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by Jacob Ninan
Picture a man groaning under the bondage of sin and guilt, struggling to tear himself free from its grip by some means or another. He hears the good news that Jesus has purchased his freedom on the cross. Sheer relief and gratitude flood his heart and he lifts up his head as a man whose sin has been forgiven. Now, he thinks, everything is going to go well. But he soon realises that even though his past has been forgiven, he is still falling to sin. His sincere heart is stricken with sorrow over this; and what a joyful time it is for him when he understands that Jesus has made a way for victory over sin too! His hope is revived and he goes joyfully into battle against sin. But then after some time, he comes to acknowledge to himself, honest soul that he is, that victory still eludes him. This is a very crucial moment. If now he gives in to discouragement and unbelief, the whole battle is lost. Fiery darts come from the devil in every direction. Perhaps victory is not for people like him. The word of God speaks of wonderful blessings that he does not seem to have in his life. Perhaps there are other explanations to the words he thought he understood clearly. Perhaps he has sinned once too often and grieved the Holy Spirit. Perhaps he is not among the elect at all! All hope seems to be gone.
The battle is a battle of faith (1Ti.6:1). If we lose faith, the battle is already lost. But we never need lose faith in God's word! Has God brought us into His grace? Then sin shall not have dominion over us (Ro.6:14). Indeed, it cannot reign over us, as one translation says. But you say, it does have power over you now. Perhaps it does, but it cannot, not for long! Jesus Himself will see to it that you come into your inheritance (He.9:15). If we humble ourselves, we cannot but receive grace (1Pe.5:5), and if we, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body, we shall live (Ro.8:13). It cannot be otherwise.
Even when all earthly reason for hope was gone, Abraham continued to hope in God. That was the secret of his success. Read Ro.4:16-25 and see how he fought against the odds. Imagine how he went around for a whole year, calling himself Abraham or 'father of nations'! (Ge.17). All the time he would have faced mockery from the people around because he was becoming older and unable to have any children. But he did not give up his hope and God honoured his faith by giving him Isaac.
If there was ever a 'technique' for getting victory over sin, it is this: never give up hope in God. Keep confessing with your mouth what you believe in your heart, and it shall certainly lead you to salvation (Ro.10:8-11). If you 'confess' that you have victory when you do not have it, that is a lie. But if you confess what you hope to receive from God, you shall not be put to shame. God will honour His word. He cannot but do it.
How very opposite to this is what mot people are doing! Words of discouragement and unbelief stream out of their mouths. Is it any wonder that they do not partake of this great salvation? But even if you, like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress, receive many wounds from the adversary, do not give up hope, but give him one thrust after another with the sword of the words of faith. He cannot stand against faith. For that very reason he will use all his wiles to make you give up. But stand fast unto the end and the crown of life is awaiting you (Jas.1:12).
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