Grace Alone: How Embracing the Finished Work of Jesus Led Me to Victory Over Sin
Sam, 32, Missouri, USA
[As told to Then God Moved editor Adira Polite]
When my wife and I got married, we were both nonbelievers. We were messes at the time. I was pursuing a career in music and dreamed of becoming a huge rock star. The two of us partied a lot and, with time, my love of drugs and alcohol turned into an addiction.
Soon after we got together, my wife lost both of her parents to cancer. Between her grief and my addiction, we came to the end of ourselves. Desperate for a change, we started going to church. Struck by the truth of the Gospel, we began following Christ.
Unfortunately, I quickly got caught up in legalism. In my mind, my salvation was tied to my own efforts to overcome sin. No matter how many times I tried to stop sinning, I couldn’t. So, I lost hope. I slipped back into my old drinking, partying habits and eventually quit going to church altogether. In effect, legalism successfully drove me away from God.
Fortunately, we felt led to visit another church, where we finally heard a message on God’s grace. I began studying grace and the work completed by Jesus. It was then that I realized that my sin and condemnation had been nailed to the Cross with Christ. Right before He died, Christ said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus completed the work. And when He rose three days later, His new life extended to us all. God had already given me victory over sin — why was I trying to overcome it on my own?
I found so much power in this truth. As I began focusing less on what I was and was not doing and more on what Christ had already done, I found true freedom from sin. The broken pieces of me just started falling off. I was no longer working overtime to avoid sin; because of the freedom and grace that I’d received, I simply did not want to sin. And now, even when I do slip up, I don’t mope around or feel like I have to atone — I just run right back to Him. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
To be clear, I’m not saying that sin isn’t a problem. Sin is a serious problem; it separates us from God. But Jesus has saved us from sin’s grip…He has made us righteous. The pressure isn’t on us; it was put on Him at the cross. Our fight against sin has already been won! Don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise. There is freedom in Christ — so, walk in it.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
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