God has already provided all the necessary power to overcome anything—it only makes sense that He would—but He has provided that power by virtue of His Son dying on Calvary’s cross. No human being, from the beginning of time until now, has ever been able to overcome sin using human willpower, and almost all believe that they can, but the truth is that we were never meant to overcome sin by will power.
I know that there are many who say that there is no such thing as sin. Others say that a person should never mention sin or any other term like that; because mentioning sin creates a sin consciousness within a person, and therefore causes them to sin. That is not true! And sin does exist!
To deny sin is to deny the Word of God, and to say that we should never mention sin is once again saying that the Word of God is wrong. According to those theories and many others like them, God was wrong to mention sin in the Old Testament, and Jesus and His disciples were wrong to mention it in the New Testament. None of that is correct. John said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (I John 1:9-10) He also said, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2)
Yes, sin does exist, and if we sin we are exhorted to confess that we have and to ask God to forgive us. How much clearer could it be?
Satan is one of the most powerful angels that God ever created, and maybe the most powerful, and our human willpower is no match for him. Not only that but the very sin nature that is within us, that we were born with, is constantly, constantly pushing and driving us in the direction of sin. The Apostle Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”(Rom. 7:18)
He also said, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”(Rom. 7:21) The Apostle Paul, who wrote 14 books of the Bible, preached to and planted dozens of churches, saw miracles done, even to the extent of raising a man from the dead, and even died himself for the name of Christ, could not overcome the evil, i.e. sin, by the means of willpower, and so why would anyone else believe that he couldn’t do it but I can? If Paul couldn’t overcome sin with willpower; for that is what he said, “to will is present with me;” then none of us can.
Now, I know that most Christians would say, “I am not trying to overcome sin by willpower, I am trusting God, but the truth is, most every Christian is attempting to overcome by willpower, all the time not realizing that they are and because it is so easy for us to trust in self and try to call it God. We so easily fall into the trap of wrestling with the Lord, as with Jacob, and not realizing Who it is that we are wrestling with (Gen. 32:24-32). We think that we are wrestling with sin and that God is helping us to do so, when in fact, God has already defeated sin, and we are attempting to defeat it again. Which brings me to my next point.
If we are trying to overcome sin using willpower, then we are rebelling against God. I am sure most would not agree with that, claiming that they are doing God’s will by trying to live a good life or keep the commandments or whatever way one might explain it, but the truth is, if we are attempting to do the good and not the evil ourselves, then we are eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil all over again. The truth is, a Christian may study the scriptures to the extent of even memorizing vast portions of the Bible, and there can be nothing more profitable than that for the child of God, and yet if that Christian is attempting to do what the Bible says to do by any means other than faith in the Cross of Christ, then that Christian is living in a state of rebellion against God. That seems like a strange statement to most Christians—that studying the Bible and attempting to do what it says to do could be counted as rebellion—but the truth is, once again, that no one, in all of history has ever been able to obey God’s will outside of faith in Christ and Him crucified. In fact, we were never meant to do the good outside of the Cross. We were meant to have the righteousness of God by means of the Cross. God has provided the cross of Calvary, i.e. the Tree of Life, to defeat sin, and defeat it it has. And so if we try to use willpower, we are trying to circumvent God’s way of salvation and freedom, and we are therefore rebelling against Him. Paul also said, in another place, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”(Gal. 2:21) When he says for if righteousness come by the law, he is saying if righteousness could be had by keeping, or trying to keep the law, then there was no reason for Christ to die on a cross, and God made a mistake in doing so. And, of course, we know that God did not make a mistake. No, the way to righteousness is not by trying within one’s own ability to keep the law—and the Bible is God’s law—but the way is by believing that Jesus fulfilled the law at Calvary. He overcame the law by keeping the law perfectly and imparted that perfect righteousness to us by dying in the place of those who could not keep the law, of whom were all of us.
Now, I am not saying that it is wrong by any means to do what the Bible tells us to do, but what I am saying is that if one places one’s faith in the sacrifice of Calvary, thereby believing that that is the only access point we have to God and the only access point that He has to us, then that man or woman will begin to do what the Bible says to do without having to try. It will come automatically. In the gospel of John, he writes: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” So, in such simple terms as that, Jesus here is saying that in order to do the works of God one must believe on Him whom God has sent. For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son… and God sent His only Son to be sacrificed for us. Therefore, the way to do what is good and right and acceptable unto God is to believe on the one who was sent to be sacrificed, i.e. Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Do we not realize that we have, as Christians, available to us the Holy Spirit and because that Jesus fulfilled the law and overcame sin at Calvary?
Do we not realize that we were never meant to have the knowledge of good and evil, at least not by experiencing evil? We were never meant to eat of that tree, and we are still not meant to eat of that tree. We are meant to walk in the will of God Almighty, to live a righteous and holy life, to fulfill the law of God by eating from the Tree of Life, and that tree is the Cross, and Christ is the fruit of that tree.
The book of Exodus is probably the most striking example, given in type, of how God through the Holy Spirit saves us and then sets out to change us and mold us and shape us, and He does it all because of the sacrifice of the Lamb. Now, let it be understood that these are true events; they are not fairy tales. I know many have come along in modern times and tried to say that these things talked about in the Bible are just stories, legends, made up fables, but those who say such things will one day know that they were wrong. But the Holy Spirit is a mastermind, and of course He is, at shaping and molding events in such a way that they paint a perfect picture of whatever it is that He wants. In other words, He is the greatest author of all time, and His manuscript is time, history, creation, the earth and indeed the whole universe.
