By Ryan Shaw
Soon after a believer is born again, we become conscious of the real battle within—the clash between the flesh and the Spirit. It becomes evident, rather quickly, that the flesh frequently wins.
This concept is crucial in our day. When tolerance of sin in the Body of Christ is growing more blatant every day, we must know how to effectively fight against it in our midst.
The lines are being drawn among professing believers. Those compromising their calling to biblical holiness will become more irrelevant while those clinging to Jesus’ terms of holiness will grow in spiritual authority and usefulness.
We hear about victory over sin through Jesus, but practically have never experienced it and subtly doubt such victory is possible. To overcome, we internalize the truth of the two sides of Jesus’ work for us in order to live according to our inheritance of spiritual victory.
We are fully “in Christ,” and Christ is fully “in us.” True Christianity motivates believers to receive from God. Our inheritance is not in what we do for God, but in what we enter into through what He has already made possible through historical fact. Galatians tells us that we are heirs with Christ, partakers of the promise. We enter into His inheritance with Him.
First, we have been placed “in Christ.” Because of our position in Jesus, not earned or attained by us, we are recipients of all He endured and went through. We are given a new position before the throne of God based on nothing we ourselves have done or accomplished.
It is solely because we are “in Jesus Christ.” All His work becomes our work. When Jesus was put to death, we died with Him (our natures bent on sin with no power to overcome it) because we are in Him. But Jesus’ work did not finish there.
He was buried, resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Because we are “in Christ” we have been raised to life in Jesus and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The reality of our death in Christ and His resurrection enables us to live in triumphant victory over sin just as He has.
This is not mere “doctrine,” but meant to be lived out experientially as our very inheritance in Jesus. We do not work to attain such an inheritance. We receive it by faith as already ours.
Second, Christ “in us” gives power to live worthy of Him and bent on His purposes. “In Christ,” we have received His finished work as our own. Christ “in us” gives us His power.
Jesus gives us His dynamic life for the sake of living through us as the only One who satisfies God’s heart. Jesus’ life, actively emanating through us, is the only life which gives God satisfaction when He looks upon believers. Our own self-efforts come up completely short every time.
He is given to me! I no longer live, and He now lives His life through me (Gal. 2:20). It is literally His powerful life activated within mine. This is not something I attain to but done as soon as I choose to receive His life within mine.
Jesus has provided all we need to live victoriously in this battle. Yet the only way is to allow Him to manifest His life in us and through us. This is the essence of the Good News of the gospel.
Jesus saves, initially from eternal separation from Him, and then throughout my lifetime, by overcoming sin as He roots it out making me holy (the process of sanctification).
This doesn’t come about by gritting my teeth and trying harder not to sin. This is self-effort trying to be holy and ultimately fails leaving us feeling hopeless.
God’s only way is that we surrender our notions of overcoming sin in our strength and receive Jesus’ very life in us to overcome sin. We do this by thanking Him for His overcoming grace in every situation we face.