More than Conquerors in Christ Jesus
It was considered when God called King David a ‘man after His own heart’, He did not single him out as a man without sin but rather pointed to a man that loves God, delights in Him and seeks to obey Him, as a forerunner to the only person who was able to obey perfectly. Jesus who is fully God and fully man, who was
made to be sin for us who knew no sin and was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (2 Cor 5:21, Phil 2:8)
As believers, having Christ in us, particularly when we first come to Christ, there is that joy and desire to obey. Obedience may almost seem too easy.
What happens when disobedience creeps in? We are most vulnerable when we think we are caped crusaders impervious to sin.
There would be times in our lives when testing comes, and doubts begin to arise. Often, the crux of the matter is that we have failed to obey Him; failed to do God’s will; we have sinned against God. This may be when we have wandered away from Him, filling ourselves less with the bread of life (His Word) and more with the vices of this world. And vices are many. Influences stem from many quarters. Temptation in a world that is increasingly permissive, increasingly accepting of and even promoting the turning away from God. It is pervasive, and at times, subtle. This world impresses upon us that God is not part of the ‘equation’. The pressures of work and family, the stresses of life. So too are the quick fixes. Alcoholism, drugs, violence, pornography and gambling would be some of the obvious ones. Less recognisable are the subtle but insidious harm to those around us. The raising of one’s voice, the absence of a loving response to our loved one’s reasonable request. For a Christian touched by the old ways, it could be a quick return to God. As one who has taken a step off the narrow path and stepped on to hot coals, that foot is withdrawn quickly. Conversely it could also be the first of several steps that leads into greater sin. Questions arise: How could I sin and start to fall back into the old ways? Guilt. Shame. Like Adam and Eve’s response after they disobeyed, there is that retreat to hide from God. Joy wanes. Hope declines. The conscience starts to numb. No longer feeding on the word of God leaves one more likely to be feeding on worldly pleasures and distraction. As one cherishes sin, disobedience takes us further away from God (Ps 66:17). Inevitably, we may even begin to doubt our salvation. This is what disobedience does. This is what sin does. “Am I truly saved?” is a question asked by many confessing Christians. Externally, we may put up a facade of victorious happiness, internally we are miserable, discouraged by failure. Weighed down, defeated, deflated. There is little joy. Ineffective. Light covered with a filthy rag of sin. It is exactly what the evil one would be satisfied with.
What hope is there then? O dearly beloved, we must be resolved to return to that first love which is the good news of Jesus. He has saved us from our sins. He continues to save us from our sins.
Firstly understand that
…. if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9.
You believed you are a sinner. You repented and believed Christ had died to pay the consequence of your sins. You received the promise of eternal life. You are saved. God keeps His promises. Do not doubt it. It is sure because He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Nothing, not any creature of creation, including you, will be able to separate yourself from the love of God (Rom 8: 35-39).
Secondly you are grieved and discomforted because something is not right; your guilt is eating away at the back of your mind. You lament and wish that your sins could be overcome, and there is unease that your relationship with God is not quite right. You do not have the peace you seek. Take comfort that this is not our sinful nature. Our sinful nature does not seek the things of God nor to draw close to Him. Would you consider that the Holy spirit is working in you to draw you back to God? You were sealed with the Holy spirit when you were saved (Eph 1:13). You are no longer your own and you are the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor 6:19-20). It goes without saying that the Holy spirit is holy! God cannot tolerate sin. Let us seek His mercy and forgiveness with a repentant heart. God will not despise the offering of a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Ps 51:17).
Thirdly there is a spiritual battle going on. The war between our spirit and our flesh is raging from when we first come to Christ (Rom 7: 21-14). We still have our sinful nature and will sometimes fail. We cannot obey perfectly. Not on our own means nor strength. This is not an excuse. It is not a license to seek the pleasures of this world. It certainly is not the means to multiply God’s grace in our lives, may it never be. Nevertheless, to be recruited into the Lord’s army is to be recruited into this battle. A battle we cannot win by ourselves. However, through each battle, trial and temptation, God is maturing us, making us more like Him. Our reassurance is that
It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13)
Can God fail?
Let us hold dear this thought of the character of God:
…. who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us Eph 3:20.
The outcome is that we should be sinning less and less, that is obeying more and more. This is the journey of sanctification as maturing disciples. Thank God that Christ had already won the battle. He is in us and through Him, we are more than conquerors. Saved. Always.
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37.
Elder Joshua Lim