BYLINE4: As I saw advertisements about the "Halloween" movies in the recent week, I was reminded about some of the movies I watched in my younger years.
BYLINE5: The ones that scared the daylights out of you when you watched them at night, remember them? I especially remember watching "Night of the Living Dead," the original one. How terrifying it was to see them come up out of the ground and attack those who were alive and trying to escape.
My youngest brother and I were talking recently about how hard it is to keep from sinning. It seems as though no matter what I do, I end up in the same dilemma as the apostle Paul, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15)
It seems to be the greatest struggle of mankind to do what is right and pleasing to God. We, as Christians (Biblical definition) fail to realize that we are not in bondage to sin anymore. This life shouldn't be -- doesn't have to be -- such a struggle. Listen to Paul, in Romans 6:/2-4, "... We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, may live a new life."
Just like the zombies, we once lived an earthly, human, sin dominated life -- until we realized we needed to be saved from our sin (which brings death). Then, we went to the foot of the cross where we confessed our sins to God who "is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
According to Paul, at that moment we were "baptized into" Jesus Christ and baptized into his death. Then, because we were baptized into his death, we were also raised from the dead to new life with him. Unlike the zombies who were raised from death to death, we are raised from death to life. "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (Romans 6:6-7)
We are not to wander over the face of this earth in our old body of sin, but because we have been raised from the death to new life -- we are a "new creation, the old has gone, the new has come." (II Corinthians 5:17) When we give in to temptation and choose to sin, we are voluntarily going back to the "old" zombie existence, and denying we are a new creation.
What does this have to do with not sinning? "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Romans 6:18) We are no longer slaves to sin, we do not have to sin, are not obligated to sin, are not destined to sin. It should be as simple as 1) recognizing the temptation to sin; 2) drawing near to God; 3) resisting the devil and he will flee. (James 4:7)
I say, "... should be as simple as ..." but we all know it is not. The devil and his demons exist only to, "steal, kill and destroy." (John 10:10) They are good at it, and are merciless in their persecution of God's people. He is strong, but "greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world." (I John 4:4) When you are tempted to sin, recognize it for what it is: temptation; it is not sin unless you act on it.
After recognizing the temptation, immediately ask God for his help and protection, then tell the "enemy" (verbally if necessary) to leave you alone. You are a child of God, washed in the blood of Christ and are under no obligation to sin. In fact God can give us the ability to resist sin if we will only ask him for it.
Don't act like a zombie returning to walk with the dead. Choose life. Walk it, live it. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
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