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Pointers along the way #458

The dynamics of victory
- Jacob Ninan

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Ro.6:14). Now that we are under grace, under the new covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ, sin can no longer rule over us. But like many other promises, this one also does not work automatically. If it did, all people who are born again would immediately become like Christ! As it really is, it is a process called sanctification. There can be ups and downs. We won't come to a steady state condition called victory where we would be safe from falls. Think of life as a battle place where the enemy never stops attacking us, and if we get wounded now and then it should not shock us. We can fall easily when we are caught unawares or if we assume we cannot fall (1Co.10:12). Our realistic aim is to win the war, and not to escape unscathed.

Before we came to the Lord sin had its way with us, and we were not too concerned about the sinfulness of sin. When grace came our conscience came alive too, and the new desire God put into our heart made us want to stop sinning (Ez.36:25-27). God's 'seed' within us gives us a new nature which cannot continue with sin (1Jn.3:9). We would have quickly stopped sinning except for the fact that we are still going to be tempted, and we have our free will that can decide what we finally do. God won't force us.

Whether it is the Devil or the world that tempts us, it is the sinful desires that abide in our 'flesh' (Ga.5:24) that ultimately entice us to sin (Jas.1:14). God's Holy Spirit within us encourages us to resist sin, but our flesh draws us towards sin (Ga.5:17). The Devil also watches out for our weak moments when he can mount his attack against us (1Pe.5:8). It is at this point that we have to decide which way we would go. God's grace working in and around us strengthens us to resist sin, but the pull of temptation can be strong, especially in areas where we have yielded much in the past.

It is because of this that sometimes we fail to do what we know we ought to do (Ro.7:19). God does not want us to fall, but He knows that we might fall at times and has made provision for our forgiveness and getting back to Him (1Jn.2:1,2). He has given us His word to strengthen us, fellowship with other disciples to encourage one another, and the Holy Spirit to lead us step by step.

Some people take hold of verses that mention about what God has done for us and assume that He will do everything for us. Others look at verses that tell us what to do and conclude that it is all about us. But like many other spiritual things, there is a mysterious combination of the divine and the human working to achieve the goal of victory. Because of God there is always reason to expect victory, but because of our humanness there is always a possibility of failure. Therefore we ought to lean on God with all our heart, and also watch out always for possible temptations. And if we fail we must get back to God immediately.


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