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Christians in spiritual bondage need to know that they can obtain freedom from the endless sin-confess, sin-confess cycle that is keeping them in bondage.

After sinning all Christians should quickly: confess, renounce, repent, resist, and stand firm

  • Confess: acknowledge before God that you have sinned by calling the sin exactly what God calls it. Being very specific and when possible including what you did, where you did it, who you did it to, how you did it, and when you did it.
  • Renounce: to reject all association with something; either a sin or a lie you have believed
  • Repent: to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence
    of one's past sins; to stop doing wrong and instead to do right.
  • Resist: to set one's self against, to withstand, resist, oppose
  • Stand Firm: to persevere, to persist in your stand; to not change your position

Confess

1 John 1:9 (NET)
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 (NET)
So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

Renounce

Luke 14:33 (NET)
In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV)
But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

Titus 2:12 (ESV)
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age

Repent

Matthew 4:17 (NET)
From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Mark 1:15 (NET)
He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!”

Luke 5:32 (NET)
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:7 (NET)
I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.

Acts 3:19 (NET)
Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out

Romans 2:4 (NET)
Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NET)
9 Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.

2 Peter 3:9 (NET)
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Revelation 3:19 (NET)
All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent!

Resist

James 4:6-7 (NET)
“God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” 7 So submit [an act of humility] to God. But resist [do not submit to] the devil and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NET)
8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.

Hebrews 12:4 (NET)
You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.

Stand Firm

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NET)
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.

2 Corinthians 1:24 (NET)
I do not mean that we rule over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because by faith you stand firm.

Galatians 5:1 (NET)
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 6:14-18 (NET)
14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.

Philippians 1:27 (NET)
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel

1 Thessalonians 3:8 (NET)
For now we are alive again, if you stand firm in the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NET)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter.

 

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1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

People who are caught in the sin-confess-sin-confess-sin-confess cycle eventually begin to lose hope that they can experience any real victory over sin. Sheer willpower can't keep them from repeating the sin they just confessed, and Satan pours on the condemnation. Self-control seems like an illusion, and the Christian life is one of unending ups and downs.

Suppose there is a door you are commanded not to open. On the other side of the door is a dog that keeps insisting, "Come on, let me in. Everybody is doing it. You deserve to have a little fun. Who will know? You can get away with it." So you open the door and the dog roars in and bits you on the leg. Ironically, the dog instantly changes its story: "You opened the door. I have a right to be here. You'll never get away with this!" If such a thing happened, would you beat on the dog or on yourself?

Sin which is allowed to reign is like the dog that bits you on the leg and won't let go. Not realizing there is a dog, you beat on yourself for leaving the door open and cry out to God for forgiveness. He forgives you, but the dog is still there. Why not cry out to God and beat on the dog instead of yourself? James 4:7 tells us, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." We are correct in confessing our sin, but we have failed to follow the complete biblical formula which breaks the cycle: sin-confess-resist. We must first assume our responsibility for opening the door, then we must resist Satan and command him to leave if we are going to experience victory over sin.

We live as though God and a sick humanity are the only realities in the spiritual realm. We must turn to our righteous Advocate (1 John 2:1) and resist our perverted adversary if we are to experience victory and freedom over temptation and sin.

Prayer: Lord, show me where I have opened the door of my life to sin that I may confess it to You and command Satan to leave in Your precious name.

Dr. Neil Anderson, Daily in Christ a Devotional. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1993), December 8.

Painfully aware that we left the door open to sin, we cry out to God for forgiveness. Guess what God does—He forgives us! Actually, we are already forgiven. Confessing isn't asking for forgiveness; rather, confessing is acknowledging, "I did it." It is critically important that we confess to God and admit that we opened the door (we sinned). But that is not enough because the dog is still there and the door is still open. Rather than continuing the cycle of sin and confession, sin and confession, we should use a more complete process: confess, repent, resist, and stand firm. In other words, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Neil T. Anderson. The Bondage Breaker – The Next Step. (Eugene Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2011), 79-80.


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