By Steven Chan
1. Sin is the big problem for man. The Bible declares: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… and the wages of sin is death” (Rom 3:23; 6:23a). Sin separates man from God such that man no longer was able to enjoy the fellowship and help from God (Isa 59:1-2). Sinful man stood condemned. Man’s ultimate destiny was “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41).
2. The good news is that God did not abandon man who was created in His own image (Gen 1:26-27). About 4,000 years ago God made known to Abraham His Plan to “bless all nations through his seed” (Gen 22:18). Paul declared that God fulfilled that promise in Christ: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Gal 3:8).
3. God’s plan for the redemption of man necessitated the sacrifice of His own Son as the propitiation for our sins: “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2).
God made this sacrifice because of the greatness of His love for man: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).
Rom 3:23-26: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Jesus “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed… For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet 2:24;3:18).
4. By God’s grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9), man can be set free from sin by putting our faith in Jesus as the Son of God who has paid the price to redeem us from our sins (1 Pet 1:8-19; Matt 20:28), repenting from our sins (Luke 13:3; 24:47; 2 Cor 7:10), confessing Jesus as the Son of God (Matt 10:32; Rom 10:9-10; Acts 8:37) and dying to sin, be buried with Christ in baptism for the forgiveness of sins and to be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life ((Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1-12). By being baptized into Christ, “our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.” (Rom 6:6-7).
5. Being freed from sin is one of the greatest blessings for the Christian: “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:22-23)
6. But having been set free from sin does not mean that we can now do whatever we want – no longer subject to the old law – and we may continue to sin that grace may abound!? (Rom 6:1-3). Paul declared: “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:2).
Paul went on: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Rom 6:16-18)
Paul urged: “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” (Rom 6:13-14).
7. Do we realize that we who have been set free from sin we are now to present ourselves as “instruments of righteousness to God”? That means we are to be useful vessels for God’s service: “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim 2:21) – just like Paul was a chosen vessel of God: ““Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15).
8. As God’s instruments and vessels for His honor, the apostle Peter exhorts us to “be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet 4:7-11).
9. We must be ever watchful against the devil who aggressively seeks to tempt us to sin: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Pet 4:8-9)
10. Our battle against the devil and his angels continues today: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 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” (2 Cor 10:3-5). We must take heed of the exhortation of our Lord Jesus: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41). The Bible says: “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” (Heb 12:3-4).
11. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus” (Heb 12:1-2).
Let us finish the race with our faith intact just like Paul: “The time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:6-8).
12. Having been set free from sin, we should not let sin reign again in our lives: “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…” (Rom 6:12-13). Don’t let the devil control your life to do his will; “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb 12:15). “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4b).