When we receive Jesus into our lives, some powerful forces go to work against sin. When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, he was suffering the punishment due sinners. His death satisfied a righteous God’s justice. When we believe on Jesus, our sins are washed away; God wipes the slate clean of all our sins. He transfers our sin to Christ and imputes Christ’s righteousness to us.
After Jesus died on the cross, his body was placed in the grave (a tomb). When we believe on Jesus, then our sinful agent goes into the grave with Jesus to rest powerlessly, while our new creation rises with Christ to sit with him in heavenly places. We also receive the person of the Holy Spirit within.
These tremendously powerful truths will help us overcome sin. One force that is not acted upon, though, is our will. I read of one man who prayed, “God, why can’t I get rid of this sin?”
God replied, “Because you don’t hate it enough yet.”
That’s because God does not overcome our wills. He works with it. If we still love our sin, we will keep following it. The next verse stresses personal accountability: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).
If we want to see a garden of daisies, we’ll plant daisy seeds. Similarly, if we want to experience the eternal life God promises, we must plant the right seeds. Let’s go back to the earlier truths stated and learn how they can help us grow a garden of Paradise.
When we believed on Christ, our sinful agent went into the grave with him. That means it is powerless. Do dead men walk? Are corpses walking around your town trying to be good? So when our old nature is tempted to sin, we may say, “I am dead to that. I don’t have to follow it any more. Lord, I give myself to you instead” (Romans 6). That is your will, and the Holy Spirit will help here. As we continue to resist the sin, it will usually get easier to do so. I say “usually” because bad habits practiced over the years are ingrained and harder to change.
When our resistance is weak and we sin (especially at the beginning), we may come again to the throne of grace for cleansing and forgiveness – and the power to resist it next time (Hebrews 4:16).
Those who continue in sin will not reap the benefits and blessings God has promised for those who overcome it. When we hate the sin and what it keeps us from hard enough, we’ll stand against it. When we really believe that God promises a better life in place of practicing that sin, we’ll resist with new-found strength from above.
Reading the Bible on a regular basis is also sowing to our spirit, and through it the Holy Spirit will show you how to die to sin. The difference between a Spirit-led life and a sin-led life is life and death: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:13-14).
Those who are led by the Spirit, as opposed to being driven by their sin, are maturing in their faith.
What Do You Think?
a. Do you hate your sin enough to guard against it? Why or why not?
b. As God’s promises became more persuasive, I began thinking that God had more to offer me than my sinful lifestyle. Do you believe that God will replace your sin with something better? Why or why not?