THE OVERCOMERS

January 13, 2017

All believers can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). But if Christ lives within us, why do we still sin?

 

 

  Paul was not saying that once a person becomes a Christian the human personality is zapped out of existence, being replaced somehow by the divine logos. The indwelling of Christ does not mean that we are delivered from the realm of suffering, sin, and death.

 

 

  What Paul means, is that being crucified with Christ implies a radical transformation within the believer. The “I” who has died to the law no longer lives; Christ, and the person of the Holy Spirit, dwells within, sanctifying our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 So while the Christian life is still lived “in the flesh,” our union with Christ enables us to overcome sin. But what does it mean to overcome sin?

 

 

 Paul says because we are made alive in Christ we are to put sin to death (see Col 3:5). This is a daily task for all Christians. As the Puritan John Owen said, “Be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

 

 

 Yet while we must apply the concept, using the phrase “killing sin” can be misleading because it implies that indwelling sin can be killed once and for all time. In reality, sin is like a monster in a horror movie that is killed repeatedly and yet returns time and time again.

 Another possible term is the word the Puritans used for putting sin to death: mortification. But because that word is archaic and unfamiliar to modern hearers, we can substitute the word overcome. To overcome is to get the better of something or someone in a struggle or conflict, to conquer or defeat. Throughout this Bible, discussions of “overcoming sin” will have the same essential meaning as what the Puritans would call “mortification of sin.”

 

 

 Few Christians have thought more deeply or written more fruitfully about the process than the Puritan John Owen, so we’ll use his explanation of what overcoming sin is and is not.

 

 First, what overcoming sin is not:

 

  ➤ Overcoming sin is not the complete destruction and death of sin—While the death of sin is our aim, it is not an achievement to be accomplished in this life.

 ➤ Overcoming sin is not the process of concealing sin—We can fool others—and sometimes even ourselves—into thinking we’re no longer enslaved to specific sins. But no matter how hard we try to conceal our sin, God knows the truth.

 ➤ Overcoming sin is not the creation of a quiet, sedate nature—The process is about dealing with our sin, not changing our natural temperament.

 ➤ Overcoming sin is not the diversion of sin—Just because we have diverted our attention or temporary inclination toward a particular sin does not mean it has been overcome.

 ➤ Overcoming sin is not just occasional conquests over sin—After engaging in sin, we might repent and return to God, having won a temporary battle against our sin. While this is laudable, it is not the same as the ongoing process of overcoming sin.

  Now we look at what overcoming sin is:

  ➤ Overcoming sin is a habitual weakening of sin that involves constant fighting and contending against sin—Paul says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). Paul’s use of the gruesome metaphor of crucifixion is intentional. When we “crucify the flesh” we are, as Owens notes, “taking away its blood and spirits that give it strength and power—the wasting of the body of death “day by day.”

 ➤ Overcoming sin consists of frequent successes—The fact that we will not conquer all sin in our lives does not mean we cannot expect to conquer specific sins. In the process of overcoming sin we should expect to win many frequent and decisive battles.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for those you know that need healing,

Pray for Thomas, needs to take his medicine on a regular basis

Pray for Chuck, needs encouragement

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