News flash: Fighting sin is hard work.
The fact of the matter is that none of us are sin free practically. In Christ we are justified, sin debt cancelled, righteousness of Jesus counted to us. Practically, however, we all still sin and this is why we need the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus’ eternal work work in the gospel is key to us not being condemned.
See, we have a new heart that loves God and wants to obey him because of the work of the gospel. But we have this leftover thing the bible calls “the flesh”(see Romans 7 for Paul’s struggle with it). The flesh is desires that are of the “world system” and desires that the “world system” appeals to (1 John 2:15-17). So, there is quite literally a war going on inside of every follower of Jesus. This war is full of wins and losses on a daily basis. Any person who tells you they don’t struggle with sin is not a Christian because they’ve completely given into sin and no longer view their rebellion as sin. For the person who fights it, they will tell you that it’s all out war.
Sin for the Christian will 1) affect their ability to focus on what matters, 2) limit their ability focus on truth, 3) will hinder the ability to assign value to tasks, 4) affect the spiritual climate of warfare around them and their family, 5) will affect their view of the Father’s love for them, 6) will hamper their spiritual insight and influence, 7) will make them put up a self-imposed distance between them and Father, 8) will cause them isolate from fellowship, 9) cause them to run from prayer (because you have to talk to Jesus with that “elephant in the room), 10) will affect how they feel physically and a host of other things I’m sure you all can add affects of sin based on your experience.
Whats crazy is that post-sin no Christian enjoys the fruit of sin. We hate it. But we see the power of the rebellion and the curse to cause short memories of the bitter fruit so as to be fooled again by the promise of sweet tasting fruit. “You will be like God knowing good and evil.” You can just hear the hiss of the serpent in temptations that come our way. “This will be good for you. You can be the determiner of your own happiness.”
Romans 7:11 reminds us that sin is deceptive.
John 8:44 reminds us that Satan is the father of lies and deceit and this is his native language.
1 John 2:15-19; 5:19 reminds us that the lusts of our “flesh” are from the “world system” and this system is operated by the Liar.
Romans 8:13 reminds us that we must kill sin or it will kill us and we will evidence we are not really followers of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that we can, in Christ, win against sin by taking the escape route the ever-present Jesus gives us in the moment. We just have to fight to take it.
This last passage combats some of the lies of sin. 1) It reminds us that Jesus is near to the tempted not distant. Lean on that when tempted. 2) Jesus is actively providing a way to get out of that temptation. Look for divine escape routes. Look hard. Don’t let go of finding that passage to life. 3) In Christ, we can bear up under that lie that promises sweet fruit. We have the truth of God’s word, the witness of the Holy Spirit and the present Jesus to help us know that sin is bitter and that we like life better and we can go with the superior desire of life.
So, I invite you to journey with me as I try to put a sword to my sin. Let’s remember that sin kills. Holy Spirit gives life. Let’s kill sin and partake of abundant life!