Easter – A way of escape
1 Corinthians 10:13,
13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
According to this Scripture, it is possible to live without sin, which is why Jesus gave Himself up for us. [The sacrifice of animals covered the sins of the Israelites, delivering them the consequences of their sins. The sacrifice of Jesus took away sins, adopting us into the kingdom of God wherein there is no sin.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
7 for he who has died is freed from sin [Thus consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus].
Peter speaks to the truth of this:
1 Peter 2:21-24,
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 4:1, 2,
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
God is our Father and He disciplines us, teaching us obedience. We, in turn, endure the sufferings of His discipline and grow from infancy to adulthood. By the time we reach adulthood we should have learned to obey the Lord sufficiently and live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of the flesh, but for the will of God, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Sin dwells within each of us because we were conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity. We are born with sin dwelling in us, for we are the descendants of sinners. The human race has sin dwelling within it, and sin will remain in it until the human race is done away with.
However, if any do sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If we continue in sin we become the Lord’s adversaries, working against Him, refusing to learn obedience, and refusing to take the way of escape He provides for every temptation common to man, so that we may be able to endure each and every temptation.
As for those who believe that Christianity is a heart issue and not a works or performance issue:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
God has placed us in the body of the risen Christ and left us in our earthly bodies of flesh and blood so that we might do the good works He has prepared beforehand for us to do.
So Christians, that is, all who abide in Christ, draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, and do good works, not bad, for their hearts have been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water.
20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.
23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
If evil deeds proceed from within the heart of a man, it stands to reason that righteous deeds also proceed from within the heart that has been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, just as Paul alluded to in Philippians:
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead so that we might be delivered from the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of the light that now shines in our hearts. Thank God for Easter Sunday!
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org