Sin is pervasive throughout this world. Sin is also prevalent inside each human. Since each human is derived from Adam, we inherit the sin of our federal head (Romans 5:12). As sinners, we are not just prone to certain behaviours but a particular disposition that declares – I do not want God. However, in Christ we have a Saviour who can redeem us from the power of sin and set us free completely (Colossians 2:13-15). Yet, as Christians, many of us can attest to the battle that remains in conquering the sins we have been freed from. This paradox can cause confusion. How can I be battling something that Christ has defeated? This can best be explained with the doctrine of ‘already, not yet’. This concept explains that whilst Christ was, and is, victorious; the full extent of what He accomplished has not been realised yet. As a result, whilst sin no longer rules the Christian, it still combats the Christian (1 Peter 2:11). So, what do we do when sin threatens the new life of the believer?
Sin Is Incompatible With The Believer
The call for every believer is one of holiness. This was the rallying cry of the Apostle Peter when engaging Christians in the dispersion (1 Peter 1:15-16). Before instructing the believers to be holy, he states “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14). Notice the language. Peter affirms their identity, then ushers them to use that as the basis for rejecting sin. In other words, now that you have been saved by Christ live like it.
Continuous, unrepentant sin is incompatible with Christianity. The apostle John echoes these sentiments in his epistle
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil; whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.1 John 3:9-10
Are we noticing the pattern here? Since we have been made new by God (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are now able to live as we were originally created for – God’s glory. If you are struggling with a particular sin, the antidote is not trying harder, but looking more; namely at Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). When we look to Jesus, we see grace not only personified but grace readily available to the struggling saint in need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
We Shall Overcome
There are days in my own life where the sins that I battle can seem so overwhelming. Sins that I felt I should have overcome, appear to still be overcoming me. If you identify with this, there is a temptation to listen to the lies that sin tell. I urge you to reject these lies. You are not your past, present or future sins. If you are in Christ, your only identity is adopted. Satan seeks to accuse you and remind you of your failures, Paul says in response
And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God1 Corinthians 6:11
God promises that as you walk with Him, He is transforming you from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). One day, when you see Him you will be like Him; and you will declare with all the saints, that by His grace, we have overcome!