How can you overcome sin?
This is an alarming title for a little tract, for no one has been able to overcome sin. How then can we insist that victory over sin is possible?
We have all sinned, but Christ has justified his followers and cleansed them through his blood. Everyone who believes in him has been forgiven and is free from slavery to sin. Faith makes you one of God's children, newly born by his spirit and adopted into his family. Therefore as his children we can live lives, by his power, that are pure, holy and worthy of the Gospel of our Lord.
Let us give you some guide-lines for conduct along the straight and narrow way. Following them will keep us from losing our crown of salvation by keeping us close to God.
1. Live in continuous spiritual fellowship with Christ, the Living Word, who indwells those who believe.
He said: "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me" (John 15:4). Paul prayed for the Ephesians that "the Lord may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith... " He also prayed that they would be "rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:16,17), as branches of Christ, the vine. Because of his close fellowship with Christ Paul could say, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
2. Study the Bible.
The Lord Jesus said, "It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Psalm 19:8-12 says, "The law of God is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them is your servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward."
3. Pray constantly.
When Satan began to sift the disciples like wheat, Jesus told them to pray so that they would not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41). For when we are led into lust and when lust ripens, it produces sin. Therefore we should pray earnestly to God asking Him not to lead us into temptation, but to deliver us from evil.
4. Repent of your sins.
St. Basil wrote, "It is good not to sin, and if you sin, it is good not to delay repentance. If you do repent, it is good not to relapse into sin. But if you should not thus relapse, it is good to realize that this has been accomplished by God's help. If you realize this, it is good to thank God for His grace. Ask Him constantly for His help."
5. Recognize that the old self has been crucified, and live like it.
Paul wrote, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
6. Take refuge in Christ's love.
Our sins have made us imperfect, but Christ's death and love for us wipes away our sins and makes up for our shortcomings and weaknesses.
7. Have fellowship with other believers.
This is one of the best means of growth and advancement in the Christian life. "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24,25).
If you want to have victory over sin and learn more about the principles of this vital subject, write to us, and please print your address clearly. We will send you a booklet related to this subject.
P.O. BOX 567 • Imperial, PA 15126 • USA