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Overcoming Sin Through the Cross
By David A. DePra
Through Jesus Christ -- through His Cross -- we are forgiven for all sin. But through that same Cross of Christ we are also DELIVERED from all sin. Unless we are actually delivered from the power of sin through the Cross there is no possibility of freedom. But freedom is exactly what God promises:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Rom 6:5-7)
You will note that there is no mention of FORGIVENESS in this passage. That is discussed elsewhere. But here in Romans 6 we read only about DELIVERANCE – freedom from sin. I must, in passing, point out that the Bible never teaches freedom from the presence of the sin nature, or freedom from the possibility of sin. But through the death of Christ we are set free from the POWER of the sin nature – "he that is dead is freed from sin." Paul’s entire point is that we have been crucified WITH Christ. In short, we ARE dead with Him. And thus, we are freed by His death from sin.
Unless we are freed from sin we continue in bondage to sin. And if we are not free from the power of the nature of sin we are NOT walking as new creations in Christ. Fundamental to what Jesus Christ did on the Cross, and through His subsequent resurrection, is to FREE us from sin.
Yet despite these clear statement of Truth it remains a fact that believers everywhere are in bondage to various sins. Obviously, something is wrong. And the blame cannot belong to God.
The Sin Nature
The sin nature DEFINES the KIND of creature that man is since Adam’s sin. Man is void of Truth, self motivated, at enmity against God. John says, "Sin is lawlessness." (I Jn. 3:4) Man is lawless BY NATURE. Obedience is impossible. Law cannot help him. The only solution is death and resurrection as a new creation.
Now, when we talk about bondage to sins, we are really talking about various manifestations of the SAME sin nature that is in each one of us. If I am addicted to anger, you might be addicted to alcohol. Someone else might be utterly bound to judgmentalism. And all of us are certainly bound by a certain amount of self-righteousness. But the point is, all of those patterns and manifestations are of the SAME ROOT – the sin nature. Thus, you can try to obey all you want and you will never, through mere obedience, touch the root.
Here we see the first thing we must understand when we speak of the need to overcome sin. A common mistake is to identify our particular manifestation of the sin nature – how it shows in our conduct and attitudes – it is a common mistake to turn upon that and try to make ourselves behave. Or we try to eradicate it altogether. And there are plenty of, "religious experts," out there providing the rules, laws, and principles, that are supposed to cure what ails us. We have everything from submission to authority, to giving money, to public confession, to 12-step programs, to attending church -- all of these and more are offered as the pattern we need to follow in order to morph our manifestation of sin into a manifestation of obedience. But as Jesus so plainly stated, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. We try to find ways to deal with bad fruit – we try to make it look and act good. But it won’t work. We have to believe Jesus when He said the only solution is for the entire TREE to die and be raised anew.
So the first thing we must understand is that no matter what manifestation of sin we are talking about – smoking, anger, greed, jealousy, homosexuality, addiction to pornography, adultery, fornication, self-righteousness, etc. – no matter what we are talking about the solution is the same: Jesus Christ crucified. We are never going to actually be free of the bondage by simply learning new behavior. At best, you will be a "well-behaved prisoner" to your sin. You might sin less. But you will not be free. And that sin will come out in some other way. You have to get to the root. And that is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross.
The second thing we must understand is that it is a waste of time to try to overcome specific sins unless we lose to Jesus Christ the life in which those sins are rooted. In other words, you cannot get free from sins by merely taking those sins to the Cross. No. You have to take YOURSELF to the Cross. Jesus said we had to lose our lives in order to find them. Well, in that life we are to lose is the root and power of sin. Lose your life to Christ and the sin that is rooted in that life will progressively lose power. The place to start is to make an unconditional commitment to Christ. Ask Him to do whatever it takes to bring you into this Truth. And then when He does do what it takes, follow Him. You cannot want to be free more than Christ wants you free.
The third thing to realize is that you are NOT putting your faith in the CROSS. No. Rather, we are to put our faith in the Person who hung on it and bore our sin. To try to put our faith in a THING such as the Cross, or merely in the historical event of Jesus' death, is error. Rather, we have to come to the Person and be baptized into Him -- and if we are, then we are one with Christ crucified, and one with Christ raised. We will then be partakers of all that the Cross accomplished and all of His resurrection life.
