Creflo Dollar - The Roots Of Sinful Behavior
This morning, I want to teach on some things. Earlier this week, those of you who joined me in confession, I told you we were gonna talk about, you know, sinning after you're born again. And we are gonna talk about that, but there is a foundation that we need to establish before we get there. And, in fact, when I woke up yesterday morning, I saw, literally, I saw this image of this flowchart. And, in fact, guys, put that up there. I saw this image of this flowchart, and I got up right away and I asked the Lord, I'm familiar with each one of these. But what does it mean? And he showed me that here are the roots of sinful behavior.
We're always concerned about sinful behavior, and it's a big, big issue in the body of Christ. But there are things that we get ourselves involved in; and as a result of it, the behavior comes from those roots. And I saw this, got this diagram just like this, and it started off with unbelief. And then from unbelief, it went to self-righteousness. And from self-righteousness, it went to condemnation. From condemnation, it went to fear. And then as a result of all of these, it ended up in sinful behavior. And I began to recognize that, wait a minute, if we're gonna deal with sinful behavior, we've got to understand how unbelief is sin and how it causes sin. We've got to understand self-righteousness, how it is probably, from God's view, the greatest sin that a man could commit is self-righteousness, not trusting God.
And then it moved from self-righteousness to condemnation; because if there's ever any guilt, condemnation, shame in your life, self-righteousness is around the corner somewhere. And then from that condemnation it's fear. And then from fear, the sinful behavior. So, I want to teach on this progression. I want to teach on what I call the roots of sinful behavior, and that's what we're going to talk about, the roots of sinful behavior. Now, I asked the Lord, I said, "Show me this in scripture so that I can gain a better understanding". And when you talk about roots, then for us our roots would go back to Genesis. And let's go to Genesis chapter 3, Genesis chapter 3; and when we get to chapter 3, let's see if we can identify this at the very beginning. Genesis chapter 3, and let's start off at verse 3. And in verse 3, he says... and you know the story.
The Satan came in the garden through the body of a serpent and began to go at it. Man was flawless, man was perfect, man had never sinned. And then in verse 3 he says, "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die". And, of course, we know that they didn't believe this. So, here's unbelief right here. They had a choice to believe it and, of course, obey it, but we know that they didn't believe it, didn't obey it. And so you move down, so we see unbelief there in verse 3, and so you move down to verse 5. He says, "For God doth know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened," and watch this, "and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil".
See, the issue here is, I see self-righteousness here, because they wanted to be like God, through their own striving. They wanted to be like God without God, and you see self-righteousness here. You also see self-righteousness continuing in verse 7, where the Bible says, "And the eyes of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons". So, before, God clothed them with his glory. But when you enter into self-righteousness, then you begin to, you know, go into self-preservation, and then you start doing things on yourself. You're no longer depending on God to do it. Self-righteousness says, "I don't need God. I can do this myself".
So, we see self-righteousness there. And then we go on to verse 8 and it says, "And they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife," watch this, "they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD". What do we see here? They hid themselves from the... we see condemnation. They're feeling guilty because of what they did. They're feeling unfit because of what they did, and so we see condemnation there. And then in verse 10, we see the next area. He says, "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid". Fear came in. "I was afraid". Why? "Because I was naked; and I hid myself". So, fear came in as a result of that condemnation.
You know, I used to think fear was the foundation, but condemnation is. And then as a result of the unbelief, the self-righteousness, the condemnation, and the fear, we see them now entering into a sinful behavior in verse 12. "And the man said, 'The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat'". Look at that. It was blame game now. We're in the blame game. We're behaving, and we're blaming people. And so I was like, wow, there it is right there. And there was an interesting progression here that I really want to, to really enlighten everybody on. So, here's what I'm going to do this morning. We're gonna deal with each of those areas: unbelief, self-righteousness, condemnation, and fear, and then show you how, if you deal what those roots of sinful behavior, then you're going to find that you're not being dominated by sinful behavior, if you deal with the roots of sinful behavior.
So, let's begin in the book of Hebrews chapter 10 in the New Testament. Hebrews chapter 10. And when you get to Hebrews chapter 10, we're gonna look at the very first root that we need to take notice of, and I'm going to literally teach you each one of these, so that you can understand this. So, the first root of sinful behavior that we need to deal with is this issue of unbelief, unbelief. Now, I want to show you this in scripture. If you'll look at Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 26, he says, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifices for sin". "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifices for sin".
So, my question is what is the root to this willful sin? What is the root to this willful sin, and what does it mean? Does it mean, you know, I've heard all kinds of explanations here. To sin willfully means you did it on purpose. You did it intentionally. You know, all sin is willful. So, what does that mean? I've heard, but please understand, you define a verse of scripture by the context that that verse appears in. So, if we're going to find out what verse 26 is about, we've got to locate the context of what it's about. So, let's go through. Let's back up a little bit, and this really starts at verse 5. Follow me carefully. He says, "Wherefore when he cometh unto the world, he saith, Sacrifices and offerings thou wouldest not, but a body thou hast prepared me".
