A reader has asked:
What are your thoughts on if a believer doesn’t ever overcome a sin? Or even desire to overcome it?
If the Spirit of Christ lives in us, it is impossible we should not desire to stop destructive habits.
Check out this verse from Romans:
You are not led by the sinful nature if the Spirit of Christ lives in you.
– Romans 8:9
However, the good news is the burden is not on us to overcome sin.
The gospel – the good news – is that Christ has overcome sin for us.
But now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
– Hebrews 9:26
Paul agrees, saying we ‘died with Christ’ and that:
Anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
– Romans 6:7
Christ set us free. It has nothing to do with us, what we do or don’t do.
Christ did it. We are completely, utterly, free. God does not count our sins against us anymore.
God reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
– 2 Cor 5:19
Before God we stand perfect, holy and righteous before God, because of Christ. We didn’t earn this ourselves by our own actions. God gave us our salvation as a gift.
And this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.
– Eph 2:8
Our right standing before God doesn’t depend on what we do or don’t do. If it did, we would have a part to play in our own righteousness, holiness and redemption.
But we don’t. As the great theologian John Stott says in his master piece The Cross of Christ:
We regret the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.
God knew we could not attain perfection through obeying the law, so He attained perfection for us and gave us His righteousness as a free gift.
If we are in Christ, we are free.
Utterly, completely, astonishingly free.
This is the good news. This is the gospel!
Paul shouted it from the rooftops:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!
– Galatians 5:1
Even Jesus tells us
If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
– John 8:36
Yet people choose to not believe Paul, and not believe Jesus!
It’s as if people want to go back to the law.
It’s as if the gift is too great.
As if we can’t accept salvation as a free gift.
We want to do it ourselves.
This is pride.
This is why Jesus says anyone who has sinned much, loves much. For when we know that Christ has crucified our sin, past present and future, on the cross, all we can do is leap for joy and cry an ocean of tears, overflowing with thankfulness.
We will never be punished for our sin ever again.
Christ suffered once for all.
It is, when you think about it, breathtaking.
It is actually too good to be true.
This is why so many people have a hard time accepting it.
It’s too good to be true.
But this is the gospel.
As we know, gospel means ‘good news’.
Yet this message – that God has reconciled us to Himself and doesn’t count our sins against us – shouldn’t be called ‘good news’.
That is the greatest understatement of all time!
The gospel of grace isn’t just good news – it’s too good to be true news!
There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.
– Romans 8:2
If we are in Christ we are free from the law of sin.
We are under grace.
So, to sum up, in answer to the questions, our salvation, righteousness and holiness doesn’t depend on our desire to overcome sin, or our ability to overcome sin – it depends on Christ’s ability to crucify our sin on the cross – and as we know – He did it.
Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
It is finished.
What do you think? Are you struggling to overcome sin? Or have you been set free from sin, once for all?