by Jacob Speer, @jhspeer19 |
The life of sin and temptation is a never-ending battle. It’s a war that wages from deep within our very bones. At times sin is one that consumes and overpowers us. Other times we can be victorious. The way in which both of these fronts are won and lost are in our ability to recognize the situation we are in, remind ourselves of the power within, and walk in the new ways of thinking that have been given to us. Victory comes through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. By heeding the power of the Holy Spirit. Then putting into practice the goodness of God’s grace and wisdom that comes through the Scriptures. But how can this be done? How do I cultivate a new way of thinking…??? This thinking is through the new birth of regeneration and the new creation that we become in Christ Jesus.
In the opening verses of John chapter 3, we see the discussion of Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus comes to Jesus looking for the answers he seeks. Christ explains to Nicodemus that you must have a transformation of life to inherit the kingdom of God. A person must be regenerated and made new.
(John 3:3, NASB) “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus walked away a newly informed man, with the true answers to eternal life, not the ones he was accustomed to through obedience to the Law. He finally understood what things must take place in order to inherit eternal life.
Our focus here is the new birth and being a new creation through regeneration and having a new found faith in Jesus Christ. But what is this new creation?
(2 Corinthians 5:17, NASB) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
If we are in Christ, then we are a new creation, we have a new nature and a changed life. But what does being a new creation in Christ look like?
We have been given a new heart. Our “Heart of stone” (which is a reference to the Law written on stone tablets) has been removed. Our “Heart of flesh” (which is a reference to the grace written on our heart through Regeneration, Justification, and Imputed Righteousness) has been put in its place. Now you have been given faith, by a heart that seeks after God and loves God in the ways you have been called to love Him. A love that is born of God because of the way that He first loved us. When He gave us His Son for the redemption of those who would have faith in Him.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20, NASB) “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
God by His grace does a supernatural heart transplant and brings us to life. But why is it that we need a new heart?
(Jeremiah 17:9, ESV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
(Ephesians 2:1, NASB) “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”
This is why we need a new heart. Our old heart was dead and deceitful. Now the new heart is one that lives in a way that desires to seek the things of God. Even when we fail, our new nature and heart convicts us and tells us not to sin. The flesh sparks up in us a desire to turn from God and sin ((going against what He has commanded us to do). We must fight and live by the power that has been given to us from above.
(James 1:13-18, ESV) “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
This is the life of the struggle between flesh, sin, temptation, and victory. God has equipped us to fight. When our flesh comes knocking, we must fight by the power that has been given to us through the Spirit. We cannot go back to the sin that once so easily entangled us. We must remember that God does not tempt us. Sin and temptation are the results of our flesh and Adam’s fallen nature. So when the temptation comes, we must flee, turn from sin, and turn to God, who has given us the perfect gift from above. The gift He has given us is the Holy Spirit, by which we walk in order to not gratify the desires of the flesh.
This is the battle we deal with daily. But how does the battle for a godly life become one wherein we see victory?
FIGHT For A Godly Life
God has promised us the victory through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We are a new creation, we have a new heart, and we have a new Spirit. Now we must live in the renewal of our minds and battle the war waging in and around us by our identity in Jesus Christ.
The death blow of Christ has been dealt to sin. Think of it like this… Imagine a child comes into the room. “Daddy there is a spider on the wall in my room.” So the father goes to the room and smashes the bug with his hand. Then the father looks at the child and says, Okay, kiddo, just go and clean up what’s left.”
This is the picture of what God has done with our sin through the accomplishments of Christ. Christ has killed the sin and now it’s up to us to bury it.
(Revelation 1:5, ESV) “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood”
We have been freed from the power and possession of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. Though the presence of sin is ever present, we continue to battle and FIGHT! Sin cannot conquer you. Nothing can!!! So keep on with the FIGHT!!!
(Romans 8:37, ESV) “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
How did He love us??? By dying in our place! And through His death, He has conquered the power of sin. Now I must continue to put it to death.
(1 Peter 2:24, ESV) “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
Your sin is wrapped around a blood-soaked tree! This is great news. The sin has not only been dealt with, but it was also forgiven. Now, because of that forgiveness, I can die to sin and live to righteousness. You are raised to new life IN CHRIST!!!
(Romans 6:1-7, ESV) “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
How can you overcome when the trials, temptation, and sin come knocking?
By God’s grace!
He has bought you with a price. The price of His Son. The Son has died to pay your sin debt. The Son was raised to bring victory over all sin. Past! Present! Future!
Now the job is to fight! Christ dealt the death blow. Now you can overcome by the power of the Spirit and the renewal of your mind. Put all your sins to death, and love righteousness. But how can you put this into practice?
Here is one final thought and an acronym to help you fight.
Flee from the sin that tempts you, and run to Jesus, your Savior.
Identity. Your identity is in Christ. You no longer are a slave to sin. You can win and be victorious
Gospel. Keep the Gospel fresh in your heart and your mind. When sin comes, look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. He is the One who can, and will, sympathize with you in your weakness.
Heed. The warnings of Scripture are clear. Don’t dabble with sin, don’t touch it, don’t even get as close as you can to it. RUN! FLEE! And heed the instructions given in Scripture to overcome the sin. God has enabled you a way of escape by the Spirit. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!
Talk. Talk to God (pray). Talk to others. Talk to your pastor. Talk to someone, even anyone. God doesn’t want you to fight alone.
That’s what the body of believers is for. To grow together, to fight together, and to stand victorious in Jesus Christ together. Keep walking, keep renewing, keep cultivating, with a new goodness and richness in the Word of God. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
If you have not come to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, then I plead with you now to turn from your sin. Turn to the Savior, Jesus Christ. His is the only name in heaven, on earth, or under the earth that can save. Jesus has paid the price. Ransom has been paid. Justice has been done. Wrath has been satisfied.
It is finished!
Reconciliation is available, through Jesus alone. Have faith in Him. Run to Him. Cling to Him. Turn to Him. Fight with Him by your side. Don’t be a slave any longer to your sin. If you haven’t come to Christ, come now! Do not wait. Today is the day, and don’t turn away from His precious grace. Be reconciled, be forgiven, and be a new creation in Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria