The Devil would like for the child of God to think that he or she is still in bondage to sin. But sinful desire is no longer the only desire within us. When it was, it was all we knew. We sinned because that was all that we were: sinners!
But now we are being made something new! So certain is the completion of this work of God within us that He sees it as already done. In fact, He inhabits the day it truly will be done just as truly as He walks with us now as we struggle with the unfolding of it.
Some of this great work requires each of us to put his or her muscle to it along with God. Thus, Paul urges the Philippians,
“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Phil. 2:12, 13).
Some bits are very hard indeed. But nonetheless from where God sits He sees it as a thing already done. That is why Paul can confidently affirm,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).
This new Life within us will grow stronger and stronger the more we properly feed and nourish it. We do that by prayer, reading our Bible, obeying and worshipping God, being with other believers, and allowing His Spirit to work within us.
Long ago the apostle Paul wrote a letter to some believers in Galatia and explained about this: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:13, 16).
Jesus has set us free. He has pulled out from the mud and slime, stripped, washed and scrubbed us, burned those old clothes and given us clean, fresh, newly-pressed ones, perfumed us up, set our hair and polished our shoes. “Now, run along “ He says… “but stay away from the slime and mud!” How shameful for us and disrespectful to Him if we run again straight through it!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)
Now we are free… free to enter into places that require cleanliness. Let us work hard to stay clean, and when we sometimes get this bit or that bit somewhat soiled—or even fall face forward full in the mud again, let us run straight back to Him, admit our wrong, and he will scrub us new again. (See 1 John 1:9).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
Now we have another new nature; now at our crossroads we can choose…
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
Now we are, and are becoming, saints.
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