In my posts, “How can I stop sinning when it feels so good?” and “The Subtle Strategy of Sin“, I spoke of how sin is a force that relentlessly tries to reign in our lives by deceiving us through influencing the members of our body with corrupted desires. Sin’s weapon is deception. We must know how the enemy fights so we can defend ourselves accordingly. However the big problem is we often stumble at this point and rely on our will-power to say ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to God. Stop for a second and realise how ludicrous and suicidal that is! We are relying on our own fragile, corrupted ‘will’ to say no to sin. We will only get so far. Not only is the power of sin in our lives too strong for us to resist on our own, but you will be left in a pile of guilt, shame and despair. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Our battle plan to live for God does NOT start with us. In fact there a number of steps that we need to realise before we even look to our will power.
1. Christ died for our sin.
He fought battle against sin 2000 years ago and won. Our focus must always be on Jesus above all else and what He has DONE! He is the ultimate warrior. Jesus stood up against the power of sin for 33 years and didn’t succumb once so He could be offered as the perfect sacrifice for us. We all deserve to be under God’s wrath and judgment because of our rebellion against Him, yet Jesus chose to take it on Himself so we could be spared. Knowing this truth deep down is crucial because without it we will be defeated by a guilty conscious in our battle with sin. We shouldn’t fight a war that we can’t win, and one that Christ has fought and won already. We are now not helpless, but rather through faith in Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have hope.
2. As Christ died for sin, we too died with Him in God’s eyes.
In other words God sees Christians united to the death of Jesus because Jesus bore the wrath of God in our place. He was a substitute for us, taking on the punishment for our sin so that in Christ God may look upon us as innocent and without blemish. That leads us to step 3.
3. God unites us to Christ.
God unites us to Christ in the likeness of His death so that we can be united to Him in His resurrection (Rom 6:5). Just as Christ was raised by God, we too WILL be raised. God alone is faithful, so we can trust in Him. So the question has to be asked – how can we be sure we are united to Christ? Simply speaking, if we have faith in Christ. We are united to Christ if we look on the person of Jesus Christ and acknowledge what He has done for us, why He had to do it, accept it as a free gift and treasure Him above all in our lives. That is what it is meant to have faith in Christ. To treasure Christ in our lives is to mourn for what He died for – our sinful and depraved nature. It is to turn from sin with a repentant heart, wanting to follow God instead. If we truly treasure Christ, then others will see it. We will see it in our own lives. Our lives will reflect how precious we hold Christ in our heart. Otherwise how can we say with any confidence that we are united to Christ. Ok… but how does being united to Christ free us from the power of sin and therefore empower us to say ‘no’?
4. When we are united to Christ through faith, God has justified us.
In other words He forgives all our sins through Christ’s sacrifice for us and imputes, or places on us, the righteousness of Christ. 2 Cor 5:21 says that “for our sake he made him (Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Just as God looked on Christ and saw our sin when He was on the cross, He now looks on us and sees Christ’s righteousness – His unblemished perfect nature! Christ took our punishment so that we could be given His reward! That’s the Gospel, that’s good news!! As a forgiven, redeemed people we are now empowered to turn from sin, because the power of sin has been broken in our lives.
Next we will look at our part to play.