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Battling Sin – the Fight of Faith

I wonder if you can relate to this experience:

I know I am going to do something I know God does not like long before I actually do. I have plenty of chances to say no. I just choose to ignore this feeling

The Christian life is all about faith and repentance. We become Christians through faith and repentance; we grow as Christians through continual faith and repentance. We do not graduate from gospel to some advanced way of holiness or progress, as Martin Luther said, “To progress is always to begin again”.

Faith and repentance are not one off events that take place only when we are converted. John Calvin says, “God assigns to believers a race of repentance, which they are to run throughout their lives”. By faith we recognise that God offers so much more than the false promises of sin. We fight sin by clinging in faith to the promises of God. We repent of our sinful desire for self worship and turn instead to worship the living God.

The bible often uses violent imagery to describe this battle. We are to put to death sinful desires (Romans 3:8:13, Col 3:5). We’re to cut off whatever causes us to sin (Mat 5:27-30). The Word of God issues a call to arms. We are to use our bodies as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6:13). We are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 1:18). We are equipped with spiritual armour for the battle (Eph 6:12-18). We battle sinful desires that wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). We’re called to be like soldiers on active service (2 Tim 2:4).

I wonder if we need to be encouraged to do battle with sin…. to fight the fight of faith. The good news is that God’s word actually gives us strategies to reinforce our repentance and strengthen our faith. Here they are very briefly:

  1. Abhor the sin – hate what God hates;
  2. Adore God;
  3. Be assured of grace – do not let sin reign but let grace superabound;
  4. Avoid temptation – why put yourself in a place where you are going to be tempted more; and
  5. Be accountable.