Now that does not mean that the subjects of the Bible were forced against their wills to do the things that they did. It only means that God knew through omniscience what they would do, how they would react, and what steps to take to make them successful or unsuccessful.
The first Passover, which took place in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were held captive by the Egyptians, paints one of the most beautiful pictures of the sacrifice of Calvary in the entirety of the Old Testament. It was that event, the killing and eating of the Passover lamb and the striking of the blood on the doorposts and the header, that broke the Egyptian yoke and set the people of God free. And it was that event that saved God’s people from death, hell, and the grave, for He said, “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”(Exodus 12:23) The inference is that the firstborn of the Egyptians were representative of sin or the sin nature, and the angel of the Lord came through to smite the sin. But let it be known that the firstborn of the Hebrews were equally representative of sin. Had it not been for the blood of the Lamb applied to the doorposts, God would have been forced to destroy the sinner with the sin, but because that the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world, has come and given His life in place of the sinner, when God sees the blood, which has been applied to the hearts of all who will believe, He will pass over the house and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto you.
The major part of this story I wish to speak to is that of the dilemma that the people of Israel found themselves in just shortly after the Passover was ended and the Egyptians not only let Israel go, but they thrust them out. Moses had led the people, at God’s command, by way of the Red Sea.
“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord….And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore do you cry unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift you up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”(Exodus 14:10&13-16)
Pharaoh in this instance is a type of Satan, as he was all the way through the Exodus story; at least up until this day. This would be the end of him. His men and chariots are symbolic of the hoards of demon spirits that Satan has at his command. All of this is what the child of God faces, and these attempt to either take back the soul that has been saved or to destroy such a soul if they cannot pull it back into captivity. And let it be known, all of us are just as helpless against sin as the children of Israel were against Pharaoh. Pharaoh was coming with an army of chariots and horses and he had the people of Israel boxed in. If the people of Israel would have turned and tried to fight with Pharaoh or even to reason with him, they would have been destroyed.
God tells Moses to tell the people a few somewhat strange statements here: number one, He tells the people that “the Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace”. Then He asks the question, “Wherefore cry you unto me?”
In both the statement and the question, it seems that the Lord is telling the people to be quiet—to quit whining in essence. In some ways, that is exactly what He is saying, but there is a good reason for it. In the first place, the Lord is in fact saying that regardless of how bad the situation may look, the people have nothing to worry about. They have nothing to fear; they have nothing to complain about. They have come through the blood, i. e. the Passover, and now God is their power source, their protector, their shield and their exceeding great reward. The Lord through the Psalmist said: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:10-11) Faith here is demanded and two different aspects of faith. Faith in God is demanded, in that God is able to deliver and protect from anything and everything, and faith in the sacrifice, i. e. the Cross, in that the price has been paid in order that God may call us His own. And God always takes care of His own!
God is telling the people of Israel that there is no need to cry out to Him for help in this situation; because, in fact, He has already provided that help. Indeed, He provided everything on the day that the sacrifice was made and the blood believed in and therefore applied to the house. Likewise, in that Christ was sacrificed on our behalf, at Calvary, and our faith was enjoined on the day that we were born again, God has already provided all of the power and protection and deliverance that we will ever need.
Let me say it another way: when we see circumstances and situations in our life that are indeed threatening to destroy us, we need not in such instances beg and plead to God for help. In fact, if we do such it is in some ways a lack of faith, but let that also be understood properly. In fact, it is not wrong to seek the help of the Lord, and in fact we should seek such, but God has already provided all the help that we will ever need at Calvary. He did so by paying the wages of sin, which is death, by offering His own son Jesus in place of those who will believe in Him. Through the Cross, we have become the property in essence of God the Father. He paid for us with the life of His Son. That is what Paul meant when he said, “you are not your own; you are bought with a price.”
Now, in general, all of the universe belongs to God, but specifically, God has given mankind the freedom to choose not to belong to God. It seems strange, but in fact all who have come from the loins of Adam and the womb of Eve, and because they chose not to belong to God, are in fact not His. God lays no claim to them; because He has given them that freedom, and He will not take it away from them. But God gave the life of His own Son, Jesus, in order that those who believe in Him may be brought back in to the sheepfold and become the property of God.
But here is the scenario that we are really talking about: When Jesus died on Calvary’s Cross, He died on behalf of every human being on earth and for all time. In fact, salvation, deliverance, victory and even heir-ship with Christ has been purchased for every man and woman who has ever existed and who ever will exist. However, all of that does no good at all for those who will not accept it and believe it. In other words, the Tree of Life, in the midst of the Garden, won’t do you any good if you just stand there and look at it, or deny that it exists, or walk away from it thinking that it doesn’t apply to you. And so that, in a nutshell, is why most of the world is not saved. They deny, disbelieve, ignore and even outright reject the Cross of Christ.
However, for those who will accept the Cross and what Christ has there done, the Lamb has already been slain, the price has already been paid, and the blood has already been applied to the doorpost, and so when you find yourself standing face to face with the Red Sea, and it seems that Satan and all his cohorts are coming to destroy you, know that that sea is going to open, that mountain is going to move, and you are going to make it through; because you belong to God.