How Faith Helps Us Overcome Sin (I John 3:9,10)
"No one born of God continues to deliberately, knowingly and habitually practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him. His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him and he cannot practice sinning because he is born of God... No one who does not practice righteousness, who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought and action is of God , neither is anyone who does not love his brother his fellow believer in Christ."
Quote: Sin hurts. I would not consume poison or jump out in front of a truck, why then would I sin knowing that he who sows to his own flesh reaps corruption?
Why do you suppose that so many people struggle with the sins of omission, commission, faulty disposition and attitudes as well as presumptuous sins? Perhaps it the failure to appropriate the new life of Christ in us through faith. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Active faith facilitates the putting away of disbelief, disobedience and destructive thinking patterns. True faith has the miraculous capability to help us realize that in the world we will have tribulation but we can be of good cheer because Christ has overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and through His power we can too. (John 16:33)
Illustration: What Happens to a Backslider?
Attention-getter: The Christian who harbors secret sin in his life is looking for trouble.
1 John 1:8-9—”If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When a True Christian sins, what happens?
1. His Fellowship with God is severed. David, when backslidden, mourned, “Day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psalm 32:4). As Clouds hide the sun for days, so Sin comes between the soul and God.
2. The Joy of salvation is lost. One loses all relish for spiritual things: the heart is empty. David, in this condition, confessed, “My sin is ever before me” and “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit” (Psalm 51:3, 12).
3. Power for service is lost. The Holy Spirit’s power is Essential for any real witness for Christ. It cannot be Faked. David prayed, “Thou desirest truth in the inward parts” and “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:6, 10).
4. The Christian invites divine chastisement. Hebrews 12:6-7—”Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth....What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Psalm 89:32-33—”I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.”
5. There is loss of reward. (Read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.) Out of Fellowship means out of Service—out of service means that one is failing to lay up treasures in heaven. He is building of “wood, hay, and stubble” which cannot endure the test of the rewarding day (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Many will be chagrined in that day by suffering Loss of Reward.
Take the Way Back Now. Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9.
Keith L. Brooks, Essential Themes, (Moody Press, Chicago; 1974), pp. 48-49
Let us examine five words in the New Testament that teach us about overcoming sin:
1. HARMATIA - This is the most common word for sin which originally meant missing the target or the mark God set for righteousness, truth and love found in Christ. For a person to fail to hit the target may mean that we are only off a few degrees in any direction. Yet, Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 3:23;6:23)
Harmatia means that sin has disallowed one from seeing, believing and doing all that God expects of us. Faith helps us live up to our potential in Christ through the enabling power of the word and the Holy Spirit.
Believing people are able to maximize their potential by fulfilling God’s plan for their life by displacing destructive tendencies with constructive ones. Faith helps us keep God’s target in mind in what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent, admirable and praise-worthy and then puts those attitudes into action. Through prayer, meditation and active obedience I can experience victory over my own tendencies to stray from God’s intended pathway. Faith allows us to perceive the essentials and over-ride and not over-react to all of the distractions from what I need to focus on. Do not let sin obscure your vision but fix your eyes on Jesus as the author and perfecter of your faith. (Heb 12:1-3)
2. PARABASIS - This is the word which means that sin is stepping across the line which is drawn between right and wrong. Faith keeps us mindful of the line of morality, truth and righteousness. Faith enables us to have the power to overcome temptations and take the way of escape provided to us through prayer. The love of God empowers us with the strength to not cross over the line into the sins of omission, faulty disposition or presumptuous sins. Faith gives us the desire to stay on the right side of righteousness for His kingdom and glory’s sake.
3. PARAPTOMA - This is the kind of sin which means slipping across the line. This is not as deliberate of sin as the former two, but just as serious. When someone allows an angry word or thought to embrace us then we have fallen into paraptoma. The best Christian can slip into sin for a short moment unless we are on our guard in with the Spirit of God’s diligence and vigilance. Faith gives us an alertness to minor slips of the tongue, attitude or unbelief.
Faith grants us the capacity, courage and confidence to do everything God asks us to do with the help of Christ who gives us the strength and power. Faith grants us the certainty of purpose so that we do not slip into bad past patterns. The Lord knows the paths we take and when we are tried we will come forth as gold as we put on the full armor of God having our feet prepared with the preparation of the gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:10-18)
4. ANOMIA - This sin means lawlessness. The man who commits anomia knows the right thing to do but does wrong through stubborn disobedience. By following human instinct, desires and past conditioning, a person does what is right in their own eyes. This person defies what his parents, teachers and authorities have taught about truth. Even by wishing to break the law, one can be considered guilty or by looking at a woman to lust for her, they have committed anomia in their heart.
