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What the Bible says about Struggling against Sin
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:20

This exchange with Melchizedek, right before the Passover evening, occurred on the heels of Abram returning victorious from a fight against multiple kings and their armies. Protection and deliverance from enemies are conclusive themes in the biblical use of the title, “Most High.”

Christians should consider this in relation to their enemies. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our fight is not with the peoplearrayed against us, but with the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness. These are the enemies who sow division within the church, who encourage offense to be given and taken, who fan the rumor mill, who stir the pot of circumstances, who work in the background to distract God's people from what truly matters.

The fiery darts of the wicked one fly and find their marks on any whose armor is deficient. These principalities often try to convince God's people that they are not good enough, that they are not worthy. They hold up sins as evidence, trying to blackmail Christians into giving up.

The Most High, though, blesses us with protection, if we ask for it. He blesses us with forgiveness, if we ask for it. Is there any righteous work God will not perform or any good thing He will not provide for His people?

Another enemy is the one we all face within: the carnal man, the old man, the flesh. This part of us will probably never completely die until we are incorruptible spirit beings, but we can hold it at bay through God's strength. All of our human efforts and setting of our wills would be useless without the Most High giving the victory.

In Romans 7, after Paul bewails the continual struggle he finds within himself, he asks, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (verse 24). He answers his own question: “I thank God—[He will deliver me] through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (verse 25). Once again, we see Christ, the Lamb, being provided as a blessing from the Most High as a means of deliverance.

The last enemy is death (I Corinthians 15:26). It will not be overcome until everything else has been overcome, and this does not happen until the resurrection from the dead. Our resurrection—our victory over death—is possible because our Captain went before us and blazed the trail (Hebrews 2:10). He is called the firstborn from the dead, showing that others will likewise rise from the dead. Thus, we see the Most High providing the life, death, and resurrection of His Son as a blessing to us so that we can follow in His footsteps, and even have the great enemy, death, delivered into our hands.

David C. Grabbe
Passover of the Most High God

Romans 8:20

God knew that man's continuous struggle against corruption would mature and perfect the character needed to be in God's Family. Because we possess the capacity to sin, when it is coupled with the determination to resist temptation to sin, the resultant effort becomes a spiritual exercise. Like a man training with dumbbells, the repeated resistance builds strength over time.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychologist and survivor of Auschwitz, cautions that it is a dangerous misconception to believe that man needs a continuous equilibrium or a tensionless state. He insists, "What man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him." The stress of attaining to a high standard or achieving a seemingly impossible quest betters a person. The bland, satisfied life means little, accomplishes little, and is remembered little.

David F. Maas
Fasting: Building Spiritual Muscle


 




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