apostle Paul wrote: "Count yourselves
dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin
reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (Romans
6:11-12) How easy it sounds … and how earnestly we'd like to defeat sin
in our lives.
We all know the frustration and shame of lingering sin …
untamed tongues, brooding hearts, selfish acts; a collection of habits,
hurts, and hang-ups that lurk constantly in the shadows. Dead to sin?
Many of us feel, at best, that we have tethered the wild beasts for
just a moment.
Over thirty years ago, Jerry Bridges wrote a profound
little book titled The Pursuit of Holiness. In it, he declared:
Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we
sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to
say no to temptation. It might be well if we stopped using the terms
‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we
should use the terms ‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience.’” (p. 84)
a little hard to swallow!
in the same book, Bridges observed that the first problem in our
struggle with sin “is that our attitude toward sin is more
self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our
own ‘victory’ over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve
the heart of God.” (p.20)
we must agree.
gives us satisfaction to know that we’ve held out for so long against
addictions, anger, gossip, or sexual impurity. We feel
strong, competent, and victorious. And as long as others around us
cheer us on we may be able to stay on the wagon. But in the quietest
hours of our lives and in the deepest recesses of our hearts, sin
continues to stir—perhaps even a new beast to replace a former one.
not let sin reign in your mortal body.” But it only happens as we count
ourselves dead to sin and alive to God because of Christ Jesus. Perhaps
the shift of significance for many of us involves changing the paradigm
from 'victory or defeat', to 'obedience or disobedience.'
do not have the capacity in our own strength to withstand the power and
reign of sin. But hearts set on Christ become hearts raised by Christ
and changed by Christ—the old is passed away; behold, new things have