Never turn these matters into a religious, "how to." No. This is about a relationship by faith because you have seen the Truth. The moment we turn things into a belief system, or a "how to" list to follow, we are under the law -- it may not seem like it, but we are. No religious system or program -- nothing short of the Redemption of Jesus Christ -- can set us free.
Why, for example, do we suppose that Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians? To correct them on this very issue. They were trying to obey themselves into righteousness. They were trying to do through their own works what Christ has already done. Paul said they were under the power of ANOTHER GOSPEL. His entire epistle can be summarized with this statement:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal 6:14-15)
Circumcision, during that time, embodied the entire mentality of righteousness by works. If you read this verse you will see that it avails nothing – obedience to any law cannot address the sin nature. It cannot cure what is BEHIND acts of sin. It cannot break the spiritual bondage that comes with being in Adam. The only solution is death and resurrection. We have to DIE and be raised NEW in Christ.
Until I come to the place where I not only bring my SINS to the Cross, but bring MYSELF to the Cross – I am not going to be free. I have to realize that HE WHO IS DEAD IS FREED FROM SIN. I have to be crucified WITH Christ. I have to surrender my entire self – surrender my old man of sin. Only then will the power of the Cross be effective in my life.
If you ask the average believer what the solution is to bondage to sin they will tell you, "obedience." They will say that the solution to sin is obedience to God – and they will assure you that God has given you the power to obey Him.
But wait. The solution to bondage to sin cannot be obedience. Why? Because bondage to sin MEANS that I CANNOT obey God. Sure. Thus, it is folly to say that if I cannot obey God that the solution is that I need to obey God. Clearly, there must be another solution.
If you tell a sinner that to get free from sin he simply needs to STOP sinning, you will, without realizing it, be denying the Cross. If you give a sinner a bunch of LAWS to keep, telling him that obedience to such will set him free from sin, you will be preaching, "another gospel." If you add anything – any law, any church, or any principle – to simple faith in Christ crucified, you are no one’s friend. It is not the Truth. The only Truth is Christ crucified.
Of course, most of us have never been taught this fundamental Truth. And yet, if we are honest, there are sins and patterns in your life that you CANNOT overcome. And I’m only talking about the ones you KNOW about. There are likely a number of sins that are so normalized to you that you are blind to them. How about the sin of self-righteousness? Of unbelief? How about a continual pattern of FEAR – even fear of God Himself? Indeed, the Bible even lists some of these possible sins among, "the works of the flesh:"
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)
Sin runs deep. It runs so deep that it is impossible for a human being, with all the right intent and will power within him, to overcome it. That is why Christ died. He died so that we might take our place in His death and die in Him. This alone sets us free.
Most Christians will tell you that they cannot earn forgiveness from God. So why do we think we can "obey ourselves out of" the very NATURE that got us into sin to begin with? We cannot. We must come to terms with something God says over and over: Without Christ we are ALL in bondage to sin. Our particular manifestation may be better looking, or worse, than others. But the root is the same. We are, "carnal, sold under sin."
The Power of God
Freedom from sin is possible only if I start by putting ALL of my faith SOLELY in Christ crucified -- and then, of course, all of my faith in the Living Christ so that I can walk in that freedom. I am not going to get far by continually putting my faith upon the death of Christ -- although this is essential as a foundation. I must go on to LIVE -- and that is only possible if I abide in Christ as my life.
But wait. Even this is something I cannot do. The same bondage to sin keeps us in bondage to blindness and unbelief. Thus, God must bring us to the place where we can put our faith in Christ. We will get to that later.
The usual opinion among Christian people is that we think that, yes, because Christ died for us, God has given us some kind of empowerment, or super will power, to obey Him. I think that most of us assume this – even if we don’t put it down in words just that way. Most Christian people assume that if they are saved, and if the Holy Spirit is within, that we ought to be able to keep God’s law. We ought to be able to overcome bondage to sin.
Well, first of all, should not the utter and complete failure to obey God and to overcome sin – despite all of these efforts – should that that alone tell people that it is not the Truth? But that aside, I will tell you the fundamental problem with this kind of thinking. The big problem is that most of the time FAITH is by passed completely. The focus is the works. Thus, rather than put faith in Christ – which would eventually result in good works – people give mere assent to Christ crucified, and then launch out thinking they can overcome sin.
