Victory Over Sin
Feel like sin has the upper hand in your life? Like it has you under its control? Been there! So there are three things we want to look at now: how to be free from being a slave of sin, victory over sin in the Christian life, and growing in the faith.
So, if you’re tired of this war with sin in your life, hang on, there is hope!
Freedom From Sin!
I can attest, that there is little more discouraging than to be trying to gain victory over sin and not succeeding! I was one of those who was trying to live the Christian life without being a Christian, though, I thought I was one! So let me say, first, make absolutely certain that you are indeed a Christian! For far too many people are going through this struggle in their lives! Neither is this the worst thing, for eternity is also a reality, and where will you spend it? For we know that if one is not truly saved, that we will not only miss out on Heaven, but will spend eternity is the lake of fire! This too, was always in my mind as I sought for victory and to want to know that I was saved for sure! What about you? Are you sure? I am now certain that I’m saved, and want the same for you! So please listen carefully! For I have found a joy, a rest, in my life I never had before!
Understand then, that one can only expect victory, if one is truly saved. Now, it is also true that Christians can struggle with sin. However, it is for a different reason altogether, and in this also there can be victory!
Now we read, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin…have become slaves of righteousness…For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death…For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:17-18, 20-21, 23)
Do you notice in the above verses, how the credit goes to God for both eternal life and freedom from being a slave of sin? This is so very pivotal to understand! See then, that one cannot truly set themselves free from sin by our own will-power! It leads to failure, discouragement, and sometimes worse! Please don’t head down this road! The initial key to really grasp, is that the moment we place our faith in Christ alone to save us, God sets us free from being a slave of sin! For it is the unsaved that are truly slaves of sin! Jesus came to redeem us! Sadly, we have lost the meaning of this word! It means to purchase out of a slave market and be set free! Jesus bought us by His precious blood to set us free from being slaves of sin!
Of course you’re going to ask, just how does this happen? Well, “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners [still slaves of sin], Christ died for us”! (Romans 5:6-8) Do you see what Jesus did for you? See that He didn’t ask you to become a good person first, in order for Him to accept you, but to come as you are! He loves you and sent His Son to save! Nothing will give the Lord greater joy than to see you come to Him for salvation!
Yes, God is holy, and our sin made a separation between us! We could do nothing to redeem ourselves. So Jesus, the Messiah, the true God, came to Earth as a man, so that He could be our “lamb”! As is written, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Yes, all your sin was heaped upon this Lamb, and He died for your sins upon the cross! As we read, “And the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) All the sin of your past and future God laid on Him, and He suffered and died as a result! Do you believe this? And this is not all God did for you! He also counts His righteousness to you who believe in Him! Again, it is written, “Much more will those who receive the abundance of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
My question is, have you believed it so for yourself? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only [uniquely born] Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is God’s promise! Count on it!
Now, let me quickly explain the word “believe.” The Greek word carries a much greater meaning than our English word does. The sick one can say, “I believe in doctors,” and never go to seek help! However, in Greek, it would carry the concept of actually going to the doctor for help and counting on the doctor to help you! So then, the one who believes in Jesus, places their confidence in Him that He has done enough to take care of all of one’s sins, past and future. Their confidence is placed in God for eternal life! Their confidence is placed in Him, that He is truly God who came to save them by what He performed on their behalf! That this Jesus was not only crucified and buried, but is risen to life on third day! As we read, “The gospel…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) So I ask again, have you placed your confidence in Christ the Savior to save you completely? For only by being a Christian, can you expect victory over sin in your life! This is most critical! Remember then, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! (Romans 10:13)
Victory for Christians!
The first question that may pop into the Christian’s mind, who is struggling with victory is, “Why, if these things are so, do I still have such deep struggles?” Good question! There are two reasons, the latter will be dealt with later. The truth is, God has set us free from being slaves of sin. However, if Satan wasn’t successful in keeping you lost, then he will do everything to keep you from living victoriously! No question, that quite possibly the greatest lie Satan can tell Christians is that, God has now given them the power to live the Christian life! The fact of the matter is that, we are just as weak and frail as ever! This is the reason that, Jesus not only saved us, but came to live in us! We will struggle with sin every time that we think, I can do this! No, Jesus does not give us strength – He is our strength, and the difference is monumental!
Listen carefully to these words, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:20-21)
The difficulty arises when we think that the law is the rule of life for the Christian. It is not. Jesus Christ is the rule of life for the believer! When we turn our eyes upon the law, it demands our effort, our will-power! This is when we stumble and falter! It is not the law, but grace, that sets us free from sin’s dominion in our lives! Listen with care to this verse, “Sin will have no dominion over you, since [or because] you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14) Yes, the very moment your eyes turn upon the law, sin gains the upper hand! However, when we live “by faith in the Son of God, we will find ourselves free from sin’s dominion! God’s grace alone sets us free from sin’s dominion! Christ Himself is our victory! For never was it intended for us to try to live His life! Much rather, He came to live in us, in order to live His own life through us! We ought to let Him do so! As we read, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) We need to give the controls over to God and let Him take over! We can’t, but He can! Our faith ought to be in God for victory, never self!
Growing in the Faith!
Now, does this mean that a Christian will never sin again? No. However, it should not be a habit. For we have been set free from sin’s dominion! Jesus not only saved us from sin’s penalty, but also from its controlling power! Yet, there is such a thing as going on to maturity. We don’t go from infant to adult instantaneously! It does take time! Ask the mature ones in the faith, and they will tell you of the struggles they had when they were young! It seems some lessons most have to learn the hard way! It can be tough to learn that, “I can’t. Only He can!”
At times our time in the Word or knees will wane, and we will find that we will stumble like Peter the apostle when he denied the Lord! How vital it is to make a regular practice of spending time in the Word and in prayer! It is more important than preaching the gospel or the truths of God’s Word! We need to let God’s Word teach us and shape us! We need to let it sit in judgement of us! As we read here, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.” (~1 Peter 2:2) Don’t ever think you can ignore your relationship with God and have your life work out well! It is a relationship!
Also, on that note, don’t expect things to work out well if you have your own agenda you are selfishly pursuing, and you haven’t given up your life for God’s plans for you! Remember well these words, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers [and sisters], by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Don’t be conformed to this world.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Be occupied with Christ! Ask Him to open your eyes to His plans for you. To show you the way of victory! Have faith in God!
Victor J. Reimer
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Photo credit: “Help” by Quinn Dombrowski
~Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.
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*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.