War - Know His Tactics, Temptaion
Pastor Matt is in a 5-week series entitled "War." This past Sunday (Week 3), he talked about the enemy's (Satan's) tactics of temptation. Matt began by noting we must remember that our enemy is a liar and tries to shackle us with lies, knowing that he truly doesn't have any legitimate power or dominion in the life of a Believer.
So how does it happen? Matt explained that while unbelievers can't help but sin (Ephesians 2:1-3), Believers don't have to listen, much less give in, to satan's lies, as they are a new creation with the Spirit of God indwelling their new nature; e.g., satan nor sin has dominion (sovereignty or control) in the life of a Believer.
Matt noted that bereft of any power, Satan will attempt to lure believers into giving in to certain sins through ignorance, doubting or outright unbelief of the truth. Thus, if the Believer struggles with sin due to the enemy's enticements, it will typically be due to:
- Sin consciousness rather than righteousness consciousness – typically due to legalism or law-focus being the strength of sin:
- A lack of knowledge of the truth of God's Word concerning them; or
- A lack of belief of the truth of God's word if they are knowledgeable of it.
Sin Consciousness - Many Believers/Churches seem to focus teaching "against sin", typically having a "thou shalt not" law-centered approach (either Mosaic Law or their own "church laws"). While sin in the Believer's life is certainly something to be avoided, a "law focus" is not the way the rightly divided Word teaches such avoidance. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:56 clearly points out that "the strength of sin is the law", meaning that trying to overcome temptations by pointing to "rules" against specific sins actually results in greater enticement to commit those sins rather than the reverse.
Ignorance of the Truth – Some seem to not focus on knowledge of the Word at all, such that Believers are ignorant of the truth. Keeping Believers in such ignorance is perhaps the greatest method the enemy has for "trapping" us in "sin cycles"; e.g., ignorance makes one easy prey. This is why, at Heritage, we have such a focus on getting people involved with Bible study groups (318 for men & Renew for women) to learn the Word and particularly the truths of the Word for believers in this Dispensation of the Grace of God.
Unbelief of the Truth – It is one thing to know the truth and quite another to have rested belief in the truth (not just head knowledge but heart knowledge). Until one comes to rested belief in the truths of the Word, the "how" of victorious living will remain elusive. It's like asking whether I am "only a sinner saved by grace" (Ephesians 2:8) or am I the "righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Both statements have Biblical basis, but one looks back on what we "were" prior to salvation and the other looks to the "but now" of God's grace having made us righteous!!
Until the Believer sees that the old things of the former life have been done away (dead), that they are NOW (not someday) a new creation, and comes to rested belief in this truth; the tendency is to focus on what we are trying to avoid instead of WHO WE ARE. And it is only as we have rested belief in the truth that we have been made (past tense) righteous in Christ that such belief transforms our lives and that, because we are not under law but under grace, we will recognize that sin does not have dominion or reign over us!