How is a man empowered over the sin that always besets him?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Speaker 1

All right, so Gerard is asking because of Jesus’perfect sinless life, his death as a sacrifice for the sin of all mankind, and his rising, he has power over sin and death. How is a man empowered over the sin that always besets him?

Speaker 2

Wow. Gerard, this is an excellent question. And at his root are a lot of deep issues. A lot of people think maybe Jesus had it easy. He’s God. He was perfect, born special from the rest of us. And, yeah, he was able to slide through life and overcome sin. And what do we have? We don’t have the Spirit like he had. We don’t have the upbringing. We didn’t have the perfect start. And actually, a lot of those theories about Jesus are actually wrong, and they plant the very dangerous seed that we cannot overpower sin. And that’s why I love this question, because you’re asking how? And maybe it was rhetorical like, how can we be expected to do this? But I hope you really are asking, what is the way that we can do it? Because there is a way, it is possible. And the Bible is trying to tell us we can do it. So let’s talk about that. And there could be a whole book or books, volumes on how to do it. But let’s break it down to at least three things diligent, prayer, faith and dependence on God, which is actually very close to faith.

Speaker 2

And it’s important to keep in mind again that Jesus wasn’t like a super duper human. He was human. His experience was us. And in every way that we’re challenged, he was challenged. Hebrews 415, it says, for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but as in all points, tempted as we are, yet without sin. So Jesus didn’t cheat. He went through life as we did, and with the same hand dealt to Him as we have, so that he can show us it is possible. That was such a fundamental part of Christ’s experience. Now let’s look at Matthew 1423 to look at one of Jesus’s secrets of how he did it. And it reads, and when he had sent the multitude away, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. And when evening came, he was alone there. And we see hints of this throughout the Bible where Jesus goes and prays. Jesus tries to be alone and pray, and he’s always emphasizing prayer and what was the most challenging, difficult moment in all of Jesus’s life. And I think a lot of us will probably point the finger at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Speaker 2

And what was Jesus doing there? Matthew 26, starting at verse 39, it says, he went a little further and fell on his face and prayed, saying, oh Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass for me. And he’s praying. He’s praying. Verse 40 says, Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping and he said to Peter, what, could you not watch with me? 1 hour, watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. And we could jump to verse 44 again. He says he left them, went again and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Jesus is just emphasizing prayer is important. Prayer is part of being watchful and it’s keeping us from temptation. And this is what the prayer is what got Jesus through the huge temptation he faced in that garden. He knew what was lying ahead of Him. He knew the pain, the agony, the challenge, the death, what he was going to experience. And can you only imagine the thoughts and the temptation to turn around and back away from it? And yet in prayer he found the strength to go forward. Matthew 923 it says, jesus said to him, if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.

Speaker 2

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said to him, lord, I believe, help my unbelief. So what’s the background of this story? This is a story where Jesus just came down from the Mount of Transfiguration and the disciples who were down there were trying to help the dad remove the demon that’s in this child and they couldn’t do it. And Jesus said, if you believe, all things are possible to him who believes. And the father’s realizing, okay, yeah Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief. This was a prayer Lord, help my unbelief. I think this is a great prayer for all of us to remember, even just short concise lord, I’m struggling with faith. Help me to believe, help me believe that it’s possible that in You I can overcome sin. Help me believe that you can give me the strength to get through this day. Let’s start there with unbelief. Then we come to there we go. John 15 five. And it says, this is Jesus speaking. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in Him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.

Speaker 2

And this to me is a very comforting verse. So can any of us overcome sin in of ourselves? No. The answer is no. So don’t feel bad that you can’t, because you can’t. None of us can by ourselves. But also there’s an inverse to this statement, right? He says, without me you can do nothing. But Jesus is implying here that if we are abiding in Him, if we are remaining connected to Him, we have a relationship, that we’re always in prayer and communication with Him, relying on Him, that we can do anything, including overcoming sin. We go to now Philippians 213. It reads for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do for his good pleasure. So in of ourselves we can’t even have the willpower to do what’s right and the ability to do what’s right. But if we let the power of God work in us. Now we can have the willpower, we can have the will and we can do what he wants us to do. That’s the secret. Let God work in you. Work with God, ask God to work in you. Lord, I want to will and to do your power, do that within me.

Speaker 2

Ezekiel 36 26 to seven says, this is a promise, this is the Old Testament, but this is God giving us a view of what the New Testament is about, what the new covenant is that we today get to partake in. He says, I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I’ll take the heart of stone out of your flesh, yeah, and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will keep my judgments and do them. So saying God will put his spirit in us and that spirit will cause us to walk according to God’s law. Again, just more confirmation. The ability to do what’s right, to overcome sin, to follow God’s law of love, is not going to be inherent in us. We can’t do it on our own. But if we ask God for the Spirit, god will give the Spirit to us to cause us to keep his commandments. And let’s end with John 14 starting at verse 16, because we’re just talking about we need the Holy Spirit right to cause us to walk in God’s law.

Speaker 2

Amazing promise. Jesus says, and I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever. The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know Him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. So Jesus is saying, yeah, I’m taking off, guys, okay, I’m going to be gone. But guess what? I have good news. Because by me leaving, it’s going to pave way for the Spirit to dwell within each and every one of you. And this is a spirit that will give you the ability to keep God’s law, who will teach you truth, help you keep the truth, keep the remember, Jesus had the Holy Spirit. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and this was very much a part of how Jesus had the communication with God, found strength to get through the day. And Jesus is saying, you’re going to get the same thing. You are also going to get the Holy Spirit. So whatever Jesus had, we have at our disposal too.

Speaker 2

And God is going to make it as easy as it could be. It’s challenging. I’m not saying it isn’t easy, but could it actually be easier, right? God is saying, I am the one who’s going to cause it for you. We just have to ask for it. We have to invest the time to build a relationship with God. We have to listen to Him. We have to ask Him to give us these things, ask God to intervene in our lives powerfully. And we’ve got to really desire the overcoming of the sin. And that desire also can’t come within us. We have to ask God to give us that desire. And to ask that is part of prayer. So these are the secrets. It’s a process. It’s not something that happens overnight for us. We have fallen so much. We have fallen so far down a hill, we can’t expect to get back up right away. But God says, I want to be with you there, and I’m with you. I’m there for you. I’ll do everything I possibly can to get you back up that mountain. So praise God for that and I hope this is encouraging for you.

Speaker 2

And thank you again, Gerard, for this excellent question.

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