s words in Romans 7 were written in the present tense. They do not describe some bygone struggle in Paul’s life. They describe the kind of struggle any person of faith may face. They call for admission of personal powerlessnenss apart from Jesus Christ our Lord. Apart from Him, our lives are unmanageable.

In future posts, we will continue to examine Keith Miller’s proposals from a biblical point of view.