So many people are trying to figure out how to win their battle against sin. Let me show you why you can’t.
“But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
This passage is almost always misinterpreted and thus becomes hurtful. Are we being taught here that somehow WE are to try and make sin look worse? That is what I always believed and taught, but in context to the Scripture, I now realize I was wrong. Certainly, we should know the horribleness of sin, but that is not what this is saying. Most people think that somehow we can conquer sin with our own resolve and determination. In other words, we can work our way out of sin. I believe this passage teaches that there is nothing we can do about it with our own flesh. Oh,we can win temporary battles and that is what I often did. We can even appear to be winning the battle when we really are losing. We end up beating ourselves up because we cannot win the victory over sin, when in truth, we CANNOT win the victory over sin.
The purpose of the law is to show us that the victory over sin is unwinnable in our flesh. Far too many of us beat ourselves up because we thought if we could hate sin enough and determine enough within ourselves that we could win the battle. One day I saw sin as a hopeless fight and one I could not win. As I studied this passage, I saw that I was carnal and the law is spiritual. How in the world could I win a spiritual battle? I can’t.The way I win is to understand that within my flesh there is a desire to sin.The more the law works in me the more I realize that this is not a battle for carnal people of which I am one. This is a battle of spiritual proportions.The weapons of our warfare are not CARNAL, yet we are carnal. We have almost destroyed a generation of kids by making them think that they are spiritual rather than making them aware of their carnality. We have painted sin in every shade of black known to man and we are still losing them. Why? They are carnal. We all are. Sadly, we have convinced them that they are spiritual because they have “conformed” to our rules.That is lunacy. If Paul was not spiritual, then how dare we think we are.
Sin is in my flesh. I don’t need sin in front of me to sin. I can close my eyes in silence and sin. My thoughts are carnal. Paul was speaking in this passage of his own desperation with sin, and the fact that it was a battle he could not win. What was his conclusion? The battle has already been won through Christ Jesus. We are not under the law, but we are free from it. How then can we not be overtaken by sin? We walk AFTER the Spirit. How do we do that? We do it by following after Christ. We must be getting as close to Christ as we can, because He won the battle for us. My “will power” is helpless against sin. IF I win a battle in the flesh,I will fall to pride. I can’t win. He already did. I must follow after Him.
Sin becomes exceedingly sinful when we realize we can’t beat it in our flesh. We must stop this “guilting” of people, because they cannot do what the Bible says they cannot do. If God says I cannot do it, how arrogant of me to tell people they have to do what God says we can’t. DUH. We are trying to bulk up, to beat the bully who has a whole gang of other bullies who will get us even if we beat him, Yet, we have a Saviour who has beaten up the whole gang already. They won’t mess with me as long as I am with Him. Get it. The way we have tried to get the victory over sin, just leaves us in despair. After a while, we live in the misery of the fear of sin as much as in the sin. After awhile, we get tired of being miserable, so we just give in. Don’t give in to sin; just follow after Christ.
The way we make sin become exceeding sinful (notice it does not say appear as we like to explain it) is…well, we don’t. In fact there is no command here at all. We are not told that we are to make it become exceeding sinful. Paul explains that the law does that on its own. In other words, as I learn more about the law, the more dead I see I am. That is not a bad thing.That is a good thing because the more dead I am, the more He can live in me.That is awesome. We live by dying and we die by the law showing us how carnal we are. Beating up myself is hitting a dead man. Now, that is silly. What I need to do, is stop believing that overcoming sin is about me overcoming anything.He has already overcome, so it is all about me, merely following after Him as Paul says.
I hear from so many defeated Christians who are so down on themselves because they cannot get “the victory” over sin. I understand because I have been where you are. No one has been more frustrated about me than me, but every time I tried to win with my methods, my carnality lost to the temptation. I am learning that it is not about me.It is about Him. It is not about hating sin more; it is about loving Christ more. It is not about me fighting a losing battle; it is about staying close to a victorious Saviour. The law is working in you, to make sin become exceeding sinful, so you will stop trying to win by yourself. (DH)