We all want to hear Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Jesus will say “well done” to those who have done well! Don’t mistake this to mean you must earn good standing with God through works. No amount of effort can undo your sins. Your only hope of salvation is by “grace through faith” in Christ’s work. Ephesians 2:8-9 says so plainly, and then in verse 10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).
Faith that saves has come to life in works! Works of faith always follow saving faith. If your faith doesn’t propel you into a sincere war against sin, it’s not saving faith (James 2:14, 17). The previous post noted that concern is the first of ten essential steps for overcoming sin. Let’s consider seven more.
Commands are essential to overcoming sin. We each must diligently study Scripture to learn God’s commandments for us, and prayerfully strive to obey them from the heart. The simplest definition of sin is disobedience to God’s commands. Conviction is the third condition. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost notably brought the hearers to ask, “What shall we do?” (Acts 3:37). We each need to hear the words Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2Samuel 12:7). Until you are convicted of your own sinfulness, you’ll never be motivated to fight against it seriously.
The fourth condition is Contrition. When the word of God reveals your guilt, how will you respond? Will you proudly reject what the Bible says, or will you humble yourself and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 8:13). Fifth is conversion. There is the thought of sin, the act of sin, and the state of sin. When a young person reaches accountability and chooses to do wrong, he or she becomes a sinner, and enters the state of being “in sin” (John 8:24; Romans 6:1). The Bible calls all who continue in this state and frame of mind “the world.” To be saved from the power of sin, the sinner concerned with God’s commands, convicted of his failures, and contrite about it must be converted, that is changed in mind and transferred out of the power of sin into the power of God. It’s called salvation, justification, and the new birth (John 3:3-8).
Once converted, there is still the possibility a Christian may not take the fight against sin seriously. God help us all realize how serious it is! Commitment is essential! We must be committed to winning! The writer of Hebrews teaches us to struggle against sin even if it takes our lives! “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:3-4, ESV).
Seventh is Continuance. The Christian struggle against sin is for the long haul. We must fight against it until we are set free from it on our dying day or the day the Lord returns whichever comes first. Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Brothers and sisters, let’s redouble our efforts to overcome sin in all its forms and keep on keeping on!
You’ve probably noticed I’ve used alliteration to make these easier to remember, and I hope they will be memorable. A final disclaimer: While the ten “Conditions” for overcoming sin are both Biblical and important, overcoming sin in your life is more than just going through a checklist of steps. The ultimate key to overcoming sin is to walk with the Lord daily in genuine faith. It’s our God who gives us the victory over sin, and we do not have the power in ourselves alone. Now on to the last three.
Communion with the Lord means more than taking communion on Sundays. It means association, fellowship, sharing thoughts and emotions, and intimate communication. Communion with God and brethren is essential to winning against sin—which leads to the next “C,” Companions.
Companionships can corrupt good morals, or the right kind of companions can help you stick to them! Choose your friends wisely! Paul tells Christians in 1Corinthians 15:33 not to be deceived for a reason. Some have foolishly thought themselves above being influenced only to find themselves drifting into sin.
Finally, Confession is essential to winning the fight against sin. Pretending to be better than you are is hypocrisy, and trying to beat sin all by yourself—in the shadows—is playing right into Satan’s hands. Find a brother or sister in Christ you can trust and share your struggles (James 5:16). Bringing it into the light will rob Satan of the powers of fear, guilt, and shame, and enable you to fight the fight in the daylight rather than the dark—it’s so much easier in the light!