We can not overcome sin ourselves. Paul’s vivid emotional display of his battle with sin in Romans 7 should encourage us – even Paul, the great apostle, was battling with sin 15 years after his conversion. But did he say ‘I am damned to hell’ or ‘I’m not a child of God’ or ‘I’m not fit to preach the gospel of grace’ ? No! Neither did he look to his own ability to overcome sin. What was his reaction to his inner battle? “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” he didn’t look to his own self efforts – he looked to Christ!
In Romans 8 Paul says ‘by the Spirit we put to death the sinful nature.’ The Spirit puts the sinful nature to death. Remember Paul also says ‘You, however, are not led by the sinful nature if the Spirit of God lives in you.’ If we are in Christ, we are led by The Spirit.
In 2 COR 3:18 Paul says: ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’
The Spirit changes us as we gaze on Him and reflect His glory. We can not make ourselves more holy or righteous. It is absolutely imputed. Check Isaiah out:
“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God, for He has draped me in a robe of HIS righteousness!” (61:10)
Isaiah couldn’t believe it. God had clothed Him in His righteousness, His glory, His beauty and majesty. A beauty and majesty only God can give. I’ve written an article on this here.
Christians will never be condemned to hell. Our place in heaven does not depend on what we do at all. It only depends on what Christ did for us. If it depended on our own self-efforts we would all be damned. John Stott says this: ‘Man can not accept he has nothing to contribute to his own salvation, so he stumbles at the stumbling block of the cross.’ (The Cross of Christ). Joseph Prince says ‘In heaven one day it will be ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ not ‘Worthy is the Lamb – and me!’ We have nothing to add to the righteousness given to us as a free gift.
I hope you can rest in your righteousness, and like Isaiah, and the rest of us who have had a GRACE revelation, become overwhelmed with joy, for your salvation does not depend on your own self efforts to overcome sin, but depends on the blood of Christ who was sacrificed as an offering for sin once for all.
Praise the Lord.