Two scenarios to help us understand where I am coming from.
- A marriage is on the verge of divorce. They pray constantly day and night for God to help their marriage. Years pass by and there seems to be no help from God what so ever! Whats wrong? Why is God not helping? They know His will for them is to have a good marriage and not to divorce. But no matter what, the marriage is heading for divorce.
- A person is caught up in the sins of pornography and drunkenness. Every night he is on the porn site and every Friday and Saturday night, he is at the bar getting drunk. On Sundays, he is at church, never seems to miss a week. After every service, he comes forward and prays and crys to God to forgive him for all he has done in the past week. Even though he has tears of sorrow. His life never changes. Week after week this routine of drinking, porn and then a trip to the altar seems to be an endless cycle.
Why does the bible say we been freed from the slavery of sin? (Romans 8:2) But so many good Christians are stuck in sin? They seem to be sincere but they have no victory when it comes to the devil and the sins of the flesh. Why do we see the divorce rate, the debt rate of Christians no better than those of the world? Why do they come week after week to church and ask God over and over to forgive our sins but we continually repeat our mistakes. Where is God in this? Why does´t he seem to help us? Whats wrong with this picture?
This post is in no way a in-depth study of sin and addictions. It is designed to be a simple tool to help us get a different look at what we been taught and change are mind-set to gain victory in our Christian walk.
A change of thought! Most Christian I know follow this routine when they sin:
- First we commit a sin.
- Second we feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and, or the feeling of condemnation from the devil. It depends on who we are more sensitive to.
- Third, a trip down to the altar after church service or a trip to the prayer closet to confess and beg God for forgiveness and tell Him we will never ever do it again.
- We continue to repeat that sin and wonder why we seem to have no spiritual victories in our lives.
Does this sound somewhat familiar?
I think the biggest problem facing sin for the New Testament saint is this. We can not rightly divide the Word of God. I believe many people do not know the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. I believe most read the bible as one big book, not knowing that there is different covenants in the Bible. The Old Covenant (the law and traditions and holy day) was for the people of Israel, the Jews. and the New Covenant is written to all people who commit their life to Jesus Christ and receive the forgiveness of sin and the new birth. I am not saying we do not use the whole bible but we should know how to use it first. I have sat under so many preachers who preach Old Testament law and teach holy days to New Testament believers putting them back in bondage. (Read the book of Galatians and Acts 15, to get a better understanding, why we should not do this) So many Christian not knowing we are under a new covenant and new promises.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. (Heb 8:6-7 read the whole chapter of Hebrews 8 for a better understanding)
Did you know in the Old Testament confessing ones sins is mention over 20 times in the Old Testament. (e-sword search)
In the New Testament, confessing of ones sin is only mentioned 3 times. Once in Matthew 3:6 when John was baptizing in the Jordan and if you do not know this, John is an Old Testament prophet. The second one, I want to really focus on is the Christian hobby-horse;
1 John, 1;9; If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you read 1 John 1:9 in context you will quickly see, John is showing us the difference between a true believer and a false or unsaved one. The whole chapter is loaded with “if ” you….etc showing the difference between of who is truly born-again and who is not. But most of the time this verse is separated and preached alone without it being preached in its proper context, 1 John 1. I believe this is more a salvation verse then a christian maintenance verse when we sin.
My point is this! When we sin, we have a habit of going to God and ask him to do something for us; for Him to remove this sin. We continually ask God to do for us what He has already done! Do you remember when you got saved? You were told Jesus at the cross forgave all our sins! (past, present and future) This is a true statement and if you believe it is true. Why do we asked God to forgive us at the altar? Did Jesus forgive all your sins?
In 1 Corinthians 15:17-18; And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
Do you see that? If Christ has not been raised, we would still be in our sins.That means if we are still in our sins, we would perish like those who gone before us. We shall not perish because Jesus paid it all! Every one of our sins have been paid. We have been set free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:2; But the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.)
You might be asking by now. What is your point? I know all this but I got no victory in my life!
Now let look at another two words: Repent and Repentance.
Repent: 21 times in the Old Testament (many of those references refers to God). 24 times in the New Testament (all referring to people to repent)
Repentance: 1 time in the Old Testament. 25 times in the New Testament. (all referring to people).
Here is a few of those verses;
Luke 5:32; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 4:17; From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Acts 17:30; And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
I believe as New Testament believers we are filled with the Spirit of God. We now can take responsibility for our lives. We now have the ability to make decisions who we want to live for. We can live for God or for ourselves. We can live in the flesh or we can live in the spirit.
Romans 6:11-16; Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
My point is this. We New Testament saints can make choices. We can decide if we want to be slaves to sin or unto righteousness.
Let bring this point home. My earlier example of the person who is addicted to porn. One day I asked God about this situation. God showed me this truth. This person would sin all week and feel guilty and remorse for his sins. On Sunday, he would make his way to church and go to the altar call and confess and cry over his sins. But no change ever came into his life.
God showed me, he was truly sorry for his sins . He thought by confessing his sins and lamenting over his sins would make God put an end to his problem. You see, he not only wanted God to die for his sins. He also wanted God to step in and just make his sins go away. It does not happen that way!
