You Don’t Have to Give in To Habitual Sin
She gave in again. His charm tempted and eventually convinced her that the passion of sin would outweigh the consequences. He lied. As he rolled over to fall asleep, she lay crushed by guilt and buried in shame. She wondered how she could be so weak.
Many Christians spend their days trapped in a cycle like this. We find ourselves continually falling prey to envy, sexual sin, various types of addiction, and the like. Many are weary, downtrodden, and feel hopeless in their struggle with sin. They wonder deep down if they’ll ever be free. If that rings a bell, I have a truth for you today from God’s Word and it’s one that has changed my life as a Christian.
If you are in Christ, you are no longer a slave to sin.
Grace and Our Sin
If you claim to be a follower of Christ and yet your relationship to sin hasn’t changed, you may not be a true convert. Harsh? Maybe. True? Probably. True believers have hearts that love God and His commandments more than their sin (John 14:15). If a person’s reaction to the truth that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” is to keep basking in their sin, they don’t show evidence of new life in Christ.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2 ESV)
Grace is never an excuse to sin, nor should taking advantage of it in that way have a place in the life of a believer. Grace surely covers us when we fall, but it is of no use to the one who tramples the Son with their life.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries…How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-27, 29 ESV)
No Longer a Slave
Truly, this is good news for the Christian who is struggling against sin. The struggle alone shows that grace has touched your life, if indeed you want to be free.
Romans six declares to us that we are united with Christ in His death and His resurrection (v. 5). We have died to sin and are now alive in Christ (v. 11). One of my favorite verses says,
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6 ESV)
Because of our new life in Christ, we can now say no to sin. In our previous unregenerate state, we were helpless to do so; we could only choose sin. But we have been set free and equipped with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God so that we now have a choice. This is why Paul cautions us against letting sin reign in our bodies.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14 ESV)
Sin has no dominion over the born-again believer. Oh, what a glorious truth! Not convinced yet? Think about this: the Spirit who empowered Jesus to crush temptation and to endure the cross lives in you. It is by the power of that same Spirit that you can refuse temptation–all temptation, whether it’s envy, lust, anxiety or any other sin known to man.
This is such good news. You and I, in our own strength, are powerless against temptation. But you and I have been given the most beautiful gift in having the Spirit of God reside in our hearts. It is by his power that we wage war against our fleshly desires.
Slaves to Righteousness
When Jesus saved us, he transferred us from the domain of darkness into his Kingdom of light. We became slaves to Christ rather than slaves to sin. Let us take hold of this freedom. Sin is a cruel master; Jesus is gracious and kind. He bears with us and prays for us in our battle against sin (Romans 8:34).
When that secret sin calls out to you, you can turn away and flee. You can say no. You can have victory through the power of the Holy Spirit over habitual sin.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:17-19 ESV)