Return to the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.
What is (or was) your New Year resolution? Many people have resolutions at the turn of every New Year. Most of these resolutions last for perhaps a week or maybe a bit more…isn’t it? Some plan to lose weight, some plan to stop smoking or drinking, some plan to give up some other bad habit, some plan to be wiser in spending or saving up and some others plan to regularly go to the gym. How long these resolutions last is anyone’s guess!!
There is nothing wrong with having resolutions and giving it a go. They give you a sense of purpose and motivation albeit temporal. In fact, they can be really good, only if you have the will power to consistently do it. As simple as that may sound, that exactly is the problem too, isn’t it? Will Power! People boast about their will power, their strong determination to do something. Will Power is a great gift from God and sometimes it can save your life. You’ll know that’s true if you ever watched any episode of “I shouldn’t be alive” on TV. But man’s will power is really weak when it comes to giving up something pleasurable. It seems a lot easier to give up something you don’t like anyway. It is a lot easier to donate a shirt or a jacket that you don’t much like or wear, than to donate the one you like the most.
Likewise, when you are pursuing holiness, you may find yourself easily giving up things you don’t much like anyway. But you will struggle giving up something that you find pleasurable or something that is a source of comfort to you when you are upset, depressed, and stressed. And “will power” is not of much use then.
When it comes to giving up a pleasurable habit, when it comes to giving up something we know is wrong, there seems to be a struggle. We try to suppress it for a while because our conscience tells us it is wrong. But we all know that it’s just a matter of time before we get exhausted with the mental battle and give in. Then there goes the resolution out the window.
So….what is going on here!! Why is it that we find ourselves so weak?....Does God has an answer? And if He does, then it should be there in the bible somewhere.
And yes indeed…Read Romans 7:15-25 - “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law of God is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is the sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” NLT
Wow! What a profound truth that we all can relate to, isn’t it?
The fact is that we are all sinful and the sin nature in us wars against our will and mind. This life of ours here on earth is dominated by sin and death. This war will always be there and many times we lose this battle. Could this be a reason why resolutions and freedom programs don’t last? We try to win a spiritual war with human strength. We come up with clever strategies and action plans, but it only goes so far. The root cause of our problem is not the habit or the deed itself, but guilt and condemnation. As long as we have guilt in us, we will always lose this battle. It only takes a moment of disappointment or stress or even a moment of success that leads to indulgence in something we know is wrong.
Is there no solution to this inner struggle? Yes, there is. The solution is in getting rid of the sin nature in us. If we had no sin nature in us, then we would not have a problem. But we do not have the power or ability in us to rid ourselves of our sin nature. We were born with it. But the bible says “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” And chapter 8:1 starts off with “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” NLT
I urge you to set you mind on Romans 8:1,2 and meditate on it for the next three months. Your firm belief in the fact that Christ has set you free and that there is now no condemnation, will EMPOWER you to be free from anything you want to be free from. Nothing will have a hold on you. It is not that Christ has paid the price for your sin and therefore you can just remain to be you and keep sinning without feeling guilty or making any effort to be free. It is quite the contrary.
Romans 8:3 – The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So, God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Because sin has no control over you that believe in Christ, therefore you can now pursue holiness. You did not have that ability before, but now you do. You now have the ability to be led by the Spirit and not led by the flesh. You could not do that before, but now you can. When you make an attempt to resist, a war begins. Your sinful nature begins to war against your spirit, but now because you believe in Christ and you have the Holy Spirit in you, you can now win that war. At first, you may find the war overwhelming and may lose the battle. But stand up and fight again. God will ensure that you never stay down. The gift of “no condemnation” will give you the strength you need to stand up once more and fight the next round. As you keep doing this, you will begin to see progress. You will begin to experience that you are getting stronger, and the flesh (your sinful nature) is getting weaker. As days go by, you will be walking in victory, and you will have slain your giant.
Keep feeding your mind that you are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is now no condemnation for you because you belong to Christ and watch yourself be filled with immense joy, gladness and most importantly, liberty from all bondage. Christ has set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. You will KNOW the TRUTH and that knowledge of the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.
If you are trying to be free from sin and intend to pursue holiness, then let your resolution be to feed your mind on Romans 7 & 8. I believe you’ll not only be free, but also begin to experience an amazing influx of revelation on the truth of the real gospel message from God’s word. This is the gospel, the Good News. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from guilt, and condemnation. We are free not because God decided to be soft on us and sweep our sins under the carpet, but because Christ His Son took ALL of our sins upon Himself and already bore the wrath of God on our behalf. That's why there is now no condemnation for us. When you understand this truth, guilt will have no hold over you and when guilt has no hold over you, sin has no hold on you, sinful habits have no hold on you. Oh! What a wonderful news. That is the gospel my friends. That is what compels me to share the gospel with others struggling with sin. Do you see that anyone who does not know Christ is under bondage to sin? How can anyone who is a slave to sin be happy? He/she is not free at all.
Our Lord came for this one reason. To set us free from the power of sin. To save us from sin. Adam and Eve lost fellowship with God just because of sin. And sin led to all kinds of immoralities, idolatry and evil. So it is quite obvious that Jesus came to get rid of the root, which is sin. And that He did of course. Yes, He came to save us and grant us eternal life. Yes, we are all being transformed into His likeness. But none of that will be possible if we are still in sin. The bible says “Without holiness no one will see God – Heb 12:14”. But praise God! He has made it possible for us to be holy.
Blessings in abundance to you in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.