Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fighting Sin ---Mortification

The fight against sin: Here are some thoughts that I hope may be useful.
I have purposely wrote this to be broad so that it could be better applied otherwise you might only think about the things I bring up. Of course you could just read John Owen on temptation and sin (tons of reader levels to choose from).

Here are some statements, some realities that are crucial to grasp if you are ever to truly fight against temptation and sin.

God desires your victory
Some seem to be perfectly 'satisfied' with confession, as though that was the end of all the power that has been availed to believers in Christ. Confession is not the end all, don't EVER be satisfied with that, fight to WIN!
1 Pet 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
2 Cor 13:11
God wants your humility, (He will use things to humble you)
Maturity in Christ simply means more dependency on Christ, we don't become more self-sufficient. Our growth is revealed by how much we depend on Christ.
John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
2 Cor 12:7b, 9a,10b …to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me…, …He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”… For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

What you face is 'common' to man
You have no unique sin, no traumatic experience that separates your fight against sin from the rest of mankind, making yours more difficult (of course we could thank psychology for helping us 'wrongly' think like this, a great excuse to not believe). Besides that, the supply of grace is endless (God is not and cannot be limited by upbringing, environment, peers, finances, sickness or anything else).
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

What you face God has already provided the solution for it in His word.
Again nothing is unique, God is not surprised by what we see. Although it must be said that the solution may be ignored because it's 'extreme' (in comparison to the evangelical world). Let nothing be withhold from the spotlight of God's conviction, regardless of how innocent it could be explained
2 Tim 3:16,17 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The only final victory is in glory, until then we must fight continuously (endure as a soldier) We fight striving for victory, striving to win each battle, with full knowledge that the war never ends. Yet we fight looking for and expecting a day of great rest, our blessed hope!
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
2 Tim 2:3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

God desires all the means of grace to be used for your benefit: private study, prayer, confession, examination, preaching, fellowship of believers, and the church.

All known sin must be repented of and fought against
Don't be foolish enough to think that you have choices in sin, it could be easy to choose the one which brings the most harm to you or others and leave alone the rest; yet this will not work, sin is against the Lord and we must seek to be cleansed before Him in all things.

Sin attitudes must be sought out and also fought against
We must not only focus on outward sin, but inward sin- the pride, the lust, the self idolatry, the seeking of the praise of men, the coldness toward the lost, the hypocrisy of judging other believers unfairly, the discontent, the trusting in self, the selfishness, the unbelief, the laziness and much much more.

You must search for the roots of sins: Company you keep, conversations you have, places you go, things you watch, and things you listen to. All these are gateways that influence your thoughts, focus and direction.

Once these things are realized and you face them honestly: you must ask yourself in which way will I fight these temptations; some by standing and others by fleeing.
Don't allow pride to keep you from running, even when others would say it's 'permissible'. Don't wonder why they seem to not be affected by such things (they’re probably just covering it up good) that absolutely overwhelm you.
We do all this by the grace of God, being empowered by the Spirit of God, and to the credit of God alone. We do this as we remember Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. We purify ourselves looking to Christ and all He has done and will do, John said it best:
I John 3:1-3
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. 3 And every one that has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure.


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