Overcoming Sin

Overcoming Sin!

“God couldn’t love me. Look at all the things I’ve done! The way I’ve behaved and treated others! The mess I’ve made of my life - no one would want anything to do with me if they really knew me - let alone God - who supposedly knows everything about me!” Similar statements have been made by many all over the world. Why? Because many believe that sin is the bad or wrong things they say and do - and that they will be judged for their attitudes, behaviour and conduct. 

When we look at the scriptures, sin is described in a variety of ways - missing the mark, breaking God’s moral law, lawlessness, imperfect faith, prayerlessness, disobedience, unrighteousness, rebellion, defiance, depravity, doubts and fears etc. - and this list is not exhaustive. It is therefore quite understandable that many think, “What chance have I got to fulfil God’s desire for my life, or what would God want of me?”, particularly if they’ve tried time and again to improve their behaviour and conduct, only to fail repeatedly. Has God set them up to fail? Certainly not! Then why is it so hard to live a godly life in spite of God having given us the Holy Spirit, the scriptures and each other to help us to daily live in victory? 

The problem isn’t on God’s side - after all, He hasn’t got a problem with sin! He defeated satan, sin, death, hell and the grave at the cross over 2000 years ago, when Jesus rose victoriously after experiencing everything that these could throw at Him, as well as experiencing God’s wrath against all of them! 

The problem exists because the English word ‘sin’ refers not just to the wrong things we say and do but it is also the state we’ve been born into as descendants of Adam and Eve. Paul explains the dilemma like this when he says, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:21-25 ANIV). He recognises that there were two laws at work within him - there was the desire to please God and also the desire to please himself and his desires. The first came into effect as a result of an encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Rd., resulting in him having a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. The second is the consequence of being a member of the human race. Both of these laws are poles apart and in conflict with each other. 

Like Paul, many face similar struggles and respond in a similar way, “What a terrible person I am - how can I ever change myself - especially after having tried and been unsuccessful so many times?” Such an approach can cause you to focus upon your failings and weaknesses rather than upon the wonderful work God has done in you through Jesus Christ. Focusing upon your failures causes sin to be reduced to just externals or the things you say and do rather than what God has delivered you from, through Jesus Christ! 

Over the years I have come across many whose focus is upon their failure to live God’s kind of life. Such individuals are always trying harder to succeed, with limited or no effect, becoming discouraged and ending up drifting along in their relationship with Jesus Christ or giving up altogether, believing that this just doesn’t work for them! 

Overcoming sin’s power and effect begins when you start to focus upon what Jesus has accomplished for you on the cross. Then, faith in His completed work, requires that you begin to thank Him what He has done. At this moment in time - through Christ you are forgiven. When God looks at you He sees the sacrifice of His Son Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross - irrespective of how you may feel or believe! This is part of what is commonly known as grace. There are those who think that the more they sin - the more they will experience God’s grace. This is a problem Paul faces when he tackles this subject. If that is your attitude you’ve failed to grasp and understand what grace really is. God’s grace not only brings you into a right standing before God as holy, righteous and justified, but grace also enables us to walk away from the sinful way of life we’ve been used to and to live as holy, righteous and justified individuals. 

The key to overcoming sin is to learn to think differently - trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to help you to say ‘No’ to all ungodliness (Titus 2:12), and to allow Him to live His kind of life through you. Should you slip up and fail - pick yourself up, thank God that He has already forgiven you and for the way He is helping you to live His kind of life in and through you. Sometimes persistence may be necessary - but in the long run you will overcome by the Holy Spirit’s help and power.