Your Bag of Stinking Sin

Did you know that you don’t actually own your sin anymore? Jesus does. It’s not yours.

If I walked into a store and you were selling a bag of manure and I bought it from you, well, that manure would be mine. That bag of sh*t, literally. And for no reason would you attempt to buy back that bag of crap. Why would you? For what purpose? To once again have it strapped to your back, reeking and soiled, putrid and profane…

Because, I now own it–bought and paid. I can do with it what I please and you can no longer make any claims over the bag’s contents.

But what we so often do, is let Jesus buy our bag of manure–our sin, our past, our shame, our regret–and then we secretly act as though we still own it.

We refer to our bag of manure in conversation, in prayer, in public, and in private. We rummage through the bag in our minds, constantly sorting and filing, all of its disgusting contents. Sometimes, in our grave misunderstanding of the cross, we attempt to buy back the bag from Christ, believing that perhaps it was never His in the first place– falsely believing that it is still somehow for sale.

We attempt to live in that same sin. Fall back into old patterns. Stumble into destruction. We try to re-claim it. Return to it. Re-use it.

I’ve done it. I’m guilty of acting as though my sin was still “my sin.” I revisited my past sin again and again, acting each time as though it was still a reality. This is not to say that God doesn’t want to bring healing to our pasts, but the sin we once committed is not ours any longer. We cannot re-purchase it. We cannot lay claim to it.

Because the reality is, that bag of manure is not for sale. It is not for sale, not only because it is not ours…but, rather because it does not exist.

Scripture doesn’t simply tell us we are free from sin. It tells us that in Christ, we actually don’t need to sin. We are freed from ever sinning again. This is difficult for me to wrap my mind around at times, I admit, but it is truth.

Through the power of the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we could actually live sinless lives (we won’t, but we could). And that is powerful. That is freedom. That our sin was not only bought by Jesus Christ by His own blood, but that our sin is gone forever.


Forever forgotten.



Are you guilty of thinking this like this from time to time? What sin have you clung to? Has God changed your mind yet?

24 thoughts on “Your Bag of Stinking Sin”

  1. What a great picture! As unappealing as buying back your own bag of s?#t is, we have all tried and indeed we often believe we own it. There is a great scene in the movie “The Mission” where the main character is attempting to scale this huge cliff carrying a literal bag of his past For many years that was the main picture in my mind in reference to this point. Now I can quote Nicole and her “Bag of Sin” this is more timeless.

    1. I thought of that as well. We live minutes away from where a lot of that film took place. The ruins of the Jesuit Reductions still stand. Kind of a surreal reminder…

  2. This is crazy because over the past few weeks I have been thinking about something similar, especially the part about that we could live a sinless life. What I have been thinking about is if we attempt to emulate Jesus’ life then after years of repentence and letting the Holy Spirit lead us then we should come to live a sinless life. With our actions, thoughts and moitvations. I also think about when Jesus told that lady at the wel that your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.

    1. Justin,
      Does it trip you out, like it does me? I know it is available though–through Christ’s resurrecting power. And yes, “Go and sin no more.” He told us that life can be lived!

  3. That’s a great image, thanks. I recently read another helpful thought on another blog: They’re not bad for us because they’re sins; they’re sins because they’re bad for us. A subtle but important distinction, I found.

  4. Fantastic post! The illustration you used works perfectly. I do this too, especially with sins committed against me. Even though I’ve forgiven them and release them to Jesus, I tend to take back the pain and anger and revel in reliving the offense. I know Jesus purchased not only my forgiveness but theirs as well, their sins are washed away too, but I struggle enjoying being the victim. To me that’s grosser than strapping my manure bag of sins back onto my shoulders.

    1. Osheta,
      What a great point you make, that it is not only our own sins that have been forgiven, but others as well. Remembering this, as you pointed out, can free us from victim mentality. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Nicole,
    Thanks so much for writing about this with clarity and authority.
    I have been thinking about freedom from sin, particularly in the context of Romans 12:2, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you THINK.”
    It seems that redemptive transformation has a lot to do with changing the way we think about ourselves, and choosing daily to release our slave mentality (Romans 8:15).
    My follow up question has been this: where does repentence come into play? If we are forgiven, justified, made right…. is perpetual repentence necessary?
    Perhaps a thought for a follow-up post….
    As always, I’m blessed by your timely words.

    1. Bekah,
      Yes! That verse from Romans and what you described is exactly what I am currently going through. I am daily rejecting the lies of who I think I am and walking instead, in the authority of who I am in Christ.

      And great question about repentance. I think it is critical to gaining freedom. A few years ago, after being prompted by the Holy Spirit, I repented of my wrong thinking of the Father. In one supernatural instant, years of hurt and pain was lifted. But that was just the first layer, so to speak, of what God wanted to do.

      As for perpetual repentance, I think it is necessary too, but not in some condemning oppressive way. If I mess up or sin, I simply pause, ask the Lord to forgive me, and ask Him to come and fill me again with His Holy Spirit. That’s it. Then I love forward. (And that’s not to say that the Spirit of God ever leaves us, but we must daily choose to be filled anew with His presence, as well).

      Hope that explains a little. Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

  6. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~ John

    “We are not ‘built’ to live in guilt.” jp

    Thx Nichole for your ministry of love.

  7. No, no, no, Nicole!

    I want my sh*t!
    I neeeed my sh*t!
    My sh*t defines me!
    Without my sh*t, Jesus wouldn’t love me as much as He does!

    Stop trying to make me realize my sh*t is now His, and His sh*t doesn’t stink. Now, does it?

  8. I recently read a fiction book that covered some of this thinking. It is stunning to think how unconvinced of God’s sovereign ability to reconcile us we remain. Sadly I am in that unconvinced group to often. Thought provoking, Nicole.

  9. Nicole,

    One of the ads popping up on your blog is for “Yahweh is King: Christian Apologetics”. Have you visited them? Have you checked them out? Is this ad your choice or is it generated for you?

    1. Donald,
      I visited the site before approving the ad, but not since. I just clicked through and yeah, I definitely don’t agree with them theologically on many points. It’s a weird situation. Do I kill an ad because I don’t agree 100% theologically or not care because Jesus Christ is still being preached? As Paul said “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice…” Philippians 1:18

  10. I know I have a couple persistent sins that I find myself taking back from God. It’s a cool reminder, you wrote. God wants freedom for us, and we are so often ready to run back to Egypt like the Israelites. Just can’t let go.

    Thanks for challenging me today.

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