THE BATTLE AGAINST SIN
Jesus came to Earth to free humanity from the power of sin. The sinful condition of inheritance we received from Adam’s fall, but also from the consequences of our own faults, since all of them only guide us to eternal death as punishment (1Jn 3:8; Ro 6:23; Ga 5:19-21).
However, once we repent of our godless living, surrender ourselves to God through Jesus and get baptized, we are consider to have been adopted by God as children, and become part of the Assembly of the Redeemed, the Church (Ac 2:38; Mk 16:16; Jn 1:12), and we are supposed to live in holiness as new creatures in Christ (1Pe 2:24; Ro 6:11; 1Co 6:20); but from apostolic times, in practice, we still fall into sin and sometimes in a big way, like adultery (1Co 5:1), drunkenness and irreverence (1Co 11:21), deceit and avarice (Jd 1:12), doubt, discrimination, racism, envy and all kind of rampant wickedness (Jm 1:6, 9-11, 19-21).
Sinfulness of all kinds were a reality in the first Christian congregations. Things that were officially renounced and promised to abandon, resurrected again among the first Christians, provoking all kinds of trouble in the early communities as the NT letters prove.
This was acknowledged by the apostles, and they spoke about it with severity (He 10:26-27) but at the same time ensuring us that our forgiveness was guaranteed in Jesus, and encouraged the believers not to hide their sinfulness, but to struggle against it (1Jn 1:8-9).
SINFULNESS is a hard reality in the lives of all Christians without exception. Some more than others, given their background or the level of consecration, age and sex.
It is easier to drop our holiness with a little lie to get out of pressure, or to fall into lust when we see a provocative member of the opposite sex, or to shortchange someone; but all of these, once they are done, they relax our apprehension and we tend to step more and more into bigger faults, destroying our relationship with God eventually.
The Bible tells to use the Armour of God (Eph 6:14-18) to be protected against sinfulness and demonic attacks, which relies on Faith, Truth, the Bible and Prayer in the Spirit, that accompany our confidence in Jesus, to confront all sinful desires and attacks from the enemy, who the Scripture identifies as the devil himself.
To have all these elements in place, we must pray from the heart, constantly, specially at the start of the day. We must also meditate everyday in the Scripture, which will give us the knowledge of Truth, and create Faith in us as we read it (Ro 10:17), and walk in peace knowing that Jesus our Redeemer is on our side and our forgiveness is guaranteed by Him (He 4:15).
But even then, we will fall into sin, even though it may be of lesser gravity than if we were to live separated from God, but some will find themselves trapped into chains of evil, where sinning has become a habit, affecting severely our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Lord Jesus said once:
“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell”
Lord Jesus spoke of the sacrifices that we may have to suffer to avoid sin; but it also includes the losses we may endure fighting sin within ourselves.
Most of us will overcome serious sinfulness, according to how much we pray, meditate on Scripture, and participate of the Holy Supper, but some of us will find hard to overcome serious bad habits already settled in them.
Jesus also said that only ‘those who persevere to the end, will be saved’ (Mt 24:13).
It does not matter how bad we are, how trapped we are in sin, or how hard it is to break away from it, whatever sin that may be; but the least we can do, it is not to surrender to sinfulness. We must keep getting up, again and again, asking for forgiveness every time we fall, either personally to God or by confessing it to the Church, but never give up. Never come to think that it is invincible and that we should settled on it, hoping that God will understand. God will not understand, because He guarantees that with every temptation, He provides the way out to scape it, and eventually win over it:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
In every temptation there is always a way out, but if we do not see it, or do not take it, it is due to our own weakness, naturally inherited but greatly increased by lack of prayer, Bible reading or lack of sacramental union with Jesus through Communion.
But even then, we must continue to get up, even if to everyone we are seen as false Christians. Only God knows the heart of men, and only He witnesses our real efforts and remorse for sinning. But if we keep coming to Him for help, confessing our sins and praying to over come it; even if we live like that to the end of our lives, we will have won in the end, because the mercy of Jesus will clean us from all sinfulness before passing this life:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What it is important is to continue fighting to the end, and never surrender to Satan.
Even if we get to the end ‘maimed’, we will be found faithful when we give up the spirit. Jesus mercy only demands our disposition of heart, and He will do the rest for us.
Because, even if we sin a lot or little, nobody is saved on his own merits, but only through Lord Jesus mercy and atoning sacrifice.