Do you ever feel that you have sinned so badly that there is no hope for you? That you can never be forgiven? Or, that you will never gain victory over your sin? And, so you give up? And, you just give in to the sin?
Well, there is hope for you! Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on a cross, not just to forgive you of your sin, but to deliver you out of your slavery to sin. He made the way for you to be free! And, not just free of the punishment of sin, but free from your chains… your bondage… your addiction.
“In him we have redemption” (salvation; deliverance from sin) “through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Eph. 1:7-8a).
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12).
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Ac. 3:19).
So many people have this idea of salvation as merely freedom from the punishment of sin (eternal damnation), through God forgiving us of our sins, and that eternal life with God begins after we die. It is what they were taught, that “being saved” means we don’t go to hell when we die but that we go to heaven. But, that is only part of what our salvation means.
The Bible says that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). And, eternal life is not something we just experience after we die, but it begins at the moment we turn from our sins, and we turn to follow Jesus with our lives (Jn. 3:36; 1 Jn. 5:11-12).
Jesus didn’t come just to give us life in heaven after death, but he came to give us new life in him now, while we live on this earth, free from slavery to sin, and free to walk in his righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). In fact, he came to give us abundant (full, continuous, more than enough) life in him (Jn. 10:10). This is what it means to be “born again.”
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3).
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Co. 10:13).
Jesus Christ didn’t come to this earth, and take on human flesh, just so he could die for our sins and be resurrected from the dead. When he was on this earth, he took on our humanity so that he could experience what we experience; so he could feel what we feel; so he could become our sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful high priest who intercedes for us to God the Father. He knows exactly what we are going through!
Also, after his resurrection, when he went back to the Father in heaven, he didn’t leave us as orphans, helpless, and without hope. He sent his Holy Spirit to indwell us, empower us, and to encourage, strengthen, counsel and help us to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to walk in holiness and godliness. We are not without resources, in other words, in our fight against temptation and sin. For, he also gave us spiritual armor to use in our battle against our enemy and all his tricks he uses against us (Eph. 6:10-20).
When I was a child, I had an abusive father. When I knew a hit was coming, I would cross my arms in front of my face, hoping to block the hit, but it was only partial protection, and the hit still came.
I think a lot of us might resist Satan’s temptations in the same way. I used to do that. It is really a defeatist approach. It says that we believe Satan still has power over us, and it does not truly believe that Jesus gave his life up for us that we might be free. It does not truly accept that Jesus already won this battle for us, and all we have to do is to live, in his power, like we truly believe that.
So, when temptation comes our way, we don’t just try to block the hit, knowing full well that we will get hit, but we put on our spiritual armor. In fact, we are proactive in knowing these hits will come, so we make no provision for the flesh. We remove from our lives all hindrances, and all known pathways to sin, and we make a plan, in advance, for how we will combat Satan’s attempts to bring us down, but we do this by the Spirit, in his wisdom and strength, for this battle is the Lord’s!
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:18b-20).
Some people will tell you that they try not to sin, i.e. in practice, but they still do. I believe it is because they open themselves up wide to known sins in their lives by not being proactive, by not relying on the Holy Spirit, but by living “by the seat of their pants.” What is that saying? “If you don’t make a plan to succeed, you plan to fail.”
You know your sin patterns. You know your triggers. You know that if you have a casual approach to what you are doing, such as just carelessly surfing the net or scanning through TV channels, that you are bound to fail. It has proven to be true over and over again. So, why do you think this time will be any different?
One of the biggest reasons, though, that Christians (or professing Christians) fall back into old sin patterns, is that they are not walking by the Spirit. We cannot overcome sinful patterns of behavior if we are not living holy and godly lives, pleasing to God, but we are continuously feeding our minds with the trash this world has to offer. Garbage in, garbage out.
If we are truly conducting our lives after the Spirit and not after the flesh, we will not carry out the evil desires (lusts) of the flesh. This means we need to not even be entertaining ourselves by the sins of others. How can we, for instance, be pure in mind and heart if we are consuming daily immorality, theft, lies, adultery, fornication, cheating, blasphemy, cursing, and rebellion, etc. We need to be taking in the Word of God, and then applying it to our lives, and then we need to be encouraging one another to do likewise.
And, daily, we need to be giving thanks to our Lord, not in mere performance, though, or in shallow displays, but in truth. We need to thank and praise him for life, for love, for mercy, for his grace to us, for breath, health, and for pain and for sorrow, for even the difficulties of life are meant for our good, to mature us in Christ, to make us holy, to prune us, and to make us into Christ’s likeness (See: Heb. 12:1-13).
I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.
Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.
Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.
Monday, December 11, 2017, 4:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for your Word, and for how it speaks truth to our hearts. Thank you, too, for your grace, your forgiveness, and the strength you give us to live holy lives, pleasing to you.