Thursday, April 25, 2019

Scriptures on How to Overcome

Most people in the Church of God know that the Bible teaches that we should be overcomers (Revelation 2:8, 11, 17, 26-27, 3:5, 12, 21). We need to overcome our sins and our sinful habits. We need to overcome Satan and his evil influence in our lives.

But how?

In my last post I quoted Romans 7:15-25 in which Paul described his struggle against sin. Included in this passage, Paul says, "for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find" (Romans 7:18).

Paul said that he did not find how to do what is good.

So a question is, how? How do we overcome?

There are some Bible passages that help to answer this.

"Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death' " (Revelation 12:10-11).

We overcome Satan by the blood of Christ and by the word of our testimony.

We must rely on and trust in the sacrifice of Christ to make our forgiveness possible. But we also overcome by the word of our testimony.

In the context of the above passage, this applies to martyrdom, for it says, "they did not love their lives to the death". But this can also apply, I think, to preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the world, sacrificing for this purpose even to the point, figuratively speaking, of death, not loving our lives in this world, but seeking to do God's will and finish His work (John 4:34-38).

Here is another passage that tells us how to turn from evil: "In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil" (Proverbs 16:6).

A way to turn from evil is to fear God. What does fear of God mean? It means we are afraid to go against God, afraid of the consequences of sinning against Him, afraid of His wrath and His punishment for our sins. God is stronger than we are, and every sin has consequences. It means we make our obedience to Him and our fear of Him very personal. Jesus said, as I quoted in my last post, "Yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:5).

When times of temptation come, we can recall God's power to discipline us and bring the consequences of our sin upon us. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life" (Galatians 6:7-8).

God has powerful control over our bodies, our health, and the circumstances of our lives in the world around us. He can bring pain and trials upon us even greater than we can imagine. And ultimately, He can cast us into the lake of fire. Do we want to provoke such a God against us by sinning?

Also, notice in Proverbs 6:6 that in mercy and truth atonement is provided for sin. This can tie in with a previous point I made, that our efforts to overcome are helped by sacrificing to preach the truth to the world. We show mercy to the people of this world - our neighbors - by supporting the preaching of the truth to them. They need a warning message of the tribulation to come upon them if they don't repent.

Here is one more passage. "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' " (John 8:31-32).

We need to abide in Christ's word, the word of God, and He promises we will know the truth and the truth will make us free. What kind of freedom is Christ talking about? Freedom from sin. "Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed' " (John 8:34-36).

We can abide in Christ's word by immersing ourselves in the Bible, striving to believe and live by the Bible, all of it. Christ said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' " (Matthew 4:4).

This is not an exhaustive list - there no doubt are many other Bible passages that teach us how to overcome sin. But these are a few that I find to be powerful scriptures that help me, and I thought I would share them.

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