Originally posted October 7th, 2011
Updated December 1, 2019
We are in a constant battle for our hearts, our lives, our destiny. Many Christians believe it is a battle choosing between what is right and wrong. I believe it goes beyond choosing between right and wrong. I believe the real battle is in the aftermath of doing either right or wrong and we have everything we need to win the battle.
It is clear in Scripture and in history that we are all sinners. It all started in the Garden of Eden and will continue until Satan is defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire that burns forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”
Not one of us will go through life without sin, without hurting someone else, without royally screwing up at one time or another. That is not the question, whether or not we will sin. If it is was, we’ve already lost the battle; we’ve already been defeated.
We win the battle by how we will respond to our holiness (not righteousness) or our sinfulness.
I, for one, have led a sinful life; I often feel like Paul, “the chief of sinners”. My battle was lost the day I was born. I was born from sinful parents, raised by sinful parents, inherited sinfulness in my spirit and was quite adept at fulfilling the sinful nature.
I’ve lived with guilt my whole life, feeling ashamed and hidden from God and man. I’ve hated myself, hated others and blamed others for my circumstances. I’ve never blamed God, but have not always taken full responsibility for my sin either… it is too hard to take full responsibility, too painful.
“He that committeth sin is of the devil… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested [made visible, made known by his teachings], that he might destroy [to loose one bound, release from bonds, set free] the works of the devil.”
1 John 3:8
We are all born into sin and we will continue to sin until the day we die. Try not sinning for even a day. Your thoughts will defeat you, at the very least. So what does this really mean? I believe it means that after we’ve accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins, God does not see us as sinners any more — not our past, present or future. He sees us as His seed — righteous, pure and sinless. Not because of our ability to not sin, but because of Jesus’ ability to pay the price for our sin. The Holy Spirit is “the seed” of God… the pure, holy, unadulterated seed.
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness [the way in which man may attain a state approved of God] is not of God, neither he that loveth [to approve of, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend] not his brother.”
1 John 3:10
So if you sum it all up in a nutshell… we are all doomed if we believe that in order to be “righteous” before God, we will need to stop sinning. It is not possible, at least not until we have been made like Him as is promised:
“Beloved, now are we sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2
If we are doomed to sin for our entire earthly life and sin leads to death, what exactly did Jesus come to do? How do we appropriate it? And what does it mean to live a “righteous” life before God? How do we win the battle?
Back to the beginning…
The real battle for our souls (not our spirits, because they are already safe in the hands of God), the real personal fight we all have, the reality of living a righteous life, is always in the aftermath of our holiness or sinfulness.
This is the good news of the Gospel! This is the message that sets us free! This is the glorious message of Jesus! We are set free from the eternal consequences of sin and we have the victory in life, not because we will not sin, but because when we do, first of all;
- Jesus paid the price for our sins by His death and resurrection
- God the Father does not look at us as sinners but as “the righteousness of Christ” because Jesus paid the price for our sin
- we have the victory in life because we can continue to grow and have the advantage in all of life because we are forgiven and set free.
So what does this truly mean? How do we respond to this beautiful truth? How do we live a victorious life when we sin continually?
We know that we are going to sin. We know that the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy us. We know that Jesus came to “save that which was lost”. (Matthew 18:11) We don’t need to talk about our sin. It’s a given. It’s happened, is happening, and is going to happen. We know about Jesus’ payment for our sin and God’s acceptance of us regardless of our sin.
What we need to look at is how the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. The obvious method of the enemy’s tactics is, first of all, to tempt us to sin, which we will do, and he knows we will.
But the most powerful component of his tactics is deployed after we’ve sinned! He tries to keep us in bondage to that sin by accusing us before God, to others, and to ourselves. This is why loving our brother is part of the package. (1 John 3:10)
Let’s look at the enemy’s attempts at accusing us.
First of all, he is the “accuser of our brethren”:
“Now is come salvation, and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night”.
