For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
In an age when most churches are focused on sin management Paul’s ancient declaration seems like an idea we can’t begin to comprehend. Some how I have trouble trying to imagine Paul facilitating an anger management group. Is it just me or have we (churches) adopted the same methods of dealing with moral failure as the world?
A few decades ago secular humanists with PHD’s decided that they had discovered an answer for some of the moral failings of mankind, it was “disease”. With that designation for certain moral flaws, personal responsibility and accountability went out the window.
Now, many years later, even more sins have been declared “normal” or are considered a “sickness” or “disease” and the treatment is to “manage” the moral failing (sin). The idea is that with enough purposeful care, and with the help of others, sin can be managed so that it isn’t as much of a problem.
Churches have bought in 100%. But is it biblical?
The Bible says to the one who is stealing, stop stealing and go to work. (Ephesians 4:29)
To the liar, the Bible says, don’t lie. (Colossians 3:9) Put away falsehood and tell the truth. (Ephesians 4:25)
To the sexually immoral the Bible says don’t do it (1 Thessalonians 4:3), flee from it (1 Corinthians 6:18), and don’t associate with those who are involved in it. (1 Corinthians 5:9). Reserve sexual expression for your husband or wife only. (1 Corinthians 7:1-3)
To the drunkard the Bible says don’t get drunk. (Ephesians 5:18)
Of course the Bible addresses many other sins with the same kind of common sense solutions. Just say No! It isn’t that easy is it?
We have tried ridding our people of moral short falls by employing the same methodologies as people who don’t know God, and with little success. Isn’t it about time to try it God’s way?
There is a real war raging, a war between good and evil, between God and his people and the god of this world and his own. We must use the tools afforded by the grace of God. We must stop treating symptoms and cure the cause. We are giving all our attention to the branches when the problem is the root is rotten.
Choose different weapons
In the atonement of Jesus given by God’s amazing grace we have all we need to live lives that please God. (Titus 2:11-13)
The “weapons” we must use to fight the downward pull of sin are not discovered in the class room but are standard equipment for the child of God by the Spirit’s power.
Christ has (past tense) reconciled us to God with His body as a sacrifice. That same power that saved us from the curse of the law and from sure death, is the same power that will present us in the end a pure, holy people.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:21-23)
Only the atonement of Jesus, only by the blood of his cross, will sin finally be defeated in a real, concrete way in your life and mine. We must be gospel focused, purposefully saying yes to God and no to everything that opposes His will for our lives.
God’s strength, now ours
The good news is that we don’t have to attempt this in the power of our own strength but in His strength. Paul said it this way.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:28-29)
It is Christ alone who can give us mastery over sin. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the power that grace affords to root out every sin and every moral flaw in the lives of his people.
Gospel centered, grace driven, and Spirit empowered living is the way of freedom and knowing the peace of God and the fellowship of the Spirit. If I trust myself and my own resourcefulness I am doomed to repeat and repeat again and again those same sins and live a life of virtual defeat. If I lean heavily upon the everlasting arms and refuse to consider anything but His mighty power demonstrated by his shed blood and victorious resurrection I can live a life a victory.
We must admit our sin is really that, sin. We must be quick to repent, and boldly stand on God’s promise of victory using the weapons of grace alone.