Chapter 4: Lies Women Believe About Sin
Day 5: Victory Over Sin
Lie #17: “I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.”
I’ve heard it said that the gospel either makes you mad, sad, or glad.
Some people hear the good news and get angry. They don’t want to think they need saving. They don’t want to believe in Hell. They want to do what they want, and no one can tell them what to do. Think about the religious leaders’ response to Jesus. These people tend to say things like, “Who do you think you are?” and “Only God can judge me.”
Some people are sad. They want to go to Heaven, but they don’t want to give up their sin. They want eternal life, but they want this life, too. They’re simply unwilling to do what it takes to be saved (forsake everything and follow Jesus), so, like the rich young ruler, they go away sad. They want an easy way into the Kingdom, but there isn’t one.
And then there are a few here and there who learn the truth and are GLAD. More than glad! They’re excited, joyful, and in a state of disbelief. They can go to heaven? Jesus loves them? Jesus will accept them? How can it be? How can I NOT give my life to him?! They willingly trade this life – the good, bad and ugly – for the life that Jesus offers them. They understand that Jesus is the treasure, and he’s worth the cost.
This pattern isn’t just true for when someone first encounters the gospel; it’s true for any time someone is confronted with truth that requires a change. And that’s the thing about God’s truth – it never lets us stay as we are. We must be changed as a result. We can either get mad, sad, or glad, but the one thing we cannot do is stay neutral.
And so it is with today’s topic on overcoming sin. By the time you finish reading this post, each one of you will have one of three responses: mad, sad, or glad.
People who genuinely want to walk in victory over sin and fellowship with Jesus will be glad – because you can!
And the people are looking for an easy way to overcome sin will be sad; because there isn’t one.
But if someone is looking to avoid personal responsibility, find a way to hold on to the sin in their lives and still feel like they have a relationship with Jesus that works, they will become angry. Because scripture is clear: it’s not possible.
The first question, then, is do you want to be free? Or do you want to be a victim?
Don’t give a knee-jerk reaction; actually think about it.
If you enjoy being pushed around by your desires, your peers, your past, then don’t read any further. But if you’re tired of the game, if you understand that all sin is a big deal, and you want to live a life of freedom and joy, then I’ve got good news for you – you can! And it’s a beautiful life.
There are two parts to this lesson, because before we can learn how to walk in victory over sin, we must first talk about what it means to do the opposite – to live in sin, continue in sin, walk in sin, and be known as sinners.
The book of 1 John was written so that we can know for sure we have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that will result in us entering Heaven. In chapter 3, there are some details that are often ignored, overlooked, or misunderstood that are, in fact, extremely important to assurance of salvation. Let’s read:
1 John 3:6-10
6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of Godare and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
According to verse 6, someone who has a relationship with Christ cannot continue in sin. In fact, someone who continues in sin not only doesn’t have a relationship with him, but they’ve never even encountered him.
Continuing in sin has to do with repeating sin; making a pattern of sin; doing it over and over again. It’s habitual sin, s a habit, something that you can’t break free of.
Sometimes it’s someone who has been addicted to a substance for 20 years but claims to have a relationship with Jesus for 30 years.
It could be someone who’s living with someone they’re not married to, but still goes to church and says that it’s okay because they love each other, or they’re getting married sin, or any other number of excuses.
Some people hold on to grudges. They won’t forgive. And it destroys them. They can’t let it go; and then they begin to hurt others, too. They claim to know Christ, they just say they’re “struggling.”
It could even be someone who gossips, slanders, and is full of pride. They claim to be walking with Jesus, but instead of becoming joyful, they become bitter.
These things cannot continue with someone who has a relationship with Jesus.
I was at a conference recently where one of the teachers tried to say there’s a difference between making Jesus your “Savior” and your “Lord,” — but there’s not! Romans 10:9 says we must make Jesus our Lord to be saved. The whole point of salvation is surrendering to Jesus’ Lordship over our lives, and if Jesus isn’t your Lord, if he’s not the authority, the master, the one in control, then you don’t have a relationship with him, because he requires all or nothing.
Clearly, people were being led astray or else John wouldn’t have had to write this. And people are still being led stray; there are people who will fall over themselves to tell you want you want to hear — including that you can have a relationship with Jesus but still be living in sin.
But John breaks is down for us even more, in case we have trouble understanding what he’s talking about. He’s challenging us to look at our lives. Is your pattern, is your identity, sin? If it is, you’re of the devil. But if you’re pattern and identity is obedience and righteousness, then you’re of God! So who’s your Daddy?
The whole point of Jesus coming was to destroy the work of the devil. What is the work of the devil? Sin! You know what happens when we claim a relationship with Jesus yet we keep living in sin? We’re saying Jesus’ power isn’t enough. He can’t destroy the work of the devil in us.
You see, when Jesus died and paid for our sins, he set us free from sin. That freedom is in three parts: in the past, it’s from the penalty of sin. In the present, it’s the power of sin, and in the future, he saves us from the presence of sin (heaven.)
When we forsake everything to follow Jesus, God gives us Jesus – his seed – to keep us from sinning. Again, what does it say about Jesus’ power and authority if we’re claiming to be his but still doing the devil’s work? It’s simply not possible. Either Jesus is calling the shots or he isn’t. If Jesus is in you, if Jesus is leading you, he won’t lead you into sin, but away from it.
“But everyone sins,” you say. Yes, but not everyone continues in sin. When a Christian commits a sin, the Holy Spirit brings conviction that leads us to repent and forsake that sin; and then we move forward. But without the Holy Spirit, we don’t experience that conviction, we don’t want to repent, and even if we wanted to stop doing what we’re doing, we don’t have the power to do it, because it only comes from Jesus.
“But what about forgiveness?” Forgiveness is only for those who are saved; remember atonement? Justice must be served for the penalty of your sin; Jesus paid that penalty and the Father accepted His sacrifice in your place. This is called substitution atonement. Before your sins can be forgiven, they must be paid for.
That doesn’t stop people from trying to continue in sin, while asking forgiveness as they go. I even knew someone who said, “I know what I’m doing is wrong, but I’m going to ask for forgiveness afterwards.” It doesn’t work like that! I’ve also met people who tried to “pre-pay” their sins. They would start the day by asking forgiveness for whatever sins they’d commit that day. That doesn’t work, either. Just sayin’.
Hebrews takes this to a whole new level:
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.“ 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
This is a pretty intense passage. If we hear the truth of the gospel, which requires us to forsake everything and follow Jesus, but instead keep doing what we want, hoping to just ask forgiveness as we go, then not only do we not get into heaven, but we face severe judgement. No forgiveness is available. God takes this very seriously. Jesus had to die for our sins – how dare we take them so lightly?
It’s time to stop playing games. Decide if you’re in or out, but no more tacking God onto your life and acting like that’s enough, because it’s not. When people look at your life, are they going to see God’s power or are they going to wonder if that’s the best He can do? It’s God’s reputation on the line; and if you belong to him, he won’t let you fall. But if you don’t, you drag his name through the mud.
So look at your life. Have you moved forward or backward? Are you overcoming or are you being overcome? Do you take sin seriously, or do you minimize it?
Those of us who belong to Christ have crucified our sinful nature; it’s time to live a new life.
Galatians 5:13, 16-26
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.
You can’t be both; you’re either of the flesh or of Christ. Which is it?
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
If that hasn’t happened for you, if you’ve never experienced transformation, if you’ve not been able to break free from sin, then the only question I have is, do you want to? Then stop playing around, forsake your sin, submit to the Lordship of Christ. Give Him control of your life, and let him lead you to walk in obedience and victory over sin.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.