Why do we think that before Israel was allowed to enter into the Promised Land that they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years? It was so that they would be utterly depleted of their own efforts. THEN they could enter solely by faith. The reason we cannot obey God just because we SAY we believe is because we are not weak enough in our own strength.
God never gives us a THING called, "power to obey Him." Rather, He makes us weak in ourselves, so that we might be STRONG IN CHRIST. Parallel to that, He gives us LIGHT so that we can believe Him -- and put our faith in Christ. Why? Because Christ ALONE is the power of God. The Cross breaks the power of sin. So while WE are never given power, by faith we abide in the power of Christ. That is what makes obedience possible.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…..Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:18-24)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Cor 12:9-10)
God has not given us a THING called, "power." He has not empowered US to overcome sin. Rather, He gives us Christ. He tells us to put our faith in the only source of power over sin: Christ crucified. The Cross of Christ is the power of God.
Willing to Do
If you have ever been in bondage to a particular sin and have tried – even in the name of Jesus – to overcome it through will power, you have failed. It doesn’t work. Amazingly, God has already told us it won’t work. Notice Paul’s description of his own struggle:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I desire not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
If you read this passage you will see that Paul KNEW what was right to do, and Paul WILLED to do right. But he could NOT do right. In fact, he sometimes sinned – he did the wrong he hated. Paul could not do what he WILLED to do.
Get that: Paul could not overcome sin even though he willed to overcome sin. Thus, his will power was NOT sufficient. He could not somehow harness the power of God and use that power to force obedience. No. Even the will of the apostle Paul did not have enough power to push through the law of sin that was in his members. Paul willed to obey. But he sinned.
Those who are born again do not want to sin. The more we know Christ the more we will be sensitive to sin. The more we will want to be free. But this is not the same thing as actually being free from sin. That is what Paul is saying. He is saying that no matter how much he WANTED to overcome sin and obey God he could not.
It ought to be more than obvious that if God gives us the will power to overcome sin, and if it is up to us to use that power to overcome sin – it ought to be obvious that Paul didn’t know about it. Indeed, he is teaching in this passage the opposite. He is saying that all of the power of his will could not push through the sin nature and overcome it. This is precisely what he is telling us in Romans 7: I will to obey, but I cannot.
Any slave can desire to be free. But that slave cannot make himself free. For freedom, he needs another – someone from the outside to set him free. Thus, we may not be responsible for choosing to be in bondage to a particular sin – or we may be responsible. We may not understand why we cannot be free – because we want to be free. But regardless of the problem, the solution is the same: We can turn to, and put our faith in, the One who has already won our freedom.
Suppose, for example, you are a person who is in bondage to homosexuality. I don’t care how you got that way because no matter how the problem arose, the solution is the same: Faith in Christ crucified. If you try to turn inward upon your bondage and try to use the power of God upon it, or through your will power try to overcome it, you will fail. No religious gimmick will work. Neither can you overcome your problem by merely praying it away. No. If your prayer is sincere God will show you that there is freedom only in the One who broke the power of sin by death. You have to BELIEVE and give yourself to Him.
Those who are in bondage to sin are not victims – despite the fact that they may not have deliberately chosen to get into the particular bondage they are in. Maybe they just grew up and developed the sinful pattern. But it doesn’t matter. Why? Because regardless of the problem, and despite how we got it, the solution is Christ. And once we see we are responsible for putting our faith in Him. Indeed, we ought to rejoice in the fact that we can. In other words, we can, on the one had say with Paul, "Wretched man that I am!" But that is not an excuse or a resignation. For then Paul says, "Who will deliver me from the body of this death? Thank God for Jesus Christ!"
God is telling us to STOP trying to overcome sin through will power and works. We cannot. We must put our faith in Christ crucified. Only then is freedom possible. And only then will works that are REAL come to pass in the life of the believer.
Failure is the Truth
Most believers who desire to be free from bondage to sin will tell you that they DO put their faith in Christ crucified. And as far as they know they probably do – they are walking in the light they have. But it is nevertheless a fact that initially the faith of most of us s not a real faith. It is either intellectual assent or emotional. It is most likely not fully in Christ. If it were fully in Christ, we WOULD be free.
