April 18, 2007, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Leadership

By Walt Alexander

Two weeks ago, I argued that our fight with sin is not primarily a fight at all. It is primarily about believing that in the work of Christ. It is about believing that His death not only gave us forgiveness from sins but granted us a new life.

The Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck sums it up like this:

It is of this partnership in Christ’s death and resurrection that the church must now be conscious, not only with a view to justification, but also with respect to the dominion that sin is bent on exercising on its life. [The church] has (once with Christ) “died to sin” (Rom. 6:2), or, as it is expressed in verse 6: the church must know “that our old man as crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, so that we should no longer be in bondage to sin….What he wants to teach [the church], over against the reality of sin, is beyond anything else a new basis of self-judgment in its belonging to Christ and having died and been raised with him (Paul: An Outline of His Theology, pg. 208-209).

So how does this knowledge – this new self-judgment affect our fight with sin?

Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. We start on the foundation of this new self-judgment – that we are justified in Christ. In Christ, we are forgiven by God and righteous before God. This is solely through the work of Christ.

This means we must know and live in the gospel. We must preach it to ourselves daily. We should meditate on it in every battle and in the face of every sin and temptation. By grace, this will keep us from trying to earn forgiveness.

Also, in Christ, God is pleased with us. Why? Because He is pleased with Christ (Mt 3:17) and we are in Him.

2. We fight sin aware that it has been defeated by Christ. Sin has been brought to nothing through Christ’s death (Rom 6:6). This means sin no longer reigns, because we have been set free (Rom 6:7).

This means we don’t treat sinful desires as if they still reign. We rebuke them in the name of Christ. We do not run to them any longer.

If fact, the reason we are fighting is because He fought and won. He broke the dominion and now we have a fight.

This means we run from our old pleasures and from our old desires. We catalog them, categorize them, and avoid them. We refuse to be conformed to our former ignorance (1 Pt. 1:14).

3. We fight sin aware that we have been given new life in Christ. This new life empowers us to obey God. It empowers us to please Him and live to God. We are alive in Him (Rom 6:11).

This means we fight with an awareness that our hope rests in Christ’s work. Though we fight hard, we rest in the reality that He accomplished everything for us on the cross. Through the cross, we know that He will finish what he started (Phil 1:6) and that He will conform us to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).

4. We fight sin to please Him. Having been counted righteous before God, set free from sin, and given new life in Christ, we now live to please Him.

2 Cor 5:14-16 – For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.

2 Cor 5:9 – So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

2 Tim 2:4 – No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

We now live everyday to please Him. We live to bring Him joy and pleasure. We live to glorify God, to magnify God, and to please God.


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