Overcome Sin's Deadly Power!

By COGwriter

Portions of this article came from the article by Richard Rice 'How You Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power!,' Good News magazine, March 1982.

Here is a link to a related sermonette video: YOU Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power!

Are you struggling against sins grip, but losing more battles than you are winning?

Sin is a living, dynamic force in human nature! It is actually a law--a law as real and certain as the law of gravity.

The apostle Paul was very much aware of sin's power when he wrote:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:23)

The apostle John also understood the nature of sin, and wrote:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

Related to this, notice the following:

If we fail to comprehend this little understood truth about sin, we will continue to lose in our daily battles with it.

We tend to think of sin as simply an act of disobedience, and fail to recognize that sin is a law or cancerous condition that reigns in our bodies. Outward acts of sin are only symptoms of the greater disease within. We must lay the ax to the root of the tree if we are to achieve total victory.

If sin exists in our very nature, is there any lasting hope of conquering it? Yes! (Rice RJ. How You Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power! Good News, March 1982)

Christians need to have faith in God (see also the free pdf booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

The Apostle Paul taught:

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)

Notice that the Apostle Paul also taught:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

The old Worldwide Church of God taught:

You know you shouldn't sin, but you find yourself succumbing to sin's lures and temptations time and again.
   "But how can this be?" you may ask. Perhaps you are baptized, and think: When I was baptized I thought I was cleansed of my sins and that they would never emerge again. Yet I am still plagued with the lusts and temptations of my former life.
   If you ask yourself this question, then you do not fully understand the nature of sin.
   It is true that when you were baptized, the slate was wiped clean. You were justified before God and all your past sins were forgiven. But baptism did not remove the energy and power of sin that remained in your nature. As we shall see, it is this lingering power of sin within us that we must deal with and overcome.
   You need to understand how sin works as a dynamic power within your nature — and how to overcome it! A number of analogies from nature demonstrate how sin works.
   For example, we know how one spot of decay on an apple will eventually cause the entire fruit to rot. Rust in a few spots on a car, if not repaired, will in time destroy the value of the entire automobile. Similarly, one cancer cell, if not contained, will spread through the body till vital organs are reached, bringing death.
   That's power! And sin, unless controlled and conquered, has the same power to destroy us — for eternity.
   Perhaps the most graphic analogy in all creation of how sin works is that of leaven. Leaven starts small — just a pinch of yeast will leaven an entire loaf of bread (Gal. 5:9). But, because leaven is a living organism, it soon grows and spreads through all the dough, actually changing and assimilating to its own nature the original dough with which it is mixed.
   Sin, too, starts small — with our first wrong thought. If we allow this thought to linger in our mind, it will grow into a strong temptation or desire. Then, if we give the temptation or desire enough time, it will become uncontrollable and overpower our will to resist. Left weak and defenseless, we will succumb to the temptation and sin. (Rice RJ. How You Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power! Good News, March 1982)

But what if you make mistakes and stumble?

If you stumble get up!

Consider that Jesus stated to His disciples:

31 All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:

'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' (Matthew 26:31)

Well, a dozen of the stumbling disciples ended up being the 12 apostles. YOU can stumble too!

James wrote:

2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

James was including himself in that. The New Testament says we ALL stumble in one thing or the other.

If you stumble, you need to get up.

James also wrote:

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:12-15)

Yes, sin brings forth death. But not just physical death.

   But sin doesn't stop there. With each succeeding act of sin that we commit, the sin will pick up momentum and strength, eventually searing our conscience. The sinful act will then become an enthralling, pleasurable habit. This will lead to self-will, hardness of heart and outright rebellion against God.
   Once the sin is firmly established, it will open the way for other sins to enter. And eventually our whole heart, mind and being will become corrupted.
   The end result of sin, then, is total disintegration of righteous character so that we cannot and will not repent — the unpardonable sin: (Rice RJ. How You Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power! Good News, March 1982)

Sin, then, like leaven or yeast, has the power to permeate our entire being. Is it any wonder, then, that God builds one of His seven annual festivals, which show His plan of redemption for mankind, around this analogy of leaven? The Days of Unleavened Bread picture our responsibility to completely eliminate sin — spiritual leaven — from our lives (I Corinthians 5:7-8).

We are born into a world filled with temptations and sin. We become subject to a carnal nature before we even know it. We often refer to this as human nature--or perhaps it could be defined as the power of sin.

But now we come to a vital distinction. After repentance and baptism, even though we still have a carnal nature that works in our members, we also have received another nature--a new, spiritual nature from God.

Feed the spiritual nature

Just as our physical body needs daily food to sustain energy, strength and health, so it is with our spiritual life. We need spiritual food to derive the strength to fight our foes. Here are some practical steps that will provide us with a concentrated diet of spiritual food:

• Bible study. Jesus Christ said:

4 ... Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' (Matthew 4:4)

Our purpose in Bible study should be to so saturate our minds with God's thoughts that we will instantly be ready to combat Satan, the world and our own flesh.

By filling our hearts and minds with the Word of God, we will reinforce our ability to resist the forces of evil and to strive steadily toward God's Kingdom. We are to be literally washed by the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26).

• Prayer. We must be in a constant state of prayer. Paul told the Romans to be:

12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; (Romans 12:12)

In order for God's strength and life to flow into us, it's imperative that we keep in daily contact with God. We have a free booklet to assist with this: Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?

Our spiritual strength is thus renewed each day:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

If we walk closely with God, God will give us the help to conquer.

