Rebellion against God
We may ask, “So what really is the harm of pornography, sexual impurity, flirting with women who are not my wife, alcoholism, drugs, uncontrolled anger, or the many other sins?” “I’ve tried to bite the bullet to get out of my addictions,” one may lament, “but it’s just too hard.” So what’s the harm? The answer: Sin separates us from a perfect and pure God. Sin blocks us from a relationship with God – which is our primary purpose. Sin is a statement against God that He is not enough. Sin is blatant rebellion against our creator. Every time we sin, we are denying Him.
Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire, they asked him again, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?” “I am not,” he said. (John 18:25)
A sinful lifestyle prohibits us from living out the glorious life for which we were created – the call to be a disciple of Jesus Christ our King. So the fight against our sinful nature is serious business. For the Bible teaches that lives dominated by the sinful nature “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Gal. 6:21) That sounds scary, because all of us struggle with sin. But if we surrender to God and if we are committed to engaging in the battle against our sinful natures, then inheriting the Kingdom of God is certain! Why? Because God is for us, He loves us, and He will not abandon nor forsake His good intentions for us! For “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished…” (Phil. 1:6)
But “biting the bullet” to get out of sinful addictions will never be enough motivation. A better motivation is to “become more like Christ – to be his disciple.” Fulfilling God’s heroic purpose for us is “the more” of life – the life of enjoying a Christ-like relationship with God the Father. We do not want to miss out on God’s glorious plan for us! “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
“Freedom is not just the absence of bondage; it is the liberty to pursue all that we were created to be. Those who use their freedom to do evil, or to do nothing, will end up back in bondage. True liberty is not static, but it is the freedom to pursue our purpose unhindered.” Rick Joyner, The Overcoming Life (p. 139)
The Freedom of Christ. So “who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 7:24-25) Finding our true identity and purpose in Christ and living in the freedom for which we were created begins with confession and repentance. “For all have sinned all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Rom. 3:23) And “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) But “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.” (Rom. 10:9) And furthermore, you should “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) So there are two incredible promises that come through confession: salvation and healing.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Jesus Christ from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses could not save us because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” (Rom. 8:1-3) So “we are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.” (Rom. 3:25) To those who believe in Him and choose to follow Him, we have eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. So in spite of Satan’s lies about God’s plan – we know God’s plan is good and merciful.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!” (Psalm 106:1)
Yes, as sons of Adam all of us have betrayed our King, hidden in the darkness, and have been rebellious of his decrees. Yet through our confession and repentance, and by the power of the blood of the Lamb, God wants forgive us and raise us up in freedom as brothers of Christ. As followers of Christ our sins are forgiven, and we cannot out-sin God’s willingness and desire to forgive us. But to truly “repent” means to turn away from a life dominated by sin – to instead surrender ourselves to a life dominated by the Holy Spirit. True repentance is revealed by changed actions. “Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God.” (Luke 3:8)
If we truly are followers of Christ, we are being asked to no longer be dominated by our sinful natures but to follow our risen King through His Spirit – to become more like Christ – to become more holy. This process is called “sanctification.” It is the lifetime journey where we are dominated more by the Spirit and less by our sinful natures. If we surrender to God – unconditionally – the ball is in His court to do whatever it takes to change us, refine us, cleanse us, and to make us more like Christ. That’s right, after we surrender much of the pressure is off: God will orchestrate life’s circumstances to change us, mold us, and redeem us! Of course this process of sanctification is often painful, but it is necessary in order to be a disciple of Christ and to live out the glorious purpose for which we were created. And sanctification is required in order to experience true freedom. So now you “have been called to live in freedom – not freedom to satisfy our old sinful natures, but freedom to serve one another in love!” (Gal. 5:13)
“Sin is a fundamental relationship – it is not wrong doing, but wrong being – it is deliberate and determined independence from God.” (Oswald, My Utmost, Oct. 7)
“God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost, June 30)
The fight against sin controlling our lives is an essential battle. The Bible teaches that we will never be free from this internal conflict. (Gal. 5:17) But because Christ abides with us, we can defeat sin’s domination over us. “Sin is no longer your master!” (Rom 6:14) But we will fail Him. So we need a Savior each and every day. But when “we get knocked down, we get up again and keep going..” (2 Cor. 4:8) When we fail we will get back up and head north again – towards our loving Father. If our heart’s desire is to follow Christ, then His grace will abound. So now – as brothers of Christ – sinful addictions will be slayed, our true identities will be restored, and we will live our lives with courage and freedom because “His Spirit is with us!” So now we are being called to “fight the good fight” and to finish well in this life; to engage in the battle against sin’s domination over our lives; and to live in freedom with no condemnation for the times we fail Him.
Summary: Some may lament, “I have accepted Christ and all that He stands for, but I just don’t seem to be able to get out of my sinful addictions and lifestyle!” Is there hope? ABSOLUTELY! All we are asked to do is to totally surrender to God’s will and to trust Him. Once again, when we surrender to God the ball is in His court. God will orchestrate our life circumstances to free us over time. It want be easy or always feel safe – but it will be good and glorious! Our hope is not in our ability to “pull it off” and “bite the bullet” through our own strength. Our hope is in God’s relentless pursuit of us and in His transforming power!
So – right now – cry out to the Lord, “I surrender my all, no matter the cost!”
“I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps in the Christian life, we realize that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 165.