Berta Jackson | Baltimore, Maryland
All of human history has been a tug of war between life and death, good and evil, redeemed and rejected. Will sin always win? The Bible says sin is in us from the moment we are formed. How then can we be free from it? Is it possible to run a good race, as Paul calls it?
Satan was the first sinner. He knows all about sin. He has had thousands of years to become an expert on sinning. He plays a role in our sin by capitalizing on our sin nature. If he (Satan) misleads and attempts to destroy us by our own sin, then we must find a way to not be misled. Satan has been described as the Father of Lies, so surely, he has an opposite. Is there a Father of Truth? Is there a remedy for Satan’s lies?
Hebrew and Greek words used for the concept of sin translate as transgression. To transgress means to “step across” or “to go beyond a set boundary or limit.” The logic follows that if there can be a stepping across, there is a set borderline. It’s in the Bible. God has purposely constructed the Scriptures for mankind to understand Him, His limits, and His way out of our proclivity to transgress those boundaries. God’s first limit was for Adam and Eve to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He gave them both a purpose and specific roles. But He also gave them a boundary to keep them in their purpose and roles. The story is familiar to us. The enemy tempted them by questioning the limit, they believed him, followed him, and here we are picking up the pieces. Afterwards, other limits and boundaries were made throughout the Old Testament and New. But “in the fullness of time” freedom from being bound by sin came. He was the Messiah.
Messiah in Hebrew is deliverer. Jesus is the promised deliverer. The Messiah was prophesied in many places in the Old Testament; a King of kings to come and defeat evil and sin. There is a familiar verse for every person to incline to in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV). What joy to know that we, as sinners, can have everlasting life away from evil and hell? But the follow up of this verse is important too. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (v. 17). Why is this important? The first verse gives us our understanding of our Savior, but the second verse gives us understanding of His role. So, Satan cannot confuse the Messiah’s purpose as he did Adam and Eve’s. Satan will mislead us into sinning, and destroy us because of sin. We must learn to live in the way that shows Jesus (the Messiah) is here to deliver us from sin and give us everlasting life.
We have hope for a way out of sin. Once I discovered that I could overcome sin through Jesus Christ, my world changed. But it did not change overnight. Transformation came gradually in many moments of victory. I lived my life dependent on many things: drugs, alcohol, relationships, emotions. I had no boundaries in my life, and certainly didn’t know how to create them for myself. By reading the Bible, I learned Scripture has God-breathed power in it. It is a weapon to use against the enemy’s tactics. When I’m in fear, I read 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control (NET). If I’m lacking in good thoughts, I turn to Psalms 23. I let the Good Shepherd lead me into good thoughts. There is also Psalm 34. What a great one! It starts with praise and then says,
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. I called, and the Lord heard; he saved me out of all my troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them!
That will get you thinking straight! Psalm 135 recalls wonders God has done.
Read the Scriptures. They are powerful. When temptation follows me around, harasses me, exasperates me, there is also a way out through faith in Jesus and His Word. To that faith, we must add knowledge. We must learn how to grow in faith and in how to defeat the enemy’s evil plans to steal, kill, and destroy. Knowledge is power, they say, and it is given freely by God. Free power! Oh, how He loves us! I am thankful God never leaves us helpless and alone in our sin. He made the way for us to find and walk in the freedom He gave us!