• Meditation. David found that meditating on God's law day and night was one of his greatest sources of strength:

97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word. (Psalm 119:97-101)

Meditation, coupled with the power of God's Holy Spirit, opens for us new realms of understanding. Meditation is a process of assimilating the Word of God, the bread of life. The more our minds are filled with spiritual truth, the less room there will be for Satan to enter.

• Sermons and Bible studies. God's ministry is commissioned to feed God's flock (John 21:15-17). God's ministers have been specially trained to expound and enlarge the meaning of the Scriptures. When we attend services with a keen desire to learn God's truth, we will discover rich gems of knowledge -- tools of spiritual warfare -- we could never find on our own (Romans 10:14). Here are some links:

ContinuingCOG YouTube channel. Dr. Thiel has produced video sermons for this channel. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other videos. Here is a link to a short intro: ContinuingCOG Channel.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/

• Fellowship with God's people. Frequent fellowship with brethren of like faith provides a wealth of spiritual food and motivation. Hebrews 3:13 commands: "exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

For many of our scattered brethren, this is done over the internet throughout the year, as well as in person at the Feast of Tabernacles.

We must always strive to keep our fellowship and conversation positive, edifying and encouraging each other at every opportune moment (Galatians 6:1-10). By mingling with brethren who are close to God and filled with His Spirit, we will absorb much spiritual strength (Romans 1:11-12)--if we do not become bitter or vain.

• God's Holy Spirit. The bottom line to winning the victory over sin and Satan lies with God's Holy Spirit, where we get our true power for battle (Ephesians 3:16-20, Romans 8:1-4). Be filled with the Holy Spirit:

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18)

In prayer, we should ask God to give us a renewed supply of His Spirit. When we are filled with God's Spirit, there remains no place for sin to enter or Satan to work.

But will still have temptations.

We must endure

Jesus taught:

13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:11)

James also wrote:

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

Jesus also taught:

20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:20-22)

Endure, don't give up. Furthemore, notice something else that James wrote:

2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? (James 4:2-5)

Be careful that you are not trying to get along with those that are tempting you. Don't let your pride tell you can handle temptations you cannot handle. Humble yourself:

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-10)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Physical ways to "bear it" would include changing what you are doing when you are tempted. Do something else! Like go to another room. Start reading the Bible. For some, perhaps taking a walk or doing more vigorous exercise. Et cetera.

Consider the analogy of getting air out of a glass. On our own, without equipment, we can't make it a vacuum. But if we change the glass by pouring water in, the air leaves.

Here are steps to overcoming sin:

   • Bring every thought into captivity. Paul exhorts us:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:4-6)

Guard the door of your mind and examine every thought. Allow nothing to enter except what is pure and clean in God's eyes (Philippians 4:8). Follow the lead of God's Spirit and develop a right conscience. Don't rationalize with temptation, but crush it immediately. Keep up your defenses at all times (Proverbs 16:32) and look to God for help.

   • Flee from temptation:

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. ... 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:14, 19-22)

22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. (2 Timothy 2:22-23)

Jesus Christ revealed the urgency of getting away from sin in His instruction to pluck out our eye or cut off our right hand if they tempt us to sin (Matthew 5:29-20). Of course, He was using a powerful figure of speech; He did not mean we should literally cut off our hand or pluck out our eye. Our hands and eyes only obey our mind and do not by themselves lead us into sin.

That is consistent with the following:

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

We should either remove ourselves immediately from the scene of temptation or take whatever means are necessary to choke off the power of temptation's influence. Do you take a second or third look at something or some situation that you know to be wrong? If so, you are feeding your sinful nature and playing into the hands of the enemy. Grab yourself by the collar and run as far away as possible! Don't look back, leer or linger--quickly cast out the wrong thought.

   • Control your natural drives. God gave us our five senses to enjoy the good things of life in a balanced, wholesome way. But when we indulge them to excess, the power of sin begins to exert itself and take over. God commands us to be temperate, or moderate, in all things (2 Peter 1:6). Master yourself and never allow physical lusts to take preeminence.

• Control your temper. Giving vent to uncontrolled anger is one of the surest ways to let the devil find access into your mind:

26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Don't give Satan a chance. Determine to keep a cool head and a steady disposition. Try to anticipate problem situations and avoid or neutralize them. The key is to remain close to God so that, with His Holy Spirit, you can constantly be alert and use the power of instant self-control.

   • Love not the world. This society is the devil's playground — a carnival-like atmosphere designed to arouse unholy lusts and distractions for a Christian. Even though we must live in this sinful world, we should remember that we are God's people and not be drawn into the world's wicked practices (Romans 12:2).

John wrote:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Clearly, the battle lines are drawn. We must resist and reject the lures and lusts of the world and Satan as though our lives depended on it. For, spiritually speaking, they do — eternally!

Sin is more sinister and pervasive than just an act of disobedience against God's law. Sin is a power or law that works in our very members. Overcoming, then, is the process of nourishing God's nature within ourselves and starving worldly human nature. This calls for constant self-discipline and making use of God's power.

By God's power, we are enabled to overcome. And, with God's power, we will!

If you do not want to stumble and wish to be better filled with the Holy Spirit, take true heed of the instructions that the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:1-11)

Not that it is easy, but the Bible says that if you endure, humble yourself, resist Satan, and draw near to God you can get to the point you would not stumble.

You can overcome sin with God's help.

Do not neglect prayer, Bible study, meditation, sermons, and encouraging one another.

Here is a link to a related sermonette video: YOU Can Overcome Sin's Deadly Power!

Thiel B. Overcome Sin's Deadly Power! COGwriter (c) 2020 https://www.cogwriter.com/overcome-deadly-sin.htm 2020 0405

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