People are like an iceberg, there is so much more under the surface than what you see. I knew I was forgiven and saved, but I struggled with wrong thinking for most of my life. I never had victory over my thoughts and emotions until I learned how to renew my mind and take my thoughts captive and heal my painful memories. Unfortunately, most people who receive forgiveness and salvation do not live in victory over their sinful thoughts, so they are hypocrites to the rest of the world who then don’t want to be forgiven and saved. In this post you will learn how to be victorious over your thoughts and sinful behavior, so you can be holy and righteous.
The following two promises define what being forgiven and saved are. God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sins (Psalms 103:3 and 1John 1:9). And, you have salvation from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 10:27, 14:6; 28; 3:16 – Romans 5:12; 6:23; 8:2; 10:9 – Ephesians 2:8 – Titus 3:4-7 – 1 John 5:13).
So, what is sin?
Webster’s dictionary defines sin as the disobedience of the moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act. The definition of moral is to know the distinction between right and wrong conduct or action. The truths in Deuteronomy 9:18, 1Kings 16:19, 1 Samuel 15:23, and 2Chronicals 12:14 explain that we do evil when we do not seek the LORD with our whole heart. Evil is to harm or destroy someone. Evil people are also called wicked and depraved. When we don’t seek the LORD with our whole heart then we too will do evil. Some of the sins listed in the Bible are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, evil desires, covetousness, greediness, witchcraft and sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, factions and divisions, dissensions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and orgies, outbursts of anger, hate, resentment, lying, stealing, and idolatry.
What is salvation?
Romans 3:23-24 explains salvation.
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and
- are justified by His grace as a gift, (see Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8,9)
- Justified– just as if I did not sin. Grace – getting what I do not deserve.
- through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
- Redemption –payment to restore a right relationship and to transform
- whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
- Propitiation– to pay a penalty to appease and make right again (reconciliation).
- to be received by faith.
- Faith is choosing to believe and trust that what God said He would do, He will do. Webster dictionary defines faith as believing something is true, real, etc., and to have confidence in a statement or promise. Though we did not see Jesus die to pay the penalty for our sins, we also do not see our justification by His grace. But by faith, we are confident we have it. We believe what is written by the Apostles because they went through the experience and witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They saw the curtain in the temple Holy of Holies being ripped in two and the great earthquake when Jesus died for us. Then over 500 people saw Jesus ascension into heaven, where he is now making intercession for us (see Hebrews 7:25).
2Thesolonians 2:13b states you are, “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (The Holy Spirit is truth, see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and 1John 5:6). To be sanctified is to be made holy and consecrated through belief in Jesus Christ and the truth (see John 17:17). 1Corinthians 6:11 explains that you will be “washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Though you are forgiven, saved, and sanctified you now must renew your thinking to be victorious over sin. All sin begins in your mind as a temptation. Temptations are enticements based on lies that generate unhealthy, false beliefs and create thoughts of offense. So, your mind needs renewing and transformed every day by the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2 states to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and Ephesians 4:23 states we are “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” Titus 3:5 states, “he [Jesus] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and 2Corinthians 4:16 states, “our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
Renewing your mind is removing sinful, evil desires and lusts by putting off these thoughts through prayer, then putting on the things of the Spirit; truthful thoughts found in the Bible. Ephesians 4:22-24 explains we are, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true. Deceit is the act of representing as true what you know to be false; a lie; a trick. Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.
Next week I will explain three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life.
There is hope to be victorious over wrong thinking and out-of-control emotions.
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P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).