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Ask The Pastor

January 10, 2003

> Question:

> Why is it no matter how I try that I just can't seem to shake off my
> old sinful practices? Could it be that I'm not saved? No matter how
> many times I ask the lord to forgive me I still fall back into sin.
> Please HELP!!!

Donald,

It is more than a matter of salvation. You are simply being honest about something that every believer has to deal with. It has to do with understanding that a principle of sin is resident in our earthy bodies. The ancients spoke of this as the 'evil inclination.' I'll share on this briefly.

First, there are three levels of life that a believer can relate to. The first level is our former life as a sinner. At that time we sinned by nature and weren't much concerned about it. Another level is the heavenly life that we look forward to, that is, where sin will never again be present in our lives in any form.

But the problem is our NOW life. In our present life we are sort of betwix and between the other two lives. Sometimes we wonder if we are saint or sinner. At times we feel very refreshed and at liberty in our spiritual life, then at other times we feel our sins very deeply. But this only means that we are in good company. This is what makes the Bible such a wonderful book. It openly shares the struggles, the failures, along with the victories that are common to all God's people.

Read the testimonies of God's great servants of the past. You will find each of them expressing this very same struggle that you are expressing. Even the great apostle Paul spoke of it, when he said, "For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want." (Romans 7:19)

But it was also the apostle Paul who pointed us to the answer. The answer is three-fold. First, always keep in view that the sin debt has been fully paid. Paul said that our sins will not be called into account. This means that Jesus not only died for our sins, but He gave us His life in exchange. For this reason Satan can never successfully accuse us before the Father. We have an eternal advocate in the Son.

Secondly, Paul said that the only way we can walk in victory over the sins of the flesh is to realize that the victory of the Spirit. His point was that no believer can defeat flesh with flesh. You can't keep enough rules, or punish yourself sufficiently, or make enough vows and promises to bring the flesh into submission. It can only be done by the power or the Spirit. And every believer has this power of the Spirit deep within them.

Thirdly, is in learning to appreciate the work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of our sins, who causes us to receive our forgiveness, who actually points us in the way of release and victory. The reason for this is because the Spirit and the flesh are at enmity with one another, and the Holy Spirit will never let the flesh rest as long is it is taking advantage of a believer. The Spirit wins out by bringing the believer back to the cross.

This does not mean that we are without responsibility. The key is to learn to live in and by the Spirit. And even in times of slip up, come back to the cross. The blood will always be sufficient to cleanse our conscience from the workings of sin in our life.

Finally, and I say this as a way of helping in particular, it is important to understand that sin begins with a seed thought. If you will learn deal with these 'seeds' quickly, then the true victory will always be close at hand.

There is more to be said, but I hope this will help a bit. (Learn to replace bad habits with good habits.)

Blessings,

Buddy

Bro. Buddy Martin - Ask the Pastor

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Lawrence "Buddy" Martin
email: Bro.Buddy@ChristianChallenge.org
Web: http://www.ChristianChallenge.org

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Christian Challenge International
300 Pearce Road
Pineville, LA 71360
318-640-4300