Tag Archives: evil desires

DEAD OR ALIVE?

DEAD OR ALIVE?

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14.

“But,” you ask, “why am I not sinlessly perfect now if I died and rose again with Jesus? Why do I still struggle with the temptations of my old nature?”

Firstly, God would have to take you out of this present evil world in order to set you free from all the allurements to sin, and He will. Although He did not have a natural bent towards sin, Jesus Himself was not immune to temptation.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15.

Secondly, God has left us in the world, and He has not obliterated our old nature because He is training us to be His sons and daughters. Without the temptation to do wrong, we would not have opportunity to exercise our will and learn submission and obedience to Him in the environment of sin and disobedience. The very hardships we endure and the temptations that come with the tests, are God’s way of strengthening and purifying our faith in Him.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7a; 11.

Thirdly, by learning to make the right choices in the face of temptation, we strengthen our love and loyalty to the One who saved us and called us into fellowship with Himself. We are witnesses to the enemies of God, both human and demonic, that God is worthy of our love and trust. He reveals who He really is through us.

People are suspicious of God because the devil has lied to them. They cannot abide His holiness and they think He is out to get them. They create their own gods to replace Him because their gods are manageable and more like themselves. They think they are not obligated to live up to His standards and to be accountable to Him if they have their own god. But in the end, they will stand before Him to give an account of the way they lived.

How then, do we overcome the old nature that still rages within us? Paul said, “It’s dead. Now act as though it were dead.” In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said that we must go to our own white funeral. In other words, we must see our old nature in a casket, being buried in the grave with Jesus. We must visualise ourselves rising with Him and leaving the old sinful nature behind in the tomb.

On the strength of that, we are to make our mortal bodies a present to God, using every part of it for His purposes, not our own. We are constantly being pulled in two directions, towards gratifying ourselves or pleasing God by meeting the needs of others. Paul said, “…Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1b. How do we do that?

Again, Paul tells us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2a.

Change the way you think by thinking what God thinks. Just as sin begins in the mind, so obedience to God begins in the mind. Instead of dwelling on your own wants and wishes, fill your mind with what God says and desires, and the slow transformation into the way Jesus thought and acted will begin to happen. This means taking time to read God’s word and taking the trouble to find out what His thoughts about you are and how He wants you to live.

Yes, it does demand time and discipline, but the rewards are out of this world!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

7 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

7 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

God’s grace provides everything we need to “escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires and participate in the divine nature. ” 2 Peter 1:4

Now we begin to explore the facets of grace that we can apply in every circumstance of our daily lives so that we can escape the corruption that is in the world. Forgiveness must surely top our list because we still have an enemy within that will inevitably clash with the people around us.

Protecting and looking after self is at the heart of our old nature. The more self-aware and the less God-aware we are, the more we react in an ungodly way to the things people say and do that offend us.

A “touchy” or “sensitive” person is one who is insecure… in relation to God and to who he/she is. We become defensive and make excuses for our ungodly reactions instead of owning and taking responsibility for what we say and do.

How do we engage the power of forgiveness to live free from grudges and bitterness so that we do not miss the grace of God?

Once again, it’s about being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

  1. The foundation of forgiveness is the awareness of God’s mercy towards us in forgiving our unpayable debt. Any debt of sin another owes us is miniscule compared with the debt we owed God by the lives we lived because of our unbelief.

“All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.” 1 John 5:10 NLT

We can forgive because we have been forgiven.

  1. God, in Christ, has already forgiven the sin of the whole world.

“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:2 NLT

When we refuse to forgive, we hold our offender accountable for the debt that has already been paid. It is illegal to demand payment for a debt twice.

  1. Forgiveness is not about how we feel but a choice we make and what we do. When we forgive the sin of another against us, we choose to cancel the debt and set our debtor free.
  1. Forgiveness does not excuse sin; it shows mercy on the basis of what Jesus did for us.
  1. In the end, forgiveness is about showing our debtor compassion when we recognise the truth of what Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

Who knows the ramifications of sin of one person against another? How would we feel if we were to see how far our sin has gone in damaging the lives of others?

  1. The wonder of forgiveness, then, is not that we must forgive but that we may forgive because God has forgiven us.
  1. Failing to forgive enslaves us as much as it does our debtor and interrupts our fellowship with the Father because it disrupts our unity with Him.

The world demands revenge, and revenge only multiplies the offences. The kingdom says, “Forgive! ” and forgiveness stops the process of sin’s downward slide.

One more thing to consider. The more we live in forgiveness, the more our minds will automatically release others from their debt when they fail until it becomes a settled way of thinking and living. This is what it means to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Can you see how powerful forgiveness is in living out the kingdom’s way of love in the darkness of this world’s ungodly way?

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.