“Fixing” Behavior Problems
After coming into Christ all of us are given a new nature that comes with new desires. Deep down we all want to stop behaving like our “old man,” but all too often we go about it the wrong way.
When it comes to aligning one’s behavior with their new identity, there is nothing more crucial for a believer than the renewing of the mind. Transformation of a person’s behavior from that of a sinner to that of a saint is hinged on this one thing. Continue reading
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 every believer is a three-part being made up of a spirit, soul, and body. Understanding what this means is very important to understanding who you are, and how God relates to you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
The moment you believed in Jesus as your Savior, you were instantly made new. You were given a new spirit. This is your New Man, or New Nature. Your born again spirit (John 3:6-7) was created in true righteousness and holiness, according to Ephesians 4:24. God relates to you Spirit to Spirit, and therefore He see’s you as perfect forever, righteous, and holy. Sin can not penetrate your born again Spirit. (Eph 1:13) So even though you still sin, you ARE holy because of your new nature/new man/spirit. You do NOT have to try to earn your righteousness, because you are truly righteous!
When it comes to seeking God’s forgiveness, no amount of groveling, crying, wailing, fasting, confessing, or begging will do us any good in changing God’s disposition for us. Why? Because God’s economy is a blood economy. In order for Him to be appeased, blood has to be shed. But not just any blood. It has to be the blood of a spotless lamb! (1 Peter 1:19)
Fortunately for you and I, there was once a spotless lamb and that lamb was sacrificed on our behalf over two thousand years ago. His name was Jesus and His blood was shed to cover all of our sin – past, present, and future! (John 1:29)
This sacrifice is a free gift and available to all who believe. (John 3:16) So if you believe in and accept Jesus as your Savior, then your sins are taken away as if they never were. Believer, when you sin, stop groveling, crying, wailing, fasting, confessing, begging in the hopes that God might be moved to somehow show you grace and mercy and restore his goodness toward you.
All the grace and mercy you will ever need has already come. And because of Jesus, God’s favor is forever toward you. (Heb 10:14).
So is it ok to sin since we are already forgiven? Well in the strong words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 6, “By no means!”
When pure grace is preached, it should always provoke the Romans 6:1 question: “What shall we say then, shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” The answer to this is simple: Only if you are a lunatic! Although God’s grace through the work of Jesus on the cross covers all of our sins (past, present and future), once we understand His grace, we would have to be mental to still desire sin and continue in willful disobedience.
The absolute last thing a believer wants to do is give into sin. Sin is horrible, it is destructive and leads to death. But the key to stopping sin in our lives is coming to an awareness of these things:
Dealing with recurring, or chronic, sin is simply an identity issue.
Conventional “church” wisdom says that although we are saved, we still sin and are therefore still sinners only saved by grace. But I do not believe that is what the Bible says. In fact, I believe that this line of human reasoning is a great insult to the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Christ didn’t leave heaven, come to earth and perfectly uphold the highest standards of God’s righteous law, in the midst of unthinkable suffering, just so you and I could go around calling ourselves “sinners saved by grace,” while still remaining powerless over sin in our lives.
I believe that the key to stopping recurring/chronic sin in a believer’s life has to do with us coming into agreement with God about who it is that we actually are. I believe that our ability to walk a life free from sin is in equal proportion to the degree we understand our identity in Christ.
When John wrote, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17), what did he really mean?
Surely he didn’t mean that last part when he said: “as He is, so are we in this world”, right? After all Jesus wasn’t a sinner, and as Believers we are only sinners saved by grace, right? Well, actually, no… not really.
Many Christians today are confused about the covenants and what they mean. They are mixing the covenants together making their own version of the gospel, much like the Galatians who wavered back and forth between law (The Mosaic Covenant) and grace (The New Covenant).
“Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” Gal 3:2-3
I spent my entire childhood “in church.” If the doors were open, we were there. From church choir to youth group, church was a large part of my childhood that I carried over into my adult years. A few years ago I discovered something in the Bible called the New Covenant that I had somehow never noticed before. It isn’t something small either, like an interesting verse, but rather the New Covenant has entire chapters in the Bible devoted to explaining it. It is something foundational to understanding the gospel and interpreting the Bible correctly. Yet, for my entire 30+ years in the church I had never heard this New Covenant mentioned before. Which meant that for my entire 30+ years in the church, I was misunderstanding the Gospel.
I’ve often heard the phrase, “You are what you believe,” but it wasn’t until recently that I really started to understand what that meant. As I’ve studied the Word over the years I’ve come to understand more and more just how powerful and significant of a statement that is.
Proverbs 4:23 warns us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” In other words, what you think (believe) affects everything you do.
In his book, Victory Over the Darkness, Neil Anderson writes, “ Your understanding of who God is and who you are in relationship to Him is the critical foundation for your belief system and your behavior patterns as a Christian.” (Page 24)
So, what we believe about the Bible, the character and nature of God, and how He sees us and relates to us, forms our belief system, and therefore influences everything we do.