We have the responsibly to repent. My friend needed to do more than make altar calls and confess and plead with God. He needed to repent and turn away from the sins he was committing. He needed to decide to do what ever it takes to clean his life up. He could have gotten rid of his computer and his tapes.
Mark 9:43; And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. (I do not believe God is saying cutting off your hand but using the principle to get rid of whatever is causing you to stumble even if it mean taking extreme measures.)
There are so many options he could have gotten. There is pastoral counselling. There are rehabilitation centers and help groups to help you in your recovery. But all he wanted was God to step in and clean up his mess. God will not do that.
Most modern deliverance ministries operate on this basis, people just come down to the altar and someone lays hands on you and all your sins and messes just go away instantly. I found out in my own life when God delivered me from alcoholism, He did take it away and delivery me from the demons, but I did have to take responsibility to change my lifestyle and renew my mind to the word of God and get some counselling and 12 step groups help. (see Luke 11:24-26)
Romans 12:2; And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
We have the responsibility for our lives. If we know what we are doing is destructive and moving us away from God. We need to stop it, repent (turn around and move away from it). I believe Gods power is in our repentance. I believe the moment we are sincere and make the first move, we will have all of Gods wisdom and power at our disposal.
Remember the story of the parable of the lost son. (Luke 15:15-32) I want to point out a few spiritual pointers.
- When the son decided to leave his father’s home with his inheritance, the father did not stop him. ( his decision to live his life apart from God)
- The son enjoyed his sins until he had to pay the price for it. (Hebrews 11:25; sin is pleasurable for a season)
- The son had to decide it was better at home and he had to decide to move back. (repent)
- The father always longed for his son and welcomed him back when he repented.
(God is waiting for you to make your move. He will always welcome you (unbelievers) or welcome you back (back-sliders) with open arms)
The last scenario I want to point out is the marriage and family scenario. I think we all struggle in this area. The reason is that we are our true selves with our family. We put on no Christian fronts, we are not two faced when it comes to our families. The last statics I heard, was that over 50% of all Christian marriages end in divorce.
Matthew 5:24: leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Once again when we are having family troubles or marital problems. We head for the prayer closet and beg God to save our marriage. we beg, help me Lord with these kids. Change this husband or wife of mine! Does this sound familiar?
In this verse, as it does in the whole New Testament,it puts the responsibility back on our laps. While we are always trying to get God to do what he has already done for us. He told us to take the responsibility for ourselves. God instruct us to leave the altar and go and find reconciliation with our families or all people in general. We have that tendency to run to the altar, offer sacrifices and tears to implores Gods help.
Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition, it requires a 100% on your part and 100% on the others part. But if the other person does not want to give a 1oo%, it does not let you off the hook. You must still give your 100%. We can not do the blaming game. Telling ourselves if only my partner would lest give back, I would do my part. No, that not how it works.
Husbands if you find you are not loving to your wife. Your callous to your family. Repent and show love to them. The bible reminds us that we are to be to our wives as Christ is to the church.
Romans 5:8: But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
You once again, We see God did not wait for us to get our act together. To start behaving like he wanted us to. He acted first, He loved us and then died for us while we were still His enemies. This is our example, especially in families. Do not wait until your husband or wife gets in line with your thinking for you to love them. Just love them in spite of who they are. ( This is for some what normal working families! If you’re in a abusive or violent marriage and there is danger to you or your children. Seek help immediately for your safety.)
Stop begging God to fix your marriage. Find out in scriptures what you can do and what can you do to make your marriage better. Repent, stop the “blame game” and the “if he does what I want him to do game”.
The Bible is loaded with how to make your marriage better even if your married to an unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 7 )
If your not sure how you can make your marriage and family better, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what YOU can do in yourself to become a better spouse or parent.
A good movie to watch is “Fireproof” starring Kirk Cameron. This is not only for men who struggle with porn. The biblical principle shown in this movie applies to both men and women, on how to take scriptural principles and apply it to your marriage.
One last advice you might not want to hear! Most people in the church and out of the church hate this word; “WORK”! I find so many people, who want to go to the altar and have God do something for them instead of taking the time to open their bibles and find what the word says about them and their problems. We look for quick fixes,we have a microwave mentalities.
Also we struggle in these modern-days with “victims mentality”. It is everyone’s fault for my problems or the way that I am. If my husband only….., If my children would only…. , if my wife would stop nagging and take responsibility…, It is my color, my lack of money, it where we live, etc etc.
It time for us to grow up, start looking at ourselves and then take responsibility for our families and children. The question is simple. Do we want to live a life that is worth something. Do we want our Christian life to make a difference or do we want to play church games? Do I want my marriage to be a wonderful thing or do you want to live on a battlefield? Do you want your children to grow up and continue on with God or do we want to lose them to this world and all it has to offer? Do we want them to carry on what we started, to carry on our family curses of abuse, alcoholism and divorce? Or do you want them to have wonderful whole marriages that serves God and begin a new family legacy? Do you want a powerful walk with Jesus Christ? That changes lives of the people around you? Your families, your neighbors and those who work with you?
You have the choice to stay saved and stuck or become the man or women God has called you to be!
Start today and take responsibility for your walk with Christ!