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Question

I love the Lord with all my heart but I struggle with sin. I want to go deeper with God.

Answer

Thank you so much for this wonderful question. It is great to read a question from someone who is hungry for God and whose heart and conscience are tender.

Your heart-cry is also the heart-cry of every Christian. In Romans 7, Paul wrote,

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:21-25)

If the great Saint Paul struggled with sin, after the experiences of God that he had and the miracles that had happened through his ministry, then it is no surprise that we do too.

In verses 15 to 20 of the same chapter, he wrote,

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:15-20)

Paul makes what seems an outrageous statement here. He says It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. He is now a new person, living by the Spirit; the new life that is his in Christ. The sin no longer comes from the real Paul, but from his old life, 'the flesh', that still hangs around doing damage and dragging him down.

In Romans 6, he gives a solution to this awful dilemma:

Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

The Authorised Version gives a stronger translation - 'Reckon yourselves dead to sin...'

The answer to sin in our lives lies in the work of Christ on the cross.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (Romans 6:5-8)

We are to reckon ourselves already dead to sin and alive to God. As we nurture the life of God in our lives, by faith, through the disciplines of prayer and hearing His voice, the new life grows stronger and the old life weaker. When we sin, we can say with truth that we have been delivered from sin and have only to look to God for forgiveness and restoration.

When we enter into self-condemnation, as we often do, we are acknowledging that the law of God is good and we are sinners, but we are also not acknowledging the work of Christ in our lives. We must take the same attitude as Paul - It is no longer I who do it. This does not mean that it is alright to sin, as Paul makes clear in Romans 6, but it does mean that we can put the sin behind us and go on with renewed faith and confidence that God has saved us and is at work in our lives.

Wanting more of God, going deeper with him, is the cry of every Christian who walks with God. Paul wrote,

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. (Philippians 3:8-15)

He writes of a righteousness that comes by faith which involves knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings. It is through death to self that we, in Christ, rise to resurrection life and are able, by faith, to live by the Spirit the resurrection life of Christ. In this place of victory, we can do His work and enjoy fellowship with Him in absolute joy and peace, producing the fruits and gifts of the Spirit as Christ did.

Paul acknowledged that he had not fully achieved this and still struggled with sin, just as we do. It was his goal to enter more and more deeply into it, by faith. We can do no more than make it our goal too, and emulate Paul. When we are tired and discouraged, we can only turn to God.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength. (Isaiah 40:28-29)

In summary, your struggle is the struggle of every Christian who has truly received Christ and your hope is their hope too. Paul expressed it in Romans 8:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

There is no condemnation, because Christ has done it all and all we can do is enter in by faith and the Word of God.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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