“If you have been raised with Christ…” (Col. 3:1)
When we feel guilt for our sexual immorality we tend to focus on finding some technique of sanctifying ourselves.
Some Christians want a system, like “Ten Steps to Kill Sexual Immorality.” Others spiritualize our desire for self-powered sanctification and ask, “What must I do so that God will help me?” We pray long prayers and do good deeds, so that God, like a divine gumball machine, will doll out our freedom from lust. Still others of us ignore our lust and try to cure our guilt by blinding ourselves to the problem.
These methods are rooted in the prideful notion that we are capable of (and even expected to) sanctify ourselves. Yet the bible says all of our fleshly attempts at sanctification fail (Rom. 8:13). They either do not work or (even worse) succeed, so that your idol to sexual immorality resituates itself as an idol to you spiritual pride. We want behavioral modification, but the bible demands transformation.
We cannot transform ourselves, because sin enslaves us. Bondage does not rest. Slaves cannot choose freedom, they must receive it. We, too, need a liberator from our enslavement.
That’s why Paul does not give us a ten step program, special prayer, or magical discipline for fighting sin. Instead, he begins Col. 3 by saying “If you have been raised with Christ…” Our battle against sin hinges on a simple “If.”
If you are by the kingly liberator, Jesus Christ, then you can truly battle sin. We fail in our personal battles, but on the cross Christ succeeded. He paid the price for our sin, and defeated it by rising from the dead. If we also die with him and are raised with him, then we receive his victory. We become sons and daughters of God, who disdain their old enslaved identity.
When he rescues us, he transforms us and it’s better than silly self-powered sanctification. So before you try to fight lust, ask if you’ve truly been rescued.
see other Pull Up Your Pants posts:
- A Series on Battling Sexual Immorality (1)
- What is sexual immorality? (2)
- Only the Rescued (3)
- Dirty Lies We Love to Believe (4)
- Be Killing Sin or Sin Will Be Killing You (5)
- Stop Sniffing Your Vomit (6)
- Assured Christians Resist Lust (7)
- Replace Lust With Love (8)