For several months now I have been working on an article, it has really consumed my time. What are practical steps for overcoming sin? The article has reached 19 pages and is at a point that if I continue, I will need to divide into chapters and call it a book. I would rather break this down into individual blogs and attempt to pass on to you the information in smaller, bite-size pieces that can be more easily retained.
Is it possible to have victory over sin? Pt 1
I’m humbled with the question, who am I to even attempt to answer such a question? What qualifies me to even remotely think I may have an answer? I’m just as screwed up as anyone else.
I recently watched interviews with Robin Williams. This is the first I have been able to do so. The thought of him killing himself, after watching him all my life, honestly, it was just too much. I found myself crying while watching him talk about having victory over his alcoholism. The interviews are quite inspiring. Feel free to watch some of them HERE.
“The idea is you gotta surrender, you gotta say ‘I can’t do it’”.
“You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering from it. It’s not coming back.” See the video HERE.
Forgiveness is one thing, recovery is quite another. When I weigh these comments in light of the way his life ended, I’m left to wonder why. How did he come to such and end? Could it be that at some point he stopped doing the things he knew would lead him to life and recovery? Several of the interviews I watched he mentions God. Did he really have a relationship with God?
Obviously, these are questions we can’t answer, but the heartache and loss remain.
The sin problem, is it possible to achieve total victory? This is a question I’ve been seeking to answer for years, some days I believe the answer is an absolute “YES”, other days, not so much (those are the days I screw up royally). The good news is it doesn’t really matter how I feel about it, God’s Word offers a plain answer. YES!
The problem is, I have so much religious gobbly-goop I have been taught, I have to dig in and find the Biblical answer God provides.
I knew a Baptist preacher 25 years ago when I was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho. He was such a great guy, fantastic preacher, awesome teacher, and was the kind of guy I just KNEW had it all figured out. I met with him one day in his office. I asked him, “How do I live a Christian life?” His answer infuriated me, he said, “You know the slogan for Nike? Just do it.”
Come on! There has to be more, just tell me, tell me the secret. I’ve been searching ever since. I believe I’m onto something.
First things first, I need to know the biblical definition of sin.
1 John 3:4: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Transgressing, or violating, the law of God is sin. The bible is very clear on this. For more information on this, see our study, WHY I OBSERVE THE BIBLICAL SABBATH, and our study, CEREMONIAL SABBATH. Both of these studies deal with the law and how we define what is and isn’t required biblically.
Webster’s dictionary defines sin as follows:
Definition of sin
1a : an offense against religious or moral law
b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it’s a sin to waste food>
c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
2a : transgression of the law of God
b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
Now that we have a biblical, and Webster’s, definition of sin, we can move on.
I have to know and believe in Jesus:
John 6:28-29 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Are you picking up on a theme here?
Believe: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
- of the thing believed
- to credit, have confidence
- in a moral or religious reference
- used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
- to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith
- mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith
- to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity
- to be entrusted with a thing
I will never overcome sin in my life if I don’t get this right. This is the VERY first thing, I have to BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ. But, believe what? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells me “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”. Jesus did more than just die FOR my sin, He LITERALLY became my sin. This is imperative to understand, there was a great exchange that took place on the cross, He took on Himself my sin. He bore the full penalty for my transgressions. He died MY death.
When God looked on Jesus, He no longer saw His beloved Son, in whom He was “well pleased”, He saw MY SIN. Wylie the liar, selfish, thief…….ad infinitum.
Please grasp this, think of whatever sin with which you are struggling, then place it into this context: God saw ___________ (insert your name) the ______________ (insert your sin), when He looked at Jesus on the cross.
Are you seeing the big picture yet? Do you see the incredible exchange that took place? Jesus was “our Propitiation” (1 John 2:2). Jesus had literally BECOME my sin, for the first time, He felt the guilt, shame, remorse, and separation from God I experienced because of sin. He was removed from fellowship with His Father. I don’t think we can comprehend what that was like for Jesus. Jesus so often went out by Himself to commune with His Father. He was so connected that He said “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself unless it is something
He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). Now He lost this connection, oh the great despair of that moment! Horrible.
The good news here is He overcame death and the grave, He rose again. Now He offers to us eternal life, John 3:16 tells us if we believe in Jesus, we HAVE eternal life. This eternal life offered is offered to us now, not in the future.
Pray with me.
Lord, thank you for literally becoming my sin. Help me never forget the incredible exchange that took place on the cross, I accept this today. I accept today, now, in you I have eternal life. I praise you for this incredible victory!
Earnestly contending for the faith,