Victory over Sin
“Our country imprisons more people per capita than any other nation except the Soviet Union and South Africa; yet we have the highest crime rate in the world. If that’s law and order, spare us any more.
Baffling? Yes, but nothing new. Eighteen-century British officials tried to cut crime by promoting large crowds to witness the hanging of pickpockets. There was a problem, however. Other thieves had a field day steeling the wallets of those gathered to watch the execution of their fellow pickpockets.
The paradox makes no sense to the secular mind – but the Christian should understand. For where is the anguish of the human soul more poignantly expressed than in Paul’s letter to the Romans, “The good I wish I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.” He never wanted to covet, Paul explains in chapter 7, until the law said “Thou shalt not covet.” Then he found himself filled with covetousness of every kind.
Why? The sin within us uses the law itself to produce the very offense the law is intended to prevent. But in the next chapter the apostle answers the dilemma: though the law alone could not restrain sin, through Christ we are set free, rescued from the sin which controls us.
You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.”
For Cain to subdue the sin that was waiting to attack and destroy him, he would have to give up his jealous anger so that sin would not find a foothold in his life. Sin is still waiting to attack and destroy us today. Like Cain, we will be victims of sin if we do not master it. But we cannot master sin in our own strength. Instead, we must turn to God to receive faith for ourselves and turn to other believers to receive encouragement and strength. The Holy Spirit will help us master sin. This will be a lifelong battle that will not be over until we are face to face with Christ.
Teach me, O LORD,
to follow every one of your principles.
1 John 3:4-6
Those who sin are opposed to the law of God, for all sin opposes the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, for there is no sin in him. 6So if we continue to live in him, we won’t sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him.
What sin do you struggle to avoid? Thank God that he will one day rescue you from the struggle. Until then, let a prayer for strength be a reflex reaction to temptations.