The world around is full of people with addictions, but many do not even really think of them as addictions or even particularly sinful.
1. How is this a problem?
When we read the Bible, we see sin as it really is, as God sees it. In the book of Romans, the first three chapters prove clearly how everybody in the world is a sinner and guilty before God. This includes those who might be more obviously sinners, those who appear to have high morals, and also those who were Jews and had God’s law. Chapter 3 sums this up with a very solemn verdict:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
2. What can be done?
Thankfully it doesn’t stop there, and the chapter goes on to show how that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to come into this world and become the sacrifice for the sins that we had committed, to create a way whereby we can come to God and find forgiveness for all of these sins, past, present, and future. Romans 5 says that once we come to God for forgiveness we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). If we have this peace then we know that our destiny is secure, we have a home in heaven. We can know God and enjoy all that he has in store for us. He gives us a new nature whereby we can live for him as we should.
3. I am saved but I can't cut sin off
However, many reading this will be in the situation in which they have come to God and received forgiveness of their sins on the basis of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. They know this peace and relationship with God, and yet they still keep on sinning, and may well have addictions which they feel powerless to break.
Does this sound like you? Well keep reading because there is hope!
4. Can God help me?
First of all, we need to remember that we serve a God who is all powerful, and nothing is too hard for Him (see Jeremiah 32:27). He is fully able to free us from all sin and addictions, no matter what they might be. We might find it odd that true Christians should still struggle with sin and addictions, but if we read the Bible, in Romans chapter 7 we find an example of a Christian who is going through an intense struggle, of trying to break free from sinning and finding that they fail miserably. We do not know what specific sins they were struggling with, but this chapter and the chapters around it (chapters 6-8) explain what this struggle is about and how the Christian can get freedom from the power of sin in our lives.
Let's have a quick look at the teaching of these chapters.
5. What are the facts? - Romans 6
In Romans chapter 6 Paul outlines how the Christian is no longer under the authority of sin. I won't go into how that has happened (you can find that in the Romans course), however it is something that the Bible says we are to 'know', no matter whether or not our feelings tell us otherwise.
It is a fact. We are not asked to feel it, but simply to believe that it is so.
Just imagine that you change your job to a new employer. If you were to meet your old boss in the town, and they started to ask you to do work and give you jobs, would you do it? Well, you could do, but it would be a very odd thing to do, as you are no longer under their authority! You are now under the authority of your new boss. In Romans 6 the old boss is sin, and the new boss is God. When sin comes knocking and asking us to obey, we can simply say that we are no longer under its authority. We are told in this chapter to count this to be true in our lives ('reckon' it to be so) and to 'yield' our lives over to the new authority, to be here for God.
6. A real struggle - Romans 7
I have a question for you.
Do you sometimes try your hardest to live for God, like the person in Romans 7? But you find that while God has given you a new nature which has good desires, you still have the old sinful nature dwelling in you (called the 'flesh'), which still wants to do what is bad. And you find yourself in a constant struggle, as the old sinful nature keeps on winning. You realise that they do not have the power to resist. This is a struggle that many Christians will go through when they try to live for God. The person in Romans 7 ends up in despair and realises that they cannot do it; they do not have the power.
They then look outside of themselves for help, saying:
'Who shall deliver me?' (Romans 7:24)
They will find their answer in the Lord Jesus.
7. Deliverance at Last! - Romans 8
In this chapter, we read that the power of the Holy Spirit is able to give us all that we need to live for God and not fall into sins and addictions; however we first need to realise deep down that we are utterly weak and cannot do this in our own strength (a very hard and bitter experience to find out). We then need to turn in real faith to the Lord Jesus, believing that while we cannot do it, He can.
This is the secret to freedom from sins and addictions.
8. Give the Holy Spirit the space to act
Now, there is something else you need to know.
In Romans 8 (and other passages) we see also that to have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives we need to ensure that there is nothing that gets in the way, nothing that would hinder His activities, nothing that would offend Him. We experience His power in our lives when we are occupied with what is good, the things of the Lord Jesus; spending time reading His Word, in prayer and not spending time thinking about / watching / listening to things that would offend Him and only pander to our old sinful nature.
9. How about you?
I hope these verses are of help to any who are struggling with fighting against sin and addictions in their lives. The real key to remember is that the answer doesn’t come from within you. When you really discover that you can’t, the only next step is to look outside and find that God can!
Want to learn more?
Go, check out our Romans course and dig deeper into this amazing book!