And so right here in verse 5, he is saying that this prepared body of Jesus Christ is going to become the sacrifice and the offerings and take the place of the animal sacrifice. Verse 10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all". So, notice it's the body of Jesus Christ which is now the offering that will be offered once and for all times. Verse 11, "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices," referring to the animal sacrifices, "which can never take away sins". So, he said animal sacrifices back in the day, even though they made the animal sacrifices, they could never take away sin. All they could do was cover sin. He says, verse 14, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified".
So, he's saying this one offering of the body of Jesus is going to forever sanctify and do what the blood of animals couldn't do. And then verse 18, he says, "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin". And so the context here is that the body of Jesus will now be the final sacrifice and now the only sacrifice that can deal with sins. And so the context says we're going to remove the animal sacrifice, once the body of Jesus is sacrificed, and now the body of Jesus being sacrificed will do something that animal sacrifices couldn't do. Animal sacrifices could never take away sin, but the sacrifice of Jesus's body will remove sin forever. That's the context.
And so you go to verse 26 and he says, "For if we sin willfully". So, what is the willful sin? The willful sin here is unbelief, rejecting Jesus as the final and the only sacrifice for sin. The willful sin is not believing that Jesus is the only sacrifice for sin. "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth", what truth? That Jesus, his body is the only sacrifice for sin. He's saying, "Then there remaineth no more sacrifices, if you don't believe that the body of Jesus is that final sacrifice".
So, right here, unbelief is the willful sin. Not believing is the willful sin. Now, most people would never, ever associate or would never associate unbelief with sin, but that's a root. To walk in unbelief is to walk in sin. And he says, because you didn't believe that Jesus's body was the final sacrifice, he called it sinning willfully. Why? I wondered, why did you call it this? Why did you call it willful sin? Because unbelief or belief is an act of the will. You decide to believe, and you decide not to believe. That's why on the cross, you see, one of the things we've got to understand about unbelief. Unbelief, you have to change your mind about unbelief and start believing. But God can't override your will and make you believe, because you're a free moral agent. Choose life or death, blessings or cursing. He can't make you believe. You have a choice. You are a free moral agent. You have a right to choose to believe. You have a right to choose not to believe, okay? And so by an act of your will to choose not to believe is a willful sin, by an act of your will.
So, Jesus... notice something. On the cross, it's the only sin that Jesus's blood couldn't take care of, unbelief. Why? Because you don't believe it. You don't believe what he did on the cross. You don't believe what his blood accomplished on the cross. You don't believe. So, unbelief can't be forgiven of, but it can be repented of. Let me say that again. It can't be forgiven of, but it can be repented of. In other words, how am I gonna forgive you of something when you don't believe it? So, you have to repent. Repent means to change your mind. So, if you change your mind, then every sin that exists in your life will be taken care of, because you changed your mind and decided to believe. This is a strong, strong subject that we never even think about. In fact, I want to go a little step further with this area of unbelief. There are three forms of unbelief, three forms of unbelief. Number one, ignorance.
The first form of unbelief is ignorance. It's when someone just doesn't know the truth, due to a lack of knowledge. And so they don't believe because of ignorance. They don't know the truth because of a lack of knowledge. And so in a lot of cases in our country, in the world, there are people who walk in unbelief just because of ignorance. They just don't know. They don't know the truth. And due to that lack of knowledge, they don't believe. That's the first form of unbelief.
The second form of unbelief is disbelief. Now, what is disbelief? It comes from being... disbelief is really refusing to believe the truth or refusing to accept the truth. Disbelief is refusing to accept something that is true. Now, this happens because, you know, this person is, you know, they were just taught wrong. Disbelief comes from wrong teaching. Disbelief comes from a wrong understanding, and you refuse to accept something that's true because somebody didn't teach you right. You didn't get the right understanding. It's called disbelief.
And then the third form of belief is just natural unbelief. Do you know what natural unbelief is? It basically says, "If I can't see it, I don't believe it". So natural unbelief is being moved by what you see rather than what you believe. Natural unbelief says, you know, based on my five senses, I can't see it, I can't touch it, I can't smell it, I can't hear it, natural unbelief is just I don't believe it 'cause I can't see it. I don't believe it because I can't comprehend it through my sensory mechanisms. And so, ladies and gentlemen, to show you how powerful this is, until we make a decision to believe the Word of God, to believe the grace of God, to believe the promises of God, that simple act of unbelief is sin. It is a root sin that, of course, will lead you to sinful behavior.