Satan spends a lot of his time after he’s seduced us into sin, accusing us to our Father. He wants God to condemn us, to withdraw His love and acceptance of us. But you can see from this verse that God will ultimately cast him down, but God does not and will not listen to Satan’s accusations.
Second, the enemy tries to get us to accuse each other.
“Judge [separate, approve, pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong, on the deeds or words of others] not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn [pronounced guilty] not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive [set free], and ye shall be forgiven.”
This is pretty harsh language from our Father. I have no right to give an opinion regarding someone else’s behavior or words. I have no right to call someone guilty of sin. It is my job to set them free by LOVING them! In this, I am not judged, condemned or unforgiven. After all, how can I judge, condemn or not forgive my brothers and sisters? I am in the same predicament.
Third, and most debilitating, is the enemy’s tactic of having us accuse ourselves. This is where he defeats us. This is where he destroys us. He may steal from us, try to kill our dreams, marriages, families, etc., but his ultimate purpose is to destroy us — to render us useless to God and man after we’ve sinned. He does this in these ways:
- by telling us we are unloved because we’ve sinned by making us feel guilty even after we’ve accepted God’s forgiveness for our sins;
- by making us feel ashamed in front of God and man, by making us depressed because of our failings, by reminding us continually of our weakness and all we’ve lost, by trying to stop us from forgiving ourselves;
- by telling us that God’s blessing is no longer ours because we sin and therefore not to expect anything good out of life;
- by trying to make us live in fear, instead of in faith in God’s forgiveness and mercy;
- by telling us we are not worthy of anything good anymore because we already screwed up the last good thing we had;
- by trying to keep us in confusion, doubt, and fear rather than love, power, and a sound mind;
- by keeping us in regret.
The list goes on and on….
The enemy knows that if we live in the mindset in the above list, he’s won. He’s destroyed us, made us of no use (or at least of less use) to God or man. He robs us of our dreams, families, peace of mind, power, and creativity.
He knows if he can keep us in a constant state of accusing ourselves, we won’t let go, grow or love again, mainly because we fear we will fail again or we are not worthy of anything good. He wants to destroy our souls by keeping us from knowing the truth about God’s unconditional love. This is his chief aim, to keep us ignorant, fearful, guilty… not to mention, to keep us from God altogether. He wants to have dominion over our spirit and soul, as if they belonged to him and not God… Satan’s plan from the beginning has been to be as God yet to be set aside from God and rule over the universe instead of God. (Isaiah 14:13-14)
But this is why Jesus came! To save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) because we belonged to Him even before sin entered the world. (Ephesians 1:4; Heb. 2:11) Jesus knew that we would sin our whole life. He did not come to destroy sin but to take it away (in the sense of making us guiltless, of removing its power over us) by reconciling us to God. (John 1:29; Heb. 2:17) The longstanding, monumental conflict between Jesus and His adversary (Satan) — The Battle for Our Lives — has only one resolution in the mind of Jesus: total victory by faith, our resurrection, and the restitution of all things.
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. John 6:39
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
In other words, Jesus came to destroy Satan and the power of death he has over us after we sin. This is the good news of the Gospel! He came to set us free from the personal accusations we have of ourselves after we sin. He came to set us free from Satan’s accusations of us because we are sinners. He does this not because we deserve it or have earned it, but because we’ve called on the name of the Lord and He saves us. He does this by grace because we are His and have always been His, not Satan’s. He saves us from ourselves (our bondage, our fear) and from the power of death by Satan… if we let him.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
We let Jesus free us by believing and accepting the price that He already paid for us: His death and resurrection. We choose to walk in the knowledge that we are free from condemnation, guilt, regret, failure, defeat and uselessness. We choose to say what God says about us:
- “We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:9; 2 Cor.5:21),
- “We are a new creation” (2 Cor.5:17),
- “We are kings and priests” (Rev.1:10; 5:6)
- “We are His children and therefore heirs of the Kingdom” (Rom.8:17).
- Once we believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths (Rom.10:9), we will be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom.12:2). Praise God!!
This, my friends, is how we win the battle.