Victory Over Temptation and Sin
How many poor souls are struggling against the power of sin—and yet never get any victory over it! How many are daily led captive by the lusts of the flesh, the love of the world, and the pride of life—and never get any victory over them! How many fight and grapple with tears, vows, and strong resolutions against the besetting sins of temper, levity, or covetousness—who are still entangled and overcome by them again and again!
Now, why is this? Because they know not the secret of spiritual strength against—and spiritual victory over them. It is only by virtue of a living union with the Lord Jesus Christ, drinking into His sufferings and death, and receiving out of His fullness—that we can gain any victory over the world, sin, death, or hell. Sin is never really or effectually subdued in any other way!
It is not, then, by legal strivings and earnest resolutions—vows, and tears, which are but monkery at best—the vain struggle of religious flesh to subdue sinful flesh—which can overcome sin. But it is by a believing acquaintance with, and a spiritual entrance into the sufferings and sorrows of the Son of God—having a living faith in Him—and receiving out of His fullness, supplies of grace and strength—His strength made perfect in our weakness.
A sight of Him as a suffering God—or a view of Him as a risen Jesus—must be connected with every successful attempt to get the victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. You may strive, vow, and repent—and what does it all amount to? You just sink deeper and deeper into sin than before! Pride, lust, and covetousness come in like a flood—and you are swamped and carried away almost before you are aware! But if you get a view of a suffering Christ, or of a risen Christ—if you get a taste of His dying love—a drop of His atoning blood—or any manifestation of His beauty and blessedness—there comes from this spiritual baptism into His death or His life a subduing power—and this gives a victory over temptation and sin which nothing else can or will give!
Yet I believe we are often many years learning this divine secret—striving to repent and reform, and cannot—trying to get better by dipping the Ethiopian into the washing tub—until at last by divine teaching we come to learn a little of what the apostle meant when he said, “The just shall live by faith.” And when we can get into this life of faith, this hidden life—then our affections are set on things above. There is no use setting people to work by legal strivings—they only plunge themselves deeper in the ditch! You must get Christ into your soul by the power of God—and then He will subdue—by His smiles, blood, love, and presence—every internal foe!