How Do We Overcome Sin?

The following is taken from a message given at the Advance Conference in 2009 by Bryan Chapell (audio here, video here).  I’ve inserted questions to guide quotes from his message.

Why Do We Sin?

“What is the only reason that sin has any power in your life?  The answer is: because you love it. If it did not attract you, it would have absolutely no power over you.”

So How Do We Overcome Sin?

“If it is love for sin that gives it power in your life, what is going to overcome the power of sin?  A surpassing love. The gospel has an agenda.  And that agenda is made clear from the beginning of the Bible and all the way through.”

“As important as duty and doctrine are, they are not the first priority.  The first priority is that [we would] love Jesus above all.  Because when people are filled up with love for Christ, the love for the world is pushed out of their hearts and the power of Christ is now in their lives.”

“Love for Christ is the most powerful force for obedient living.  In fact, the aim of the gospel always… is not simply duty and doctrine, but a compelling love for Christ.”

How Do We Gain This Love for Christ that Overcomes Sin?

“If you say, ‘Alright, the power of the gospel is love for Christ,’ then you have to say,  ‘What’s the source of love for Christ?  Why do we love God?’  Because he first loved us.  So if I’m trying to stimulate and fill up people with love for God, what am I going to tell them about?  His love for you [in Christ].”

Thank you, Bryan.  To summarize:

  1. We sin because we love it.
  2. We overcome sin by gaining a surpassing love for Jesus Christ.
  3. We gain this surpassing, sin-overcoming love by seeing and savoring Christ’s love for us in the gospel

God’s love for us in Christ –> Produces our love for Christ –> Which conquers our love-affair with sin.

The Christian life is one of telling ourselves and others about God’s great love for us that shines brightest on the cross… over and over again.  The way in which we are actually empowered to conquer sin is not by trying to overcome it in our own strength, but by believing that Jesus died because of our failure to overcome it.  Jesus, the the only one who did overcome sin in his life, was suspended on the cross as one who was conquered by it.  It’s only as we grow in our understanding of this love for us that we will be transformed in such a way that sin looses it’s grip on our hearts.

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