Thursday, November 15, 2007

Overcoming Sin: Dt 7:12-26

"If you should say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?'" (Deuteronomy 7:17)
Sometimes, when faced with my sins, the task of overcoming them seems too daunting to even attempt. My sins seem too large and my will power and moral strength too small. I want to overcome my sin, but I'm not sure if I can. I easily identify with want Jesus said, "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak ." (Mark 14:38) Fortunately, God has not left us to ourselves in our fight against sin. Not only has God given us the power of His Holy Spirit, but He has also given us a plan to overcome sin. Here, in part, is God's plan for us.
"you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid." (Deuteronomy 7:18-19)
When facing sin, we must first learn not to be afraid of sin or its hold on our life. We must remember that we have been saved, that we are no longer orphans, and that we are now children of God. We must remember what Paul said, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) God did not save us to leave us to our own devices. Salvation was merely a first step; our reconciliation with God. Now that we have been saved, God has freely given is all things "pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3) and is now at work in our lives giving us the motivation and strength to overcome sin. Paul reminds us, "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37) The truth is that we are overcomers, we are able to overcome sin, and we have all we need to be victorious, not in our selves but because of the one who now lives is us. "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
"Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish. You shall not dread them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God." (Deuteronomy 7:20-21)
At times, I find myself willing to live "at peace" with my sin. As long as I can hide it and as long as it stays in the shadows and doesn't bother me too much, I am willing to let "sleeping sins" lie. However, God is not content with my hidden sin. Even when I am not committed to the eradication of my sins, God is, and it is for this very purpose that He as called me and made me His son. "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." (2 Thessalonian 2:13) God is committed to our sanctification, even more so than we are. One of God's strategies in our sanctification is to employ His "hornets". God has a way of bring our hidden sins to the surface, of flushing them out of their hiding places so we can deal with them and be free of them. I had a friend who, every time we went out to eat, his order was always messed up, and every time he got very upset. After a while I suggested to him that maybe it wasn't the waiters and waitresses, but maybe it was the Lord. Maybe it was the Lord sending His hornets to get at an area of his life. God is faithful to bring our sins to the surface and, when He sends in His hornets, we must be faithful to deal with what He brings to the surface.
"The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the Lord your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed." (Deuteronomy 7:22-23)
Our perfection and our sanctification does not happen overnight, nor is it imparted to us immediately and completely upon our being born again, rather it is a process that starts with our salvation and continues until we finally stand before the Lord; completed in His presence. Paul reminds us that, "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) If God were to show us the sum total of our sin, we would be overwhelmed. This is why Jesus told His disciples, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." (John 16:12) God does not expect us to become perfect all at once but rather little-by-little, one sin at a time. This is the great difference between the enemy's condemnation and God's conviction. The enemy wants to show us all our faults and convince us that we are hopeless causes, while Jesus shows us a specific sin, asks us to repent, and then gives us the power to overcome the sin. As we deal with each sin in its turn, we enter into a process of sanctification that takes us "from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18) and from righteousness to righteousness.
"He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned." (Deuteronomy 7:24-8:1)
Sin must be dealt with. It is not enough to learn to "cope" or "coexist" with our sin, we must defeat it and overcome it. The world does not understand such a radical commitment against sin. Peter, speaking of those who knew us before we gave our hearts to Jesus, says "In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you." (1 Peter 4:4) But even if the world should malign us, the price of sin is too great, and its ruin and destruction can last a life time, and even an eternity. Jesus spoke of how we should be radically committed to purging sin in our lives. "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell." (Matthew 18:8-9) We were made for glory, we were made for the presence of God, but sin separates us from our eternal purpose in God. As we commit our selves to God's process of sanctification, we open ourselves up to our true calling and purpose in God and, as Paul reminds us, "we derive our benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life." (Romans 6:22)

David Robison

1 comment:

  1. This post was included in my Spiritual Sunday links. See

    Thank you for the encouragement. Please consider joining the Sunday meme.