Overcoming Sin is a Team Effort

All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved- Joel (2:32) certainly knew what he was talking about.

Oh, I am sure there are many of you out there who were thinking Romans 10:13- big surprise: there’s nothing “new” in the New Covenant writings. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in there is from Tanakh. Yeshua quoted Torah, Shaul (Paul) quoted Torah, they all spoke about the writings of the Prophets (Nevi’im) and every law God gave to Moses is validated in the B’rit Chadashah (Good News), so the next time you read your KJV or NIV and it references something said in the letters to the new Messianic synagogues Shaul began with a quote from Yeshua, go further back and you will find that Yeshua quoted it from Torah.

But that’s another Drash. Today I want to talk about the teamwork between God, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and me, and you, and all of us who are trying to overcome sin in our lives.

God can and will forgive our sin, but we have to do our part. We have to be willing to follow the guidance of the Ruach. God will forgive sin, but up to a point. I know that sounds against Biblical teaching; after all, there is no sin too big for God to forgive, and the Prophets say (as Joel did) that if we call on God we will be forgiven. The teachings of the Talmudim (Disciples) of Yeshua all point to being able to have every sin forgiven. In light of this, how can I say God will forgive but up to a point?

I look back to Shomron, the Northern Kingdom. And less than two centuries after their destruction I see the nation of Judah, also destroyed and dispersed. God allowed them both to sin and fornicate with other gods for centuries before He finally had enough, at which time His forgiving and compassionate nature had to be overruled by the fact that He is still our Judge. He is a holy and righteous God, who will forgive sinners who wish to repent, and punish sinners who refuse to.

That’s the difference between those forgiven and those punished: when we work with God and the Ruach to overcome our sinful nature we can be forgiven over and over, but when we refuse to work at it, when we simply call out to God to forgive us but do nothing to sin less in our lives, then we will not be forgiven.

God isn’t stupid, and he sees the true desires of the heart. You can lie all you want to people about trying your hardest not to sin, but God knows if you really mean it or not. He is forgiving, He is loving and merciful, and He is also our Judge. When we come before Him, and we all will, He will decide based on His understanding of just how hard we really tried.

I talked with someone yesterday who told me that all who believe in Jesus Christ are saved. I disagree. Think about it: don’t the demons believe in Jesus Christ? Don’t they know that He is the son of God and the Messiah? Aren’t there many people who tell you how they believe in Him, yet you know that they are still living their lives the way they want to? Just saying you believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah and then ask for forgiveness in His name doesn’t mean you have arrived.

Sorry, Pal- it isn’t that easy; but, then again, it is that easy.

What makes your confession meaningful is the testimony to that confession you demonstrate during the rest of your life. It’s a team effort- God forgives, Yeshua’s sacrifice makes that forgiveness available to everyone, everywhere, and always, and when you ask Yeshua to ask God to send the Ruach to dwell within you (which you have to accept), then you have a guide. The Ruach is your ultimate “Life Coach”, your conscience, it’s Jiminy Cricket at your side helping you to realize what you want to do is not what you should be doing. And the final member of this team is you. It’s is up to you to work with the Ruach to overcome the desire to sin, and even if the desire never fully goes away, it’s still no excuse to sin. To get Freudian, your Id wants to sin, your Ego tells you not to, and the Superego is the Ruach haKodesh, keeping you in line morally and helping you to become more holy. But still, when all is said and done, the Id will never go away and you need to overcome it.

That’s how it works- we are all sinners, born into it and it is as basic a part of our psyche as is the desire to survive, the need for food and water, and the drive to eat all the oreo’s that exist in the world (well, maybe that one is more particular to me, alone.) In Judaism it is called the Yetzer Hara- the Evil Inclination. As we grow older, we fight it with the Yetzer Tov, the Good Inclination. When we, individually, realize and accept that God exists, that He has a plan of redemption and that Yeshua ha Maschiach is that plan, we then accept Yeshua as our Messiah, ask for forgiveness of our sins in His name and by His sacrifice we can be saved. Notice I said “can be saved”, not “are saved”- that’s what we all need to realize. It is free, it is true and it is automatic, and it is also on us to do our part to fulfil it.

“Calling on His name” has become a “tag line”, a hyped-up excuse for the real purpose of His sacrifice, which is to give us a means to overcome the result of our sins, namely sheol (hell) and eternal suffering. Yeshua’s sacrificial death atoned for us, but it doesn’t give us Carte Blanche to continue to sin. We are saved not by His sacrifice alone, but by our T’Shuvah, our “turning” from sin along with His sacrifice.

Salvation is not an individual event- it is a team effort. God, to Yeshua, to the Ruach, to you.

Get in the game; play hard; listen to and obey the Coach and win the only thing that is important: eternal peace.

Comments

  1. Steven R. Bruck
    Shelly Larmore May 11, 2015 at 09:43

    That makes a lot of sense! I’ve seen so many believers that swear they are saved. But their actions tell a different story. People tell me once saved always saved even if they turn their backs on God. That doesn’t make sense. I don’t believe that those who are able to turn their backs on God were ever saved in the first place. And those who are “saved” but continue the same sins don’t make sense either. For most I believe it’s a show. They put on a wonderful and amusing act and continue it. The Lord will forgive us but only if we truly are sorry for what we’ve done and really try not to do it again. Just my opinion!

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck May 11, 2015 at 10:35

      For anyone who believes ‘once saved, always saved’, read Hebrews 6:4. Even then they knew of people who would give up, and as for never being saved in the first place if they later reject the Lord, I think that is too Calvinistic for me. Why can’t we change our minds? Isn’t that all we humans always do? Are you saying that Judas was never a believer? That he never, ever followed Yeshua out of true repentance? And what about the statement in Revelations that says “most” will turn from the faith? And the parable about the sower and the seeds? Some of those seeds did sprout but the weeds choked them or the wind blew them away because they weren’t on solid ground. I believe those seeds were truly repentant, but couldn’t stay the course. I believe wholeheartedly that there are many who are repentant when they hear the Word and try, but fail. Failing doesn’t mean they never tried, and failing doesn’t mean they weren’t truly repentant, it just means they weren’t strong enough to finish the race. Salvation is easy to get but hard to hold on to.

Comments welcomed (just be nice)