I have found that there is a prevailing thought among a lot of Christians and that is that even after the New Birth, we are still sinners who sin and that we should just try and do our very best not to sin until Jesus returns or we go to Heaven.
I do not agree with this thought. I believe the Bible teaches something different.
- Two of the greatest gifts Jesus could have ever given us is the forgiveness of our sins and the freedom and ability to live free from them.
(Romans 5:12,15,17 NLT) When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. (15) But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other Man, Jesus Christ. (17) For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NLT) (55) O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” (56) For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. (57) But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why does it seem like we can’t win over sin?
- Trying to overcome sin with your own self-effort always results in your defeat.
The more you and I try to keep the law and not sin, the worse it becomes.
The more you try not to sin, the more conscious you will be of sin.
For example, if we are told not to think about a purple dinosaur, what is the first thing that pops into our minds?
The man that struggles with lust that gets up in the morning and says to the Lord, “Lord, give me victory today. Help me not to lust after women. I do not want to lust, so help me not to lust today. I will not lust. I will not lust. I will not lust…”
What happens? The first person he sees will be a beautiful woman with a skirt on and what will be his first thought? It will probably be a lustful thought. His mind is occupied with lust.
The woman who tries to walk in love towards that co-worker that gets on her last nerve says basically the same thing, “I really don’t like her and she says some of the craziest things, but I am a Christian and I will do my best to love her. I will love her, I will walk in love towards her…”
The moment she gets to work, the co-worker says, “Good Morning,” and immediately the thoughts flood in saying, “That was so fake… she is such a hypocrite…”
- People who are under guilt and condemnation are doomed to repeat their sins.
(Romans 7:18-21 NLT) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. (19) I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (20) But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (21) I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
(Romans 7:24-25 NLT) Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (25) Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Once we have sinned, most of the time, we feel so guilty and even begin to despise ourselves that we begin to think that even God is mad at us and doesn’t like us very much either.
The trap in this is then the enemy will try and deceive you into thinking that since you have already blown it and since God is already upset with you, why not go ahead and just keep on sinning.
(Romans 8:1-2 NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (2) And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
(Romans 6:14 NLT) Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Paul said in Romans 6:14, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
When you put yourself under the law, the moment you are tempted, you condemn yourself, and in that state of guilt and condemnation, you are more likely to follow through with that temptation and sin.
- Learn that to be tempted is not sin.
If it was, then Christ Himself was a sinner just like we are but we know that is not true.
(Hebrews 4:15 NIV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
- Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, but God’s grace will stop sin from flowing.
(Romans 5:20 MSG) All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.
We are in no way implying that you should sin more and more because of the abundance of God’s grace.
We are saying that it is through this super-abundance of God’s grace that we receive the power to overcome sin and live free.
How do we win over sin?
- Victory over sin comes only when people encounter the super-abundance of God’s grace.
(Romans 5:17 AMP) For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Let’s look at the power of grace in Jesus’ ministry:
(John 8:1-11 NKJV) But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. (3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (6) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Jesus set the woman free from condemnation and then told her to go and sin no more.
The freedom from sin rests in the truth that in Jesus, you are not condemned and through God’s grace, you have the power to overcome sin.
- You are drawn towards where you place your focus.
- Focus on being right before God in Christ instead of the sin.
(1 Corinthians 15:34a NKJV) Awake to righteousness, and do not sin…
(Ephesians 2:4-7 NLT) But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, (5) that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (6) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. (7) So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
(Jude 1:24-25 NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. (25) All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.