Imagine a guy who doesn't believe in the Word, who doesn't believe in God, who doesn't believe in anything about the Bible. You look at his life, I guarantee you it is filled with sinful behavior. You think on a guy who is completely ignorant, a guy who's ignorant of the Word of God, a guy who just has been taught wrong, you look at his life. It is filled with sinful behavior.
So, this root issue of unbelief in three forms, you know, ignorance. You've gotta clear the ignorance up. Disbelief, you've gotta be taught right. And then natural unbelief, you've got to go beyond what you can sense in your sensory mechanism and just simple faith and believe. That's gotta be dealt with. And what I realize is that Christians are not believing. And as a result of not believing, sinful behavior is the fruit and can be the fruit of this root sin of unbelief.
Let's go to the second root of sinful behavior, and this is big. The second root of sinful behavior, watch this, self-righteousness, self-righteousness. Now, if you look at that chart again, if you'll notice, when unbelief has not been resolved, the next position you're gonna find yourself in is self-righteousness, because it's like, well, I don't believe. I don't believe the promises. I don't that there's God. If we think we can be more like Christ by our own righteousness, if somehow we think we can be more like Christ through our own righteousness, it's actually the sin of unbelief in his righteousness that was given as a gift. So, he gave us his righteousness as a gift, but we don't believe in this righteousness as a gift. We only believe in our own righteousness. That's unbelief. And you see, the unbelief wasn't dealt with and it leads to self-righteousness.
So, what is self-righteousness, because there are lots of people in the world that are self-righteous, but the problem comes is when people say they trust God, and they're really self-righteous. Self-righteousness is man's pursuit to make himself right before God. Self-righteousness is man's pursuit to make himself right with God. In other words, you have accepted the responsibility that I'm gonna do all of these things so I can be righteous with God, and your righteousness is gonna be based on your performance and not based on believing what Jesus has done. So, unbelief is leading you to self-righteousness. You're not pursuing. You're pursuing righteousness through your own efforts. It's your pursuit to make yourself right before God. It's the greatest sin that was ever committed in the garden, and it was the fact that man trying to be like God without God. That's self-righteousness.
And so whenever we get into self-righteousness, you know what happens in time? We will be in a position where sin will be the result. Sin is the results of whenever we get into self-righteousness. Please understand that. Sin is the result of whenever you get into self-righteousness. You are gonna find yourself operating in sinful behavior. Let me share a couple of scriptures with you. In Galatians 2:16 in the NLT, this is pretty powerfully put in the New Living Translation. He says, "Yet we know that a person is made right with God".
How are we made right with God? By faith in Jesus Christ. You see, righteousness is not about you. Righteousness is about him. I'm made right with God by my faith in Jesus's righteousness and not by obeying the law of Moses. And so he says here, you know, by pure fact that you think you're gonna be righteous because you perfectly obey the law, he says you're still, you're still trying to pursue rightness through your own efforts, instead of just believing. And he says once you get into that self-righteousness, sin is gonna be the results.
I have not seen a person who's tried to pursue righteousness... see, hear me again, by the pure fact that you're trying to pursue righteousness, you don't believe the righteousness that's a gift. You don't believe the righteousness that's given to you by Jesus Christ. And so what happens is he says, "Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ and not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ". Watch this. "We have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be made right with God". Notice, he says, "Here's how you're made right with God, by believing in Christ Jesus". But I don't know what it is about the church. We still want to pursue righteousness through our own efforts, through our own performance, and it's unbelief.
To enter into self-righteousness, to try to obtain anything through self-righteousness is coming from that sin of unbelief. He says we pursue Jesus so that we might be made right. We believe in Jesus so that we might be made right with God. Because of our faith in Christ, we're made right with God, not because we have obeyed the law. That's a strong thing, but there's no difference between religion and self-righteousness, and religion has trained people that you've got to do all of these things to obtain righteousness, and they're not even recognizing you're doing all of these things because you don't believe in the righteousness which comes from God. And if you don't square that out and straighten that up, it's gonna lead to a lot of sinful behavior.
Look at Luke chapter 18, verse 9 through 14. I want to go through this with you. Luke chapter 18 and verses 9 through 14. This is so important to me this morning because, you know, I'm constantly judging myself. Am I working and striving hard to do something because I don't believe or I'm operating in unbelief? Or maybe disbelief because I've just not been taught right about the thing. All right, look at this, verse 9, "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and they despised others".
Read this, let's go to the New Living Translation. I really want to amplify this for those of you who are with me this morning. This is something that I believe every Christian deals with. This is something that you've got to get over. We're always concerned about doing our best to deal with sin, when God's already dealt with sin. And instead of us just receiving that, he's already dealt sin, we keep pursuing stuff that he's already done, which is a huge sin and will produce sinful behavior.