Saved from Sin’s Clutch

Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh when he walked this earth, left his throne in heaven, humbled himself, came down to the earth, took on human form, was despised and rejected of men, and was a man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering. And those who hated him plotted and carried out his death on a cross, hoping to put an end to him and to his messages. But God the Father raised him from the dead, and eventually he returned to heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

But he did not leave us all alone. He sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers so that we who are of God-given faith in Jesus Christ now have God, we have Christ living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit has been given to us to be Christ in us, and he is the one to teach us all things, and to guide us into all truth, and to give us counsel and direction, and to give us comfort when it is needed, and to encourage (exhort, urge) us to walk righteously and to no longer walk in sin.

Now, if we are of true faith in Jesus Christ, we were crucified and buried with Christ in death to sin, and we were raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer living as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, where we obey its sinful passions and desires. For if sin is what we obey, it will lead to death, not to life eternal. But if obedience to our Lord is what we obey, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and it ends in eternal life with God (see Romans 6:1-23; cf. Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 2:11-14).

Therefore, we are to throw off (cast off, get rid of) every weight (hindrance) and sin (disobedience) which clings so closely (is addictive). For our Lord set before us a path that we are to be on and a race that we are to run, which is a spiritual race and a spiritual walk of faith in Jesus Christ. For in his death and resurrection he provided the way for us to now be free from our slavery to sin so that we can live holy and godly lives, in the power of God, for the glory of God, and in obedience to our Lord, by his grace.

And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we save our lives (hold on to living in sin and for self), we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ (die with him to sin and live to his righteousness) we have eternal life with God. For if we are ashamed of Jesus and his words, then when he returns, he will be ashamed of us (he will deny us) (see Luke 9:23-26).

So, since Jesus died on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and since he said that to come after him we must deny self and die daily to sin and to self, in essence, and that we must follow him in obedience, then that is what we must do as followers of Jesus Christ. So deliberate and habitual and addictive sin should have no part in our lives. We must cast them all off. And anything that might be leading us into sin or hindering our walks of faith must be gone, too.

And since Jesus lived on this earth in a flesh body, and since he was tempted to sin as we are, and since he suffered in his body as we suffer – only with much greater suffering than any of us will ever suffer, for he literally became sin for us on that cross so that when he died our sins died with him, and so when he was raised from the dead he rose victorious over sin, Satan, death, and hell, on our behalf – now we can live victorious lives over Satan and sin. Now we can walk in freedom from slavery to sin as servants of our Lord.

But the only way we can do this is if we keep our focus on Jesus Christ, and if we desire him, and if we truly want to obey him, and if we surrender our wills to his will for our lives. We cannot conquer sin in the flesh, for flesh gives birth to flesh, not to the Spirit. We can only live victoriously over the control of sin over our lives when we are surrendered to Jesus Christ to do his will, and when we are committed to obeying the Lord and not the flesh. And then daily we must say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to God and to his will for our lives, and then we can live for our Lord to do his will for our lives.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Ivory Palaces

Psalms 45:8

By Henry Barraclough, 1915

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
And myrrh their texture fills;
Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine
With joy my being thrills.

His life had also its sorrows sore,
For aloes had a part;
And when I think of the cross He bore,
My eyes with teardrops start.

His garments, too, were in cassia dipped,
With healing in a touch;
In paths of sin had my feet e’er slipped—
He’s saved me from its clutch.

In garments glorious He will come,
To open wide the door;
And I shall enter my heav’nly home,
To dwell forevermore.

Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.

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