1 Peter 1:3–5 (NKJV)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV)
“ [You have] been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
In our struggle with sin, people can sometimes hesitate over the doctrine of besetting sins. Does not 1 John say if you practice sin you are not born of God’s Spirit? But then in Hebrews it acknowledges that we have besetting sins and encourages us to get victory over them by looking to Jesus who is the perfecter of our faith.
As in all things God is the foundation in theology. God is the foundation in epistemology; He is the foundation for all metaphysics, not man. Salvation, and by extension sanctification is an subcategory of metaphysics and ontology. The doctrine of Salvation describes how God is using His absolute power and control toward the two groups of people in the earth, which are the Elect and reprobate. The foundational issue about a besetting sin and the outcome is not the person, but God. The deciding factor rests on whether God has used His power to give new-birth through the Holy Spirit. If so, then a besetting is an annoyance, whether short or long, that is overcome. If not, the besetting sin will overcome the person.
This is foundation. The consequence is seen in how a person deals with it in their faith or lack thereof.
1 John 5:16-17 LEB
If anyone should see his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he should ask, and he will grant life to him, to those who sin not leading to death. (There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should ask about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.)
Hebrews 10:35,36,39 LEB
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, in order that after you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
But we are not among those who shrink back to destruction, but among those who have faith to the preservation of our souls.
Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, putting aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, let us run with patient endurance the race that has been set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith….
….Therefore strengthen your slackened hands and your weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame will not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
The born-again Christian does not stop enduring; they do not shrink back. Again, the foundation is that God has recreated a Christian with HIS very own Spirit to empower them. Peter calls this the “incorruptible seed.” Remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17? He prays that we are made “one with Him” and “Him in us”! Why did Paul accuse Peter making Jesus a minister of sin, if the law justifies? IF what the gospel says is true, then consequences are real not imaginary. If I was remade into a cloud, then I would float. This is so simple a child can grasp it. If God says His Spirit is an unstoppable force that is part of the very DNA, as an inseparable part of the Christian soul, and an incorruptible seed, then IF you become corrupted, it infers God would be corruptible. The change from sinner and spiritual-death, to being recreated in the Spirit is a radical new creation. It is as if God made sons of Abraham from stones, no, even greater.
In Hebrews 12 verse 1, it says we have sins we repeatedly struggle with. Later in verse 12-13 is says to heal our broken hands. This is a spiritual metaphor. You are a new Spiritual creation, with an incorruptible seed. For a true Christian a besetting sin, is not a corruption of the incorruptible spiritual man, but a brokenness of his spiritual hand or foot. It is like having a dislocated hand, the rest of my body is fine. God is able to heal both physical and spiritual brokenness. The encouraging thing is that the passage teaches us, we can unshackle ourselves form the sin that so easily entangles us. The curial points to remember are two things. We have the power to do this, in the same sense as Jesus often says, “Your faith has healed you.” Or in the sense when James says that by resisting the devil, “YOU” make him flee from you. Our responsibility is our faith. Now, this brings us to the other crucial aspect, which has already been addressed, knowing God is the foundation for this endurance and victory. We are told to keep our eyes on Jesus, who is the perfecter of our faith. We just discussed our faith is our part, and then preacher says, you strengthen this, not by focusing on yourself, but on Jesus who will help your faith. That is, for every thought of your sin, you should have 10 thoughts of Jesus’ power, promise, love and faithfulness to help today, in the land of the living. You focus is on how pathetic Satan attempt is destroy us. No matter how hard the devil tries, he cannot win. We do. We are the overcomers in Christ our lord. The new testament writers often say something to the effect, “God is able, He will do it.” God will keep you. He will empower you. He will help you. He will deliver you. NOT YOU do it. God will do it, because He is able.
And so, there is a repeating sin that does lead to death, and one the does not. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference. Jude referring to this says, grab (like you do, by grabbing an animal by their neck) and toss them over the finish line. For those born-again, they might lose out on some extra rewards in heaven, but they will not be overcome. The reprobate, even the smallest besetting will always spell out their doom. The weeds of life, make God’s truth stop growing, and makes their little besetting sin become a redwood giant.
Do not judge one part of your Christian life (a besetting sin) and forget whole of your Christianity that is growing and maturing. Like with the sower, the weeds of life choke out the seed planted. What this means is two things: not only are the weeds growing, but God’s seed “stops.” This stopping of God’s seed growing, is the most crucial part here. Besetting sins for the Christian is having a few weeds, but God’s seed is still growing and still larger. The reprobate, their weeds are many, and God’s seed is small, and finally stops growing.
Like with the parable of the sower, only the seed dropped on the good ground (i.e. born-again) produced a harvest. I will not deal with the aspect that we can know our election is sure here, but know that many times the New Testament writes spoke of the certainty of people’s election. This confidence was not based on visions from heaven, but on evidence based on the scripture; evidence we have today. For those who know they are saved, know God has already won. You are already incorruptible. With besetting sins, the devil will chain your leg, and then whisper in your ear, “Ha., look! You are now corrupted.” We are aware of his lies. We are those who fight. We are those who do not stop repenting and fighting. We do not shrink back. We are those who break our spiritual shackles. We are those who triumph over the world. We are those who resist and make the devil flee and screech.
God does not know how to lose. He wins and wins. Satan, loses and loses. Satan does not know how to win. The born-again Christian has been recreated with God in them, and part of their DNA. They also, do not know how to lose. They overcome the world. Sometimes the battle is long and sometimes the devil can deceive and cause years of stunted growth. Yet, the Christian will overcome. No weapon formed against them will prosper. Their faith is unstoppable. Their faith is as unstoppable as the one who empowers their faith, God. God is their foundation. And wow, what a foundation it is!