“How can I overcome temptation to sin?” a gracEmail reader wonders. “No matter how hard I try to resist, I still do what is wrong.”
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Every conscientious Christian asks the same question at some time. The only key to victory over sin is the supernatural power of God, available to us because of Jesus our representative and accessed by faith. Remember that Satan’s power over humankind flows from human sin and it ends at the tomb. Jesus never came under Satan’s power because he did not sin. When Jesus died, he entered Satan’s stronghold as a conquering invader rather than as a bound victim. God then raised Jesus from death to life, in a new-age order where Satan has no claim and where sin has no power (Rom. 6:9-10). Because Jesus represented his people in all that he did and experienced, we died when he died and we arose when he arose (6:6). Jesus’ death thus released us from sin’s tyranny, and his resurrection unleashed God’s power for us to live in new-age holiness.
Satan has no authority or rightful claim over the believer. Not because of anything we have done. Because Jesus our representative has passed through death for us — and lives again for us — in a realm and quality of life which Satan’s power cannot reach. The key to a holy life is in recognizing Satan’s falsehoods for what they are, and in responding according to the gospel truth. We can do that in two particular ways, whenever we are tempted. First, by “considering” ourselves truly to be free of Satan’s jurisdiction and power as resurrected ones in Christ (6:11). Second, by “presenting” our bodies and minds to Christ to obey him, and by refusing to “present” our bodies and minds to Satan for immorality (6:12-13). These are very clear and specific steps of faith.
Know that Satan is the great deceiver who will continue to lie and say that we must yield to sin. If we believe the devil’s lies, we will yield to sin, for we cannot resist it in our human strength. But the moment that we reject the devil’s lies, affirm the gospel truth and turn our bodies over to Jesus, we will experience newness of life and victory over sin — the godly life which the Holy Spirit (the spirit of the Risen Jesus) enables and empowers in us. We will never overcome sin by good resolutions or by trying harder. We will always overcome sin through conscious union with the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen representative and Head.