Combating Sin

2014-03-18 temptationBasics for Combating Sin

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.  James 1:14 & 15 NASB

James provides us with the mechanism of how we sin.  Sin begins with temptation.  We are tempted in our thinking.  The initial temptation is not sin.  When we become enticed and lust for the temptation, it becomes sin.  Sin results in temporary spiritual death.  We do not die spiritually, never to recover.  When we sin, we turn off the spirit in our walk as if we are spiritually dead.

Our first line of defense is to resist the temptation.  Do not be enticed; do not even consider the temptation.  James provides us a valuable promise that will deliver us from the temptation.

 Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7b NASB

Here the devil is Satan’s entire world system.  The temptation may arise from our flesh, the world and/or the unseen (fallen angels).  God never tempts us.  All temptation comes from something in Satan’s world system.

If we resist the temptation, relying on God’s promise at James 4:7b, the temptation is removed.  If we fail and enter into sin, we can recover through confession and repentance (see Sanctification for more information).

 We Never Lose Our Identity in Christ

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Romans 6:1 to 7 NASB

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.  Romans 7:17 to 20 NASB

Even when we sin, our identification continues to be with Christ’s death and resurrection.  We continue to be dead to sin and alive to the spirit.  However, our flesh (the old man or old self or sin nature) has taken over control of our thoughts, actions and deeds.  It is not spiritual me in control, but the sin which dwells in my flesh.

While we may lose a battle from time to time with sin, we never lose our identification of being dead to sin in Christ.

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