Let’s begin with a review. We have been delivered from the power of sin. We are joined with Christ and are seated with Him in heavenly places. Our residence has been moved from the realm of sin to the realm of righteousness. We have been given the Holy Spirit to live in us, to reveal areas of sin in our lives, to create within us a desire to live holy lives, and to give us the strength we need to put to death the misdeeds in our bodies. This is a joint effort between us and the Holy Spirit. Today we will learn how we are to “put to death the misdeeds of the body”. It is not enough for us to pray for God to make us holy. We must assume the responsibility that is ours. To pray for God to remove a certain sin, and then to continue practicing that sin is contrary to what the Bible teaches. Yes, God is able and willing to help us turn from sin and to show us a new way of thinking and behaving. However, we must take definite action to stop sinning and develop new ways of living. Remember what was said in the book of James about looking at yourself in a mirror and going away and immediately forgetting what we have seen. This is what happens when the Holy Spirit reveals sin to us and we acknowledge our part, but refuse to change. Or on a lesser note, we just wait for God to do the work of changing us without making any effort to act differently. Colossians 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” And in Hebrews 12:1 we read “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”. Again, our responsibility is clearly laid out for us.
But it is so hard, you may be saying, when the devil comes at us with temptations and attacks us where he knows we are weak. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Our responsibility is to submit to God’s ways of peace, joy, forgiveness, love, and to resist Satan’s ways of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and hostility. We are to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him” (2 Peter 3:14). We must make this decision daily.
Here we need to look at the verse in 2 Chronicles 20:17, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” Please do mistake this to mean we are to stand by and watch as God does all the work of making us holy. We rely on Christ to work His perfect holiness in us. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” But the responsibility of acting holy is all ours.
One last point to make today is that our lack of holiness is to be viewed as disobedience to God’s ways, not as a personal defeat in an area of sin. We sin because we choose to disobey God’s laws. We give in to temptations instead of standing firm and resisting sin. We must accept our responsibility for sin and choose to live a holy life.