Now, how is this faith problem solved? Many believers think that it is up to us to muster up a thing called, "faith," and generate it up to God. We imagine God is sitting up in heaven waiting for us, "to have enough faith." This is nonsense. For the Bible tells us that it is impossible to have faith unless God reveals Truth. In other words, we cannot believe, or even so much as know to believe, unless God first gives us something TO believe. Faith COMES by hearing the Word God speaks. (see Rom. 10:17) It is not possible otherwise.
What this means is that even if my faith is not real, or if it is misguided – it means that I must trust God to guide me into the Truth EVEN REGARDING MY FAITH. Sure. This is part of what it means for God to guide us into all Truth. He wants to build in us a TRUE faith. God has to reveal to us the Truth so that we can embrace it. He as to expose our faith as fake. And He has to reveal to us His Son.
Now, this is no small point. Indeed, it is a fact that God will be PRIMARILY working on my faith, reliance, dependence, and trust in Him – He will be working on this more than upon anything else. Sure. God is not going to magically set me free from sin. He will build my faith in Christ. God will not give us the things of Christ, or the blessings of Christ – He will first establish me in faith in His Son.
The rub in all of this is that the way in which God builds faith in me is to make me weak. If ALL of my faith is to be SOLELY upon Christ, then NONE of my faith can be in myself, my religious principles, or in anything else. This means I will need to unlearn much. Much will need to be torn down. And yet ALL OF THIS is nothing more than God leading me into the Truth – it is God leading me into a knowledge of His Son so that I can believe.
As an aside, we must understand that faith is not a law we must keep. When believers read such verses in the Bible that state, "Without faith it is impossible to please God..," there is a tendency to turn, "having faith," into a law that we must keep. In other words, once we know that faith is the key, we, "try to have faith," or fear that we don’t, "have enough faith." In effect, we turn, "having enough faith," into a law that we must meet. This can become a legalistic burden that is every bit as bad as trying to be righteous before God through works. We end up turning inward and constantly examining ourselves to see whether we, "have faith." Unknown to us is that all of this is likely happening within our natural man. We are really examining how we FEEL.
There is no way for us to cut through all of this. Only God can do this – the Word of God is quick and powerful, etc. This again is part of what it means for God to guide us into all Truth. God must blast to pieces all of this fake religiosity that we build, and expose us as barren, empty, and spiritually bankrupt – even as to our faith. This is the TRUTH about us. Then God can begin to build in us the faith of Jesus Christ.
I submit that until we say to God, "I cannot obey You. I cannot overcome this sin." – I submit that until we come to this place we will never put our faith SOLELY in the Cross. Why? Because coming to that place of confession is coming to the TRUTH. And you cannot put your faith solely in Christ unless you are seeing the Truth. Rather, you will remain in the continual pattern of trying to obey, failing, and trying harder – all unto defeat. This is actually what the Bible means by the term, "the law of sin and death." It is like the law of gravity. It just works that way. The more you try to jump higher up to God through your own working, the more you will fall back down to earth. In other words, the higher you jump, the longer and more pronounced the fall.
Only God can bring us to the place where we finally realize the Truth: We cannot obey Him. But you see, we will think we are falling apart if we still think we are accepted by Him based on works. All the while God is guiding us into all Truth – our failure being the Truth about us. He wants us to see this Truth so that we can put our faith in Christ.
Again – faith is not a law to keep. Rather, faith is the result of seeing and embracing the TRUTH. If my faith is PARTLY in the Cross it is because I have not seen the Truth. And that Truth is that the finished work of Jesus Christ is the ONLY solution for sin.
Faith that is solely in the finished work of Christ means exactly that: Faith that is SOLELY in Christ. In fact, faith that is in Christ crucified ALONE is the only kind of true faith that there is. It is the only TRUE outcome possible. Thus, God must get us to where our faith is solely in the Cross – which means that it is in NOTHING else. This will often mean that God will need to show us the insufficiency of our other object of faith – namely faith in ourselves. He will allow us to FAIL.
Now, as noted, as unpleasant as this is, it is really part of what it means to be brought into the Truth. We do have to unlearn error in order to learn Christ. We do have to see what is NOT the Truth if we are to see the Truth. If we are to be brought into the Truth of faith in Christ alone, we must see the futility of putting faith in anything about ourselves.
