Temptation is not sin. The sin nature is the source of temptation but the source of sin is your own volition. And, every believer will be tested by their sin nature.
Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin and He now provides the supernatural power, the filling of God the Holy Spirit to help us. God has completely blotted out our sins and does not remember them any longer. Therefore, we have no right to relive them, to think about them, to cry about them, to worry about them or to regret them. God says that we need to “forget” them. Forgetting means that we are to lose them out of our mind, to neglect them, don’t consider them, don’t dwell on or ponder them. In other words, don’t give them an audience in our thinking. If and when they sneak back into our memory, we can simply use gratitude and thank God that they have already been forgiven and dealt with. God will never use them against you. Therefore, don’t insult God by using them against yourself!
It’s obviously wrong to hold a grudge against someone else or to remind them of their past sins. It is just as wrong to do this to ourselves. I Peter 4:8 says in the Amplified Bible, “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins (forgives and disregards the offenses of others).” By utilizing the problem-solving device of impersonal love toward ourselves, we can forgive and disregard our own past failures. Matthew 19:19b says, “…You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
Philippians 3:13 says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind (past sins), and reaching forth (studying and applying God’s Word) unto those things (God’s plan for your life) which are before, I press towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (exhibiting the character of Jesus Christ).”
When we name our sins to God, He forgives us and purifies us from all wrongdoing (sins we have forgotten and sins that we did not even know were sin). Forgiveness means that God completely blots out our sins and remembers them no longer. (Psalms 103:12; Isaiah 43:25) Once we name our sins, we are again in fellowship with God and filled with the Holy Spirit. This prepares us to move ahead in our Christian lives utilizing the power of God the Holy Spirit and forget our past failure. (Philippians 3:13-14)
What happens if we fail to forget our sin and we begin to think about it, talk about it and worry about it? “Out of fellowship we go” and we lose the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is the pattern that plagues many believers. They spend so much time jumping in and out of the same sin that they never advance in their Christian lives. They stay immature believers until they die! This is not how God wants us to live our lives. The solution is found in the Word of God. This solution is isolation of sin and it is something that each of us must learn how to accomplish if we want to successfully execute God’s plan.
The fastest way to get out of fellowship right after getting back in is to begin thinking and worrying about the sin that you just named. Remember that God has blotted it out. Therefore, we have no right to that sin any longer. When we “take it back,” we are making a mockery of God’s recovery procedure.
Failure to use this system can result in “chain-sinning” or building one sin upon another (even if it’s the same sin over and over). However, failure to isolate sin normally leads to other sins like guilt, bitterness or hatred (even of self). This type of sin pattern will also incur the discipline of God. God is a good father and wants only the best for His children. Therefore, He does everything it takes, short of violating our volition (free-will), to get us back on track. This does not mean that God is trying to hurt us or torture us. It means that He loves us. (Hebrews 12:6)
Here