If you are a true Christian, then you can see from the last Victorious Christian Life series post that the bondage of sin has been broken in your life through simple faith in Jesus Christ.
But even if your simple faith in Christ is authentic, you are probably still in bondage to sin. In fact, I know you are.
A Different Kind of Bondage
Have you ever wondered why you still continue to sin and be drawn into temptation when the bondage of sin has been broken in our lives?
It’s because there are two very different types of bondage that sin draws us into. The first type is the spiritual death that passed to all men and women from the Garden of Eden when sin first entered the world. We dealt with that type in the last post.
The second type of bondage is the type that we will deal with until the day we die.
It’s the bondage of temptation. But if we are freed from the bondage of sin, where does this temptation come from?
Two places. External and internal.
The External Source of Temptation
First, the good news. We have an enemy who desires to destroy us. He can’t destroy us, of course (that’s the good news) but he can make us ineffective.
1 Thessalonians 3 tells us:
1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
Our labor would be in vain. Not “our salvation would be taken from us” or “our souls would perish in hell” or “our faith was never real” but “our labor would be in vain.” Paul is talking about becoming ineffective for the Gospel because of the damaging effects of personal sin in our lives.
Because our personal sins break our fellowship with God.
Because our personal sins drive us deep into guilt, shame and depression.
Because our personal sins draw us back into the world we are to be separate from.
Because our personal sins, if not confessed and cleansed, make us more susceptible to the enemies next attack.
That’s why our enemy works so hard to attack us, even when he knows that he cannot win our souls. Because he can defeat us in our lives. The lives that we should be living to the glory of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
But before we get too haughty, thinking that we sin only because we are attacked and tempted by the enemy, let’s move on to the other source of temptation in our lives.
The Internal Source of Temptation
It would be so easy (and so self-righteous) for us to conclude that temptation only comes from our enemy. We would have to conclude that our sin is never our fault if that was the case.
But the Bible, our only source of complete, infallible truth, informs us that our own hearts are wicked and despicable. We don’t believe it, but the same verse that tells us about the condition of our hearts tells us why we don’t believe it.
Jeremiah 17:9 says:
9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
We don’t believe that our heart is deceitful and wicked and sick because our heart is deceitful, wicked and sick and won’t acknowledge the truth of our condition!
And because of this condition, even when it seems like the enemy is sleeping (he doesn’t) or not prowling around like a roaring lion (he always prowls around), we have our own heart lying to us and leading us astray.
How do I know? The Bible tells me so!
James 1: 14-15
14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire, when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
His own desire. Not a thought planted by the enemy to lure us away, but our own desires lure and entice us into sin.
Winning Both Wars
We might conclude that we don’t have a chance in, well, you know. But the victory has already been won on both fronts.
And again, not by anything that we did for ourselves.
Jesus Christ won the victory over the bondage of sin and He also won the victory over the daily temptations and sins that we give in to through the power of His death and resurrection. His perfect life and death on the cross broke the bondage of sin in our lives and His resurrection broke the power of temptation and daily sin in our lives.
So Why Do We Still Sin?
Its because freedom from the bondage of sin does not equal freedom from sinning.
We must confess daily our need for Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit.
We must die to the flesh and learn to walk in the Spirit, for that is the only way that we can have victory over temptation and sin on a daily basis.
We must pray earnestly that Jesus will strengthen us moment by moment, day by day.
As long as we are in this sinful body, our flesh will war against the Spirit. We need to place our trust in Someone who has walked where we are walking. Someone who has traveled this path and defeated the enemies of temptation and death.
Hebrews 2: 14-18:
14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he mightdestroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
For true victorious Christian living, first the bondage of sin must be broken. Through authentic faith in Jesus Christ, it has been. Then we break the bondage of temptation and daily sin through the power of Jesus by that same, simple, authentic faith.
But it is a bondage that must be broken again and again, day by day, moment by moment.
We fail, we confess, we repent, and we lean on the strong arms of Jesus to uphold us, for He alone has broken the power of sin!