Proverbs 20:9 (NIV)
9 Who can say, �I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin�?
This question is not only a challenge to any man in the world to prove himself sinless, whatever he pretends, but a lamentation of the corruption of mankind, even that which remains in the best. Alas! Who can say, "I am sinless?' [Matthew Henry Commentary]
There is something terribly right about ... realizing that our struggle with sin is in many ways similar to an alcoholic's struggle with drinking. It's never over. How often I find myself talking about sin in the past tense as if being a sinner is something I'm beyond--a page turned in the book of my life. But sin is like alcoholism. Sinners are never cured; they simply decide to stop sinning ... and it's a daily decision.
[John Fischer in Contemporary Christian Music (Sept. 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 16.]
This is such a great illustration about sin. Anyone who understands alcoholism, understands that alcoholics may slip back into their old pattern of drinking. They may have wanted to keep a pure heart, but once the alcohol sucked them back in it takes over their life and leads them down sinful roads. I have heard men and women say, �Once I started drinking I lost my inhibitions and I found myself sleeping with anyone who came along.�
An alcoholic always considers them self an alcoholic. They may have put the bottle away for good, but there is always the temptation to go back. I have a friend who has not had a drink in over 30 years, but he said he knows if he were to even just take a sip of a drink that it might be enough to trigger a binge of drinking. So he maintains plans, rules and accountability to help him keep that from happening.
These actions are so much like sin. We can try to put sin away in our life, but there are times when the temptations come back and we fall back into our old patterns of sin. We may have even found a way to put sin aside, but the temptation will always remain. The Apostle Peter told us, �Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.