Faith reverses this natural tendency and one’s desire for lawlessness. Faith gives us the desire to obey, submit and follow the paths of life. Faith provides us with an appetite for what is righteous in thoughts, words, and deeds as well as attitudes towards others.
5. OPHEILEMA - This is the word of the Lord’s prayer meaning debt or transgression. It means to pay that which is due, a failure in duty. No one would ever claim that he has fulfilled all of his duties to God. Faith allows us to claim the perfect righteousness found in Christ as our own, but it recognizes our need for confession and conscious forsaking of known sins. Faith allows us to be made righteous in the eys of our heavenly Father. Faith provides us with the substitutionary payment through Christ’s atoning blood that cleanses us from all sin.
Let your belief in Christ help you overcome all types of sin. When we sin we need to utilize I John 1:9 that says, "IF we confess (agree with God that we have violated His word, His will and His way) our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." No relationship will ever be perfect without the application of faith’s remedies to sin. Ask God to help you view sin correctly and then you will be able to overcome our natural tendencies toward self-destructive thoughts, attitudes and actions.
Unless the cycle of sin is broken we will gradually fall into the trap of sin’s delusion, destruction and its discouragement. Yet, we can take courage, confidence and capability in the promise from I John 3:9,10 ... "No one who does not practice righteousness, who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought and action is of God , neither is anyone who does not love his brother his fellow believer in Christ." Yet, because we are born of God we simply need to go the bank of Christ’s imputed righteousness and punch into that ATM machine and draw out all that we need to not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
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Our Daily Bread
Why we choose not to sin:
1. Choose to delight the Lord rather than displease, disappoint or find disfavor in His eyes. (2 Pet 1:3,4)
2. Choose to submit to His will instead of giving in to that which is detrimental emotionally, physically, socially, vocationally, mentally, financially or spiritually. (John 10:10)
3. Choose to love the Lord instead of surrendering to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the boastful pride of life. (I John 2:15,16)
4. Choose to obey, submit and grow in your Christlikeness instead of disobeying the Lord and spoiling your intimate fellowship with God. (I Cor 1:9)
5. Choose to walk in harmonious fellowship with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart instead of being disagreeable, disharmonious or critical. (2 Tim 2:22-24)
6. Choose to follow the Lord’s direction instead of becoming distracted, detoured or mis-directed by sin.
7. Choose to follow the light instead of being blinded by the darkness, stupidity and delusion of sin.
8. Choose to remain honorable, true, noble and right instead of succumbing to decrepid, distasteful and demented lifestyles.
9. Choose to be dependent on the Lord instead of the world, the flesh or the devil.
10. Choose to be filled with the Spirit instead of being destroyed by the works of the flesh. (Gal 5:19-22)
11. Choose to find joy in the Lord instead of sadness, difficulties and displeasure from sin. (Heb 11) Choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
12. Choose the wisdom of God instead of giving in to bitterness, anger and the deceitfulness of sin. (Rom 3:1-10)
13. Choose the purity of God instead of the degrading lusts of sin. (John 10:10)
14. Choose the control of the Spirit instead of the devilish destruction of the devil, evil and the world’s system. (John 10;10)
15. Choose the victory in Jesus Christ instead of the defeat, despair and disillusionment of sin.
16. Choose the hope of Christ and HIs word instead of the distress, dejection and depression of sin.
17. Choose to flee from youthful lusts and the pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart instead of the company of destructive people.
18. Choose to be courteous, loving and kind instead of being angry, indifferent or a person lacking graciousness. (John 1:14,17)
19. Choose a great reward in heaven instead of being like the man with one talent who faced the wrath of God.
20. Choose the persecution that comes with being godly instead of the fleeting praises of sinful people. (2 Cor 6:1-12)
21. Choose to be faithful to my identity in Christ instead of betraying my sonship and sense of belonging, acceptance and the favor of God. (Col. 1:9-11)
22. Choose to fear God instead of having to live in the snare, trap and imprisoning of the fear of men.
23. Choose to stay on track with God’s will instead of allowing myself to be derailed, destroyed and disqualified from winning the race. (I Cor 9:24-27)