It has been said that there are three aspects to addiction: spiritual, mental, and physical. The core of addiction is selfishness, which is the spiritual aspect of the dilemma. The other two aspects can be defined as “obsession” at the mental level, and “compulsion” at the physical level. When obsession and compulsion are combined with selfishness it becomes clear as to why sin, or any other addiction, is so hard to overcome (Romans 7:15-24). Thankfully, we can rely upon God to help us overcome sin (Romans 7:24-25).
Some believe that addiction is a disease. I tend to agree, and I think the Bible does as well. In Jeremiah 17:9 we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” However, when we look more closely at the original text we find that the term “desperately wicked” is actually better rendered “incurably sick”. And many Bibles will have this in the margin. Thus, God tells us that He will give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).
As with any problem, we have to face it squarely in order to conquer sin. The following is an outline for understanding and conquering sin. This outline was put together by Mr. John Ogwyn.
Anciently Israel went to Egypt, not seeking slavery, but seeking relief. Instead of the solution, Egypt proved the problem, ensnaring, enslaving and destructive. It was not only all of those things–it was also addictive–they kept seeking to go back to it. There are many addictions and compulsions that enslave people–alcoholism, gambling — but there is one universal addiction–SIN!
Let’s understand more clearly the enslaving addiction of sin and the solution that God holds out to free us from that addiction.
I. Characteristics of Sin
- A. Sin entices
- 1. James 1:12–15 (Gk. “deleazo” — to lure, entrap, entice)
- 2. 2 Peter 2:14, 18
- B. Sin intoxicates
- 1. Revelation 17:2, 6 (intoxicate: Latin “poison” — dulls and excites)
- C. Sin is addictive
- 1. Romans 7:15, 19 (addict: devoted, given over to, attached)
- D. Sin enslaves
- 1. John 8:34; Romans 7:14; 2 Peter 2:19
- E. Sin is painful and destructive
- 1. Romans 8:6; 6:23
- F. Sin’s hold is beyond human power to break
- 1. Romans 7:23–24
II. Solution to Sin
- A. Admit personal powerlessness – God let Israel hit bottom in Egypt
- 1. Romans 7:18–21
- B. Believe in God’s power to deliver
- 1. Romans 7:24–25; 8:31–32; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
- C. Come to turn the direction of our life (will) over to God – God didn’t lead Israel the way they expected
- 1. Romans 6:13, 16, 18
- D. Take inventory of our lives
- 1. 1 Corinthians 11:31–32; 2 Corinthians 13:5
- E. Admit our faults and trespasses
- 1. 1 John 1:8–10; James 5:16 (faults = “side-slips” cf Matt. 6:14)
- F. Become ready for God to change us
- 1. Romans 7:22; Psalms 51:1
- G. Humbly ask God to transform and change us
- 1. Psalms 51:2, 7, 9–13
- H. Become willing to make amends
- 1. Luke 19:2–9
- I. Make amends wherever possible
- 1. Matthew 5:23–24
- J. Continue to take inventory lifelong
- 1. Psalms 19:12
- K. Go to God to grow in knowledge of His will (prayer, etc)
- 1. Psalms 63:1
- L. Having had a spiritual awakening, share it with others
- 1. Romans 8:1–15; Psalms 51:12–13
Assurance of hope, help and deliverance is the message of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That hope, help and deliverance is through Jesus Christ. Only to the extent that we truly recognize our utter, total inability to save ourselves (to fix ourselves) that we recognize and accept God’s ability to do so, and proceed to unconditionally surrender to Him — to accept the literal LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ in our lives can we truly begin to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
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