There is a war raging. We see in the news headlines that there are wars and rumors of wars throughout the world, but that isn’t the war I’m talking about. The battle a Christian fights is against sin and the ways of the world. The ways of the world can tempt us and look appealing, but all sin is rebellion and always comes between us and God.
Oh yes, Satan uses many lies to tempt us…he twists God’s words to make sin look like fun. Satan cannot speak truth, only lies. If you take a box and fill it with trash…food scraps, empty cans, used napkins, and other garbage you have sitting around…then wrap it in beautiful wrapping paper and put ribbons and bows on it, the fact remains that garbage is still inside.
That garbage is Satan’s lies. He wants to beautify sin and make it something to be desired, but the ugliness of sin is still inside. He used the same tactic with Eve…lies dressed up to look pretty.
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”(Genesis 3:5).
Wow! He said that Adam and Eve would be “as gods.” Didn’t he make sin look lovely? Eve was deceived and ate the fruit, Adam ate the fruit by choice, sin and death entered God’s creation, and today we are still paying the price. Satan lied…he always lies. When a person comes to understand that sin separates us from God and that the only path to salvation is through the blood of Jesus, he becomes a new creation.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The sin and filth that has ruled that person’s life is now forgiven. That is, when he or she is justified in the eyes of God. Instead of being separated from God by our sin He now sees us through the blood of Jesus and all of our sin – past sin, present sin, and future sin – has been forgiven. Jesus paid a huge price to purchase our redemption and that should never be
Will this new creature in Christ still sin? Yes. It is impossible for a human to not sin, but the way we look at sin has changed. Before becoming a Christian sin was inviting and we just joined in because we were ignorant, not knowing or caring that sin means eternal separation from God.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
After accepting Christ as our Savior we should be heartbroken over the sin in our life. Sin cannot stand before the throne of God, and no human can ever be good enough. How often have you heard or said “I’m a good person and just as good as the next guy”? No matter how good you are or how many good and loving works you do you can never be worthy of eternal life with God aside from the redemption offered through Jesus Christ: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. That’s a fact which the lost souls of this world refuse to believe.
Once you have accepted Christ don’t expect a trouble-free life. Now the battle begins. Before you accepted Christ you belonged to Satan and were going to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, eternally separated from God and His love. Since accepting Christ your sins have been forgiven, but that isn’t a license to go ahead and sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” ( Romans 6:1-2).
God forbid indeed! Have you ever seen a salmon in a fight against the current of a rushing river as it struggles to swim upstream? It isn’t an easy battle and the salmon could easily just stop fighting, go with the flow so to speak. What would be accomplished by that? Nothing. Christians are in that same type of battle.
We live in this world of sin and it would be easy to just give up and go with the flow. In our battle against sin we serve as a witness to the unsaved and our victory just may bring others to Christ. When we are born again, in Christ believers we need to keep our thoughts trained on our goal. We need to battle the sin current like the salmon battles the river current and overcome.
What is the goal of a Christian? Ultimately the goal is eternal life with Christ. That will come at the time of our death when we are glorified and live with Him eternally. While we live in this world our goal is to bring others to Christ. We can’t do that if we don’t live any differently than the unsaved.
We have to live in the world, but we must not live like the world. By that I mean we need to battle sin. Just like the salmon fighting to swim against the current we need to fight against the sin that would pull us down. We don’t fight this battle on our own because we are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That is, God lives inside of us.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Once you have truly accepted Christ’s sacrifice you are sealed by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t seal you, then unseal you if you sin, then if you stop sinning (which is impossible this side of Heaven) seal you again, and on and on. No, once sealed by the Holy Spirit, always sealed by the Holy Spirit. If you have truly accepted Christ and you choose to continue in rebellion and sin you do pay a price. You will be out of fellowship and miserable. Your life will be empty and you cannot serve Christ. When you stand before the Bema Seat you will be given no crowns or rewards.
A Christian needs to look and act different than the non-Christian world around us. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Skimpy clothing, frequenting bars, using vulgar language, and any other activities of sin should not be a part of a Christian’s life. Have you heard the expression “Garbage in, garbage out?”
Separate yourself from anything that puts garbage into your life. No matter how pretty that garbage is packaged it is still garbage. You do have a free will and if you sin it is your own choice to do so. When we face temptation it isn’t easy to turn away from it but we do have a choice to either submit to sin or submit to Christ. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The more you submit to Christ the easier it becomes to resist the devil. He has no rights to a Christian…only those we allow him to have.
Paul understood salvation better than most. He had committed great sin before he met Jesus; in fact he was a party to murder. You might smugly say that you aren’t that bad, that you haven’t murdered anybody. Haven’t you? Go read the Sermon on the Mount and see what God thinks about being angry with someone without cause, or calling someone an idiot. Oops. Paul battled with sin just like we all do, but he was intent on serving Jesus the way God should be served. He often compares serving Christ to an athletic completion.
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5).
The words “masteries” and “crowned” are both translated from the same Greek word stephanoō which is a crown of victory. Take note that Greeks could compete in the sports of the day, but if they lost they did not lose their Greek citizenship. They did lose the crown for the victory in their race, but not citizenship. They also had to “strive lawfully”, that is play by the rules. God has given us His rules in our Bible. We need to follow those rules and not try to twist their meaning to accommodate our particular sin.
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9: 26-27).
Paul dedicated his life to serving Christ, but his concern was that he didn’t do enough. He carried the gospel to many people on his missionary journeys. He wrote letters correcting bad doctrine and also letters of encouragement. He wasn’t worried about losing his salvation because that was sealed on the road to Damascus. He was concerned about losing rewards. The Greek word “adokimos” is translated “castaway” and means a loss of reward, not a loss of salvation. Have you done as much as Paul to spread the Gospel? Probably not. I know I haven’t.
If Paul was concerned about losing rewards when he stood before God we should also be concerned. It may not seem important now, but when crowns are given you will want the privilege of having at least one to cast before our Lord and Savior. I do.
We see the signs of the times and know that it won’t be long until the Rapture. Sin is rampant and it permeates everything. Battle sin. Fight sin with the power of God that lives within every Christian. Your battle against sin will be worth the fight in this world when you enter eternity and see your rewards.
At the end of his life Paul knew he would soon see Jesus.
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Not one of us can say for sure whether we have one day or one year left on earth. We must fight a good fight in the battle against sin.
God bless you all,