Many Christians today live in a miserable state of bondage to sin. They pray and resolve to do better. They suppress sinful urges and desires. And they think this is the normal Christian life. But they never overcome sin. So what are we to do? How do we overcome sin?
First, we must recognize that all sin flows out of a voluntary preference, or state of commitment, to please ourselves. All outward actions, motives, and intentions flow out of this selfishness. Can we suppress selfishness by resolution? Certainly not.
Second, we must see that love is the fulfillment of the law. Is love produced by resolution? No. We may abstain from gratifying a sinful desire, but that doesn't produce the love of God in the heart.
The Bible clearly states that we overcome sin by faith in Jesus Christ. In very practical terms, this means that you make a commitment to Jesus. This commitment is that you will give all of your love and affection to him. When you open the door of your heart to Jesus this way, His Spirit comes and takes residence in you. This is conversion. Now, the indwelling Christ will take up your whole soul. He will shed the love of God abroad in your heart. He will bring your heart in line with his, and regulate all of your desires.
Thus, it is by faith in Jesus Christ that we receive the Holy Spirit as an inward power who stimulates and directs our activity. God's purifying influence is received into the very center of our being.
If you haven't made the choice to love Jesus first and foremost–more than even your own life–will you do so now? You will then receive the Holy Spirit, and overcome all sin!
If you liked this message and want to learn more about the indwelling Christ, listen to our recent broadcast, “Christ in You.“
This broadcast was inspired by Charles Finney's lecture, “How to Overcome Sin.“