Summary: Why do Christians fail in living for God and how is the finished work of Christ the answer?
We’re not a hypocrites. Loving God and desiring His will is paramount in our lives. But a sinful habit is destroying us, our testimony, and our faith. Perhaps it is smoking, an uncontrollable temper, some form of immorality, or one of a hundred different things. We’ve told ourselves and others agreed, “Just stop”, but we can’t. We increase church attendance, Bible study, and we even pray and fast more. Finally we try to “believe God harder.” We begin to doubt our salvation, because “Christians don’t do these things”. But, after all the work, tears and heartache, no victory comes and the problem gets worse. Why?
St. John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. When most Christians think of the crucifixion, they relate the work done there as it pertains to salvation. What they don’t realize is, not only was sin’s debt paid, its power was broken too. When Jesus died on the cross and the Roman soldier pierced his side, blood and water came out (St. John 19:34). This revealed that the Lord’s heart had burst. But there is a deeper meaning to this; Christ would pay sin’s debt by giving his innocent blood (1 Peter 1:18-19, St. John 3:16). The blood pouring from his side signified this. However, Christ is also the Word of God manifested in the flesh (St. John 1:1-4, 1 Tim. 3:16). Ephesians 5:26 tells us that the Christian is washed and sanctified by the “washing of the word”. This was signified by the water pouring from the Lord’s side. The important thing to note is, both came from Christ and no other source. The Holy Spirit, through this event, was showing us a great truth. If the Christian doesn’t understand, even though loving the Lord supremely, will cause them to walk in defeat. They are saved, but miserably so. But if on the other hand the Christian understands and believes this truth, they will have the key to a victorious life.
We would ask then, why do Christians fail? Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. These are the two most powerful laws in the universe. The law of sin and death answers the question as to why the Christian fails. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus answers the question of how to live free from sin and its’ power. Romans 8:13 tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit’s work in us that sinful habits are conquered. We see that it is by His empowerment that we are able to live free from sin and have the “more abundant life” Jesus spoke of in St. John 10:10. We go back to the original question. Why am I failing? It is because the Christian is living under the law of sin and death. This doesn’t mean the person is unsaved or is backsliding, although that can result. We must understand that the Holy Spirit only works in the parameters of the finished work of Christ and the benefits therein. We know this from the phrase, “in Christ Jesus”. In the Bible when this term is used, it always references Christ’s work on the cross of Calvary.
Then what does the Christian need to do so that the Holy Spirit will have access to work in their lives? Hebrews 12:1 tells the Christian to keep their eyes on Jesus, who is the “author and finisher of their faith”. St. John 16:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit will always point individuals, whether saint or sinner, to Christ as the source of all things. The Christian therefore is to look exclusively to Christ for everything he or she needs. 2 Peter 1:1-4 says, “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteous of God and our savior Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is the world through lust”. This tells us that God has provided through Jesus Christ everything the Christian needs to live in victory. The question could then become: “If Peter is right about being partakers of the divine nature, why then am I failing?” 1 John 5:4 tells us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”. This tells us that the Christian’s struggle is to be the “good fight of faith”. But faith how or in what? Colossians 2:6 tells us, “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”. The word “walk” means to regulate, conduct, and order ones manner. When Christians got saved, they did so by hearing the Gospel presented. They accepted the fact that they couldn’t save themselves, thus accepting Jesus Christ, he having done what they couldn’t do. So this verse tells us that Christians must order their lives for the Lord with this mindset. Meaning Christians must constantly look to the Lord, believing that He has done everything necessary for their salvation, blessings, and freedom from sin. We would ask, what has the Lord done?