You will note that coming into the Truth is more than learning a doctrine. It is a learning by experience. We really learn in no other way. I can preach until I am blue in the face the necessity of putting faith solely in Christ – and I would be right to do so – but the question is whether I have actually put my faith solely in Christ. And the reality is, I will NOT do so until I am faced with the Truth about myself. It must be proved to me that there is nothing about myself in which to put faith. I have to be brought to the end of all of that. Only then will I put faith solely in Christ.
The Truth is that Christ is everything – and has accomplished all victory through His Cross and resurrection. The Truth is also that we are NOTHING, and that God never intended us to be anything. Notice – these things are the TRUTH. They are not commands or laws to follow. They are the TRUTH. Therefore, it is an unalterable fact that if I want to go on with God – if I want to come into the Truth; if I want a relationship with God that is in Spirit and in Truth – it is a fact that I will encounter this Truth. I will come face to face with it. God will see to it. And if I will embrace the Truth, God will progressively MAKE ME TRUE.
What will that mean? Well, if the Truth is that Christ is everything and that I am nothing, then to BE MADE TRUE I will be conformed to this Truth. I will fully give myself over to Christ by faith – putting my faith solely in His finished work. Why? Because it is the ONLY TRUTH possible – Christ is everything -- and God has brought me into it. And likewise, I will be brought to the end of all faith in myself, or in anything I can do. Why? Because I have seen that I am nothing. Again – this is the Truth. And so seeing it is the only possible outcome of the work of God in me.
Now, what all of this means is this: If I go on with God I am going to be brought into circumstances and situations in life that will be used to expose the TRUTH that I am nothing. All of my efforts to overcome sin will FAIL. All of my efforts to obey God will FAIL. Why? Because my failure will be the TRUTH! My failure is simply evidencing what has always been the Truth.
There are, of course, folks who continue to think that they are obeying God and overcoming sin. But they are not. There are others who simply don’t care. The issue of sin isn’t even on the table for them. This isn’t because they have faith. It is because they are blind. They simply haven’t seen the Truth. But regardless, the Truth states, without exception, that we are NOTHING. Therefore, even for such folks as these, if they are going to come into the Truth, they are going to have to be brought to see the utter futility of basing their Christianity or their faith upon themselves instead of upon Christ.
God never affirms sin. He never causes us to sin. But the TRUTH is, our hearts are not right with God. We are governed by some form of sin, even if that sin is self righteousness. That is the Truth about us. It is the Truth about us long before we come to see it. Therefore, God will allow situations to arise in our lives to simply expose the Truth about us.
In this we see that God does not MAKE us weak. Rather, He shows us that we already are by stripping off the lies. And God does not make US strong. Rather, He gives us Christ. Christ is the power of God. We must believe and the bondages will be broken.
Can we see that all of this is redemptive in nature? That even our failures can be nothing more than the Truth being brought out about us? That even our failures can be a means to bringing us to confess the Truth about ourselves, and about Christ, and thus be set free? That all of this is nothing more than God keeping His promise to guide us into ALL TRUTH? That if we will embrace the Truth, that it will eventually lead us to the Truth that in Christ alone is the solution to sin? Again – this is the ONLY TRUTH. If we want to walk with God in the LIGHT we will have to face it.
Solely in Christ
Faith means more than belief. Ultimately, faith in Christ means giving myself completely over to Him. Jesus Christ has ALREADY bore in His body – down unto death – every bondage to sin. If we take our place in His death by faith – in full and unconditional reliance, and keep it there – freedom MUST be ours.
Do you often feel as if you cannot reach God? That He is far off? That despite all of His promises to help, that you cannot seem to get any help? Have you prayed and prayed to overcome sin, only to fail? Well, it is possible that the reason is that you have not come to God solely on the basis of Christ. Maybe you are still coming to God on the basis of YOU.
Coming to God on the basis of YOU is faith in YOU, and in your works, and perhaps even, "faith in your faith." This can be bondage all in itself. But that is why God must bring trials. They will bring us down to the root of the thing. God’s intent is that we finally see that there is nothing about US ,or about any of our working, that can get us through. It has to be Christ and Him crucified.
I say again – we are to come solely on the basis of Christ – not because it is a religious law that God has commanded. We are to come solely by faith in Christ because it is the TRUTH – and doing so is the Truth. God cannot affirm darkness. Only the Truth.
