Self-Replacement, Not Self-Improvement


The key to overcoming sin is not more effort but, rather, dependence on the power of the resurrection.

Romans 6:1-14

Do you ever become discouraged because you just can’t overcome a certain sin? You feel awful every time you realize that you’ve given in to that familiar temptation. In desperation, you cry out to the Lord for forgiveness and promise that you’ll never do it again. But despite your best efforts, you all too soon find yourself in the same sinful rut, wondering why you can’t gain victory in this area of your life.

One reason we sometimes struggle in our walk with Christ is because we don’t understand the transaction that occurred at our salvation or the resources He’s made available to us. We have been united with Him in His death to sin and in His resurrection to newness of life. We are no longer the person we used to be, because Christ now lives in us through His Holy Spirit.

Although we have an entirely new life in Christ, we still live in what Paul calls “our body of sin” (Rom. 6:6). However, we now have His power to overcome sin, so we are no longer enslaved to it. And one day, when we are released from the power of our flesh—either upon our death or at Jesus’ return—we will be free from even the presence of sin.

Until then God calls us to know and believe that the power of sin has been broken in our lives. The desires of our sinful flesh can never be overcome with self-improvement, but only by self-replacement—Christ living in and through us. Instead of responding to temptation with our fleshly nature, we can choose to respond according to Christ’s resurrection power, because we have died to sin and now live for Him.

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