Foundational Principle #1 : This is war.
Foundational Principle #2: Sin doesn’t die.
Before we jump into #3…
, I want to build just a bit off of principle #2. For while it is true that sin does not die, I DO want to reinforce the truth that in your growth, you WILL experience the joy of what your dieing to sin’s influence brings. It is a glorious freedom, which, if you have struggled long with a particular besetting sin – may be almost agonizingly too good to believe will ever be yours. But it not only can – it WILL. This leads directly to Foundational Principle #3 which is: God has designed and decreed your victory. Lest you think you misread that, let me state it again: God has both designed and decreed your victory. You simply must believe that to make progress by faith. Now I’ll come back to that in a moment – but let me ask you to take a look at the graphic above as a means to help illustrate part of what I was driving at in #2.
Think of the dark sphere on the left as the remaining principle of indwelling sin. The little light sphere is you. When we are born into this world, we are captive to our sin. Eph. 2 (and other passages) are absolutely clear on this. We are oriented around ourselves and our own fallen desires, perceptions, goals, ambitions, etc. Fallen self is the center of – we are the center of – our own universe. In salvation, the REAL center of the universe suddenly comes into the picture: Christ Jesus the Lord. He is represented by the larger sphere on the right. Claiming His rightful place as Lord, He begins the process of fully drawing us off of our previous orbit, to orbit around Himself. He must become the center. He cannot simply be present, He demands to be who and what He is – all in all. Thus begins the struggle between these two gravitational pulls.
Embellishing the simile a bit more – that old, dark sphere is for all intents and purposes a dieing star. It is there, and it still has pull, but it has been dealt its final blow. At the same time – Christ is becoming to us, all that He truly has been all along – the very source of all life and power. Now even when we change orbits, the truth is, we still come into proximity with the old gravitational pull. It is not gone entirely yet. Sometimes, we are perhaps even pulled back into a temporary orbit around it – living a sort of figure-8 existence. But the reality is Beloved, as we settle in the orbit of our hearts and minds revolving around Christ, that obit stabilizes, completely captures us, and though the old gravitational pull remains and we encounter it periodically, we remain fixed upon our new Sun, the Son of Righteousness. (“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6, ESV) We put off the old man and put on the new (Eph. 4:2-32). By the Spirit we “put to death the deeds of the flesh” (Rom. 8:13). We share a common nature with Christ. And by virtue of walking in the Spirit, we fail to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16 – more of which later). If we are in orbit around Christ, we simply cannot at the very same time be in orbit around self. they are mutually exclusive. And as we orbit Him more and more, that orbit stabilizes and captures us and we live in ways we did not know before. Freedom from sin is slavery to a life of joy orbiting around Christ.
Now back to our 3rd principle which I mentioned briefly above. And dear one, this is so very important to get down deep into your soul and working consciousness – you simply must be convinced that God’s plan for you in redemption is to fully conform you to the image of His son! (“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29, ESV) If you fail to grasp this and live in the constant light of it – your own deceitful heart, the false promises of the World and the lies of the Enemy will conspire to trap you with the iron chains of thoughts like: “Maybe God wants to me fail to keep me humble”. “Maybe this is MY thorn in the flesh like Paul’s.” This lie comes in a 1000 forms – but all of them are still lies. The truth is, He has determined that you are to bear His unmarred image once again, and from the day you were born again He has been working that out in you and He has much better ways of humbling you than keeping you captive to sins Christ died to forgive you of and free you from. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14, ESV)
More to come.