Is it a sin to flee?

How can I overcome habitual sins?

The first thing we should note about overcoming habitual sins is that there is change that takes place when a person is redeemed. The Bible describes the natural man as "dead ... by ... transgressions and sins" (Ephesians 2: 1). As a result of Adam's fall, man is spiritually born dead. In this state of spiritual death, one is unable and unwilling to follow and obey God, so habitual sin naturally follows. The natural man sees the things of God as folly (1 Corinthians 2:14) and is hostile to God (Romans 8: 7). When a person is redeemed, a transformation takes place. Apostle Paul refers to it as the new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). From the moment we believe in Christ, the process of sanctification begins.

The process of sanctification means that those who are in Christ are transformed from the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Sanctification will never be fully completed in this life, i.e. believers will always face residual sin. Paul describes this struggle with sin in Romans 7: 15-25. In this passage he notes that even when he wants to do the good in the eyes of God, he often does the bad instead. He does the bad he doesn't want to do and fails to do the good he wants to do. With this he describes the struggle with the sin of every Christian.

James says we all sin in many ways (James 3:32). We know from experience that everyone struggles with sin in his own way; perhaps one type of sin is more of a stumbling block for one Christian than for another. For one it may be anger, for another it may be gossip or lies. If we are particularly struggling with a sin, it could be called a "persistent" or "habitual" sin. Often, but not exclusively, these persistent sins are unbelieving habits that require more grace and discipline to overcome.

Part of the process of overcoming habitual or persistent sins is realizing the transformation that actually took place in the believer. Paul writes: "Respect for people who have died of sin and live for God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). When Paul says, “Think of yourselves as people who have died to sin,” he is asking us to remember that the power of sin in our lives has been broken by coming to believe in Christ. He uses the metaphor of slavery and bondage to make this clear. We were servants of sin at one time, but are now servants of righteousness (Romans 6: 17-18). On the cross the power of sin was broken, and by becoming Christians we are set free from the bondage of sin over us. Hence, when a Christian sins, it is no longer out of necessity of his nature, but because he willingly submits himself to the rule of sin (Galatians 5: 1).

The next part of the process is recognizing our inability to overcome habitual sin and the need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit from God who dwells within us. Back to Romans 7. Paul says: “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good. I have will, but I cannot do what is good ”(Romans 7:18). A Christian's struggle against sin means that our ability does not match our desire. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul later writes: “But if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit that dwells in you. “(Romans 8:11). The Holy Spirit works to sanctify God's people through the Word of God (John 17:17). Habitual sin is overcome by submitting to God and resisting the temptations of the flesh (James 4: 7-8).

Another part of the process of overcoming habitual sin is changing the habits that favor sin. We must adopt the attitude of Joseph, who, when tempted by Potiphar's wife to go to bed with her, left the room so quickly that he left his robe in her hands (Genesis 39:15). We must simply direct all efforts to flee from the things that lead us to sin. For example, this could mean access to food when we are prone to overeating and access to pornography when we are prone to sexual sin. Jesus tells us to cut off our hand or tear out our eye if they “deceive” us (Matthew 5: 29-30). It means removing everything in our lives that makes us sin, even if those are things we love to do. In short, we need to change the habits that lead us to habitual sin.

Ultimately, we need to immerse ourselves in the truth of the gospel. Not only is the gospel the means by which we are redeemed, but it is the means by which we are sanctified (Romans 16:25). If we think we are redeemed by grace but sanctified by our own efforts, then we are wrong (Galatians 3: 1-3). Sanctification is as much the work of God as is righteousness. Scripture promises us that he who began the good work in us will finish it on the last day (Philippians 1: 6).


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How can I overcome habitual sins?
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