Some of us still try to make ourselves presentable before we come to Christ. This is equal to coming to Christ on the basis of YOU. No. The finished work of Christ was accomplished as a work completely independent of you and I. Thus, our faith must be in it as a finished work that has no dependency upon US as to whether we can receive. We must, as it were, step around ourselves and our sin, and put our faith in Christ.
It has often been said that we come to Christ for the solution to sin, rather than try to solve sin so that we can come to Christ. We must come to Christ JUST AS WE ARE, rather than try to make ourselves presentable. That is simple, but isn’t it the very point upon which we err?
By faith we have to come to Christ EVEN WHILE IN BONDAGE TO SIN – in order to get FREE. We have to completely by pass ourselves – and put our faith in the One who died so that we could come to Him by grace.
Any time that we won’t come to Christ for deliverance from sin – because we are in bondage and think we aren’t good enough – we are in unbelief. That is faith in ourselves. It is faith in our works. No. Our works – including any bondage to terrible sin – are not to be taken into account as to whether we can put our faith in Christ. We are to put our faith solely in Christ to the complete disregard of whether we are worthy. In fact, need I say that Christ came into this world to die for sinners? Who will ever be good enough to come to Christ on their own merits? How good is good enough?
We cannot add to what Christ has done through His death. The moment we try, our faith is, at best, divided. Neither can we take hold of what we believe about the death of Christ and try to execute victory from it through the power of our will or religious flesh. It won’t work. No. We need to REST from our own efforts and working. We have to come to the place where we know that there is absolutely nothing we can do about this problem whatsoever. But we can put our entire faith in what Christ has done.
At the beginning of Romans 6, Paul asked, "Are we to continue in sin because we know that grace abounds?" The answer is, of course, no. But that aside, look at the question. The question itself is a revelation of the Truth. Paul is clearly stating that grace DOES abound when we sin. Do you see that? He could not be asking the question otherwise. He is asking, "Are we to continue in sin because grace abounds," because he knows that when we sin grace DOES abound – and he wants to explain what this doesn’t mean we have a license to sin.
So really, if we read these words of Paul, we have only two options as to the Truth. First, the grace of God DOES abound – EVEN when we sin. Or, second, the grace of God abounds -- EXCEPT when we sin. Those are the only two options. I would submit that if the Truth is the second option, that the grace of God abounds except when we sin – I would submit that the grace of God does NOT abound at all. For when would we need grace to abound? When we OBEY? No. We need the grace of God to abound when we sin. And thanks be to God that when we sin, the grace of God always abounds – for Christ has already died for any sin, or bondage to sin that we could commit.
Here is another one: Paul said, "There is therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Now ask: Did Paul mean there was no condemnation EVEN when we sin? Or did he mean that there was no condemnation EXCEPT when we sin? You cannot have it both ways. Again, it is the one or the other. Well, if the Truth is the second option – that there is no condemnation EXCEPT when we sin, then can we see that there IS condemnation? Sure. Every time we sin! For there would not be condemnation when we obey! Thus, the Truth is the first option -- that there is no condemnation for those in Christ EVEN when we sin. God’s grace covers EVEN when we sin. We would not need it otherwise.
These teachings are all based upon the Truth – that Christ’s work is finished, and that our faith must be solely in Him. And if it is solely in Christ crucified, then the power of the Cross will break every bondage to sin, no matter how deep and no matter how difficult. It can break the power of immorality, and it can break the power of self-righteousness. It can break the power of ALL that is vested in the old man in Adam. For he died in Christ.
Christ Crucified Alone
Christian people have almost as many different problems with sin as there are people. And there are just as many people out there offering solutions. People are offering everything from prayer shawls, healing oils, writing checks to a ministry, and every religious gimmick under the sun. The suggestion is that there is power in such objects. But none of these things will work. Not even our will power will work. For regardless of the many different problems the solution is the same ONE – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
God said, "Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit." We might do a take on that and say, "Not by will power, and not by the power of religious flesh, but by Christ alone."
God has not given us the power to overcome sin. Rather, He has given us Christ, and Him crucified. He has told us to put our faith in the power in the Person that once for all broke the power of sin: Jesus Christ.
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