by Paul Benson
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. Isaiah 57:20-21
As followers of Jesus we need to know we can find victory over sin! Many preachers and teachers today are doing great harm to the Body of Christ. They fail to lift up a standard of holiness and do not teach people how to live right by the power of the Holy Spirit. Their ‘modern’ gospel mistakenly presents the fruit of holiness in the life of a believer as an option, though it certainly is not. Paul wrote of: “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). Those who learn to walk in victory over sin know a peace and a joy those under the condemnation of sin can never know.
Robbed by Secret Sin
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Having secret sin in your life will undo all efforts at a consistent and effective Christianity. No matter how devoutly you apply yourself to religious endeavor, or how great a front you put on for others, hidden sin in your life will place a callous around your heart. It will plug your spiritual ears and blind your spiritual eyes. You will not truly prosper in your walk with God until you put away all conscience defiling activity.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1 Peter 2:11
The call to a life of holiness is as much (or maybe more) to your benefit as it is the Lord’s. God’s universe is not going to fall apart because of your sins; but yours will! Peter said giving in to fleshly lusts wages war against your soul. Sin is a faith destroyer; like a cancer it will eat away at your faith until finally the life is gone. The Bible very clearly sets two paths before us:
Don’t Be Fooled!
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:7-8
Corruption or life everlasting; one or the other.
So much of what I hear seems to be saying: I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner, we’re all just a bunch of rotten sinners! Like we’re just a bunch of filthy pigs wallowing in the slop, but we are okay because God’s grace is like a paint job that covers over it all making us pure in God’s eyes. They are preaching a gospel which supposedly makes you right with God, but leaves you in the same disobedient condition. That’s not the Gospel I get out of the Bible! Isn’t the life of Christ in us supposed to effect some sort of a change?
I personally believe Leonard Ravenhill was one of the greatest preachers this nation has ever known. You can find many of his audio and video sermons at sermonindex.net. Brother Ravenhill often expressed enormous concern that the ‘modern’ pulpit was giving people an assurance of salvation without actually giving them salvation itself. A delusion causing many religious folks to think they are saved when they are not! I share his concern; and it makes my heart ache.
A Fork in the Road
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
What a holy fear, and fervent soul searching, such a passage of Scripture ought to bring upon us. That if we refuse the true gospel there is another one right there waiting for us! One which will cause many to carry on in a fog of sin excusing religious error until the day they enter the gates of Hell never to escape; because they rejected the truth and chose instead a lying pacification. God help us, and give us ears to hear the truth!
A Vain Message
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. Ephesians 5:6-7
Paul warned of being deceived with a message of vain words; that you could live a life of sinful behavior, and not face the wrath of God. Few come right out and state their corrupt beliefs in such straight-forward terms, but that is exactly what many are preaching. And it’s quite common to find people who have sat under this kind of teaching to still be living in habitual sin, but thinking they are right with God. (Pastor said God loves me, and accepts me just the way I am!) Pastor might have said it but God certainly did not.
A Message of Victory
But, brother Paul, aren’t we all just sinners saved by grace? Yes, we are all sinners, but the problem comes when you say we are just a sinner. To say that is to deny the power of God’s grace! As Christians we are more than just sinners; in fact the Word of God declares we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37) I need to hear something more helpful than I am just a filthy sinner. We need to hear a message on the power of God’s Spirit that will give us victory over sin, and not one that will just leave us wallowing in it!
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
Brothers and Sisters we need to toss out the anemic phony-baloney definition of grace we have been fed all these years by those who deny the power and gifts of God’s Spirit are still active today. They tell us that grace is merely God looking upon us favorably and overlooking our sin; but is that it, or is there more? What is the true full definition of God’s grace he gives us through our faith in his Son?
The word translated Grace:
Greek – charis from the same root as charisma (miraculous faculty)
Strong’s Definitions lists grace as follows:
“The Divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”
Daniel Webster defined Christian grace as:
In a theological sense: a. the free and unmerited favor and love of God. b. the Divine influence or the influence of the Spirit in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.
And the Apostle Peter brings to us the exact same line of reasoning:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4
Does this sound like merely an overlooking of sin? Sounds like the inward strength to overcome sin to me. A freedom not just from the consequences of sin, but from the very power of sin itself!
Becoming A Conqueror
As Christians we are sinners who have been given the power of the Spirit to overcome sin. And by that inward fortitude we can live a life of holiness before the Lord; and that is just what He expects the Gospel to accomplish in our lives. If you are not walking in victory over sin, then maybe you might want to examine what you have received as teachings concerning this matter. Simply reading the Bible and believing what we read (instead of listening to man’s doctrines) would go a long way in clearing up this issue for many of us.
The true grace of God will bring victory over sin. Has the true Gospel planted a firm understanding in your heart of God’s standard of living for His Church (and the power of the Spirit given to make you a conqueror of sin); or have you been deceived by a vain message telling you every thing is going to be alright whether you put away those sins or not? Please, give it some thought will you? And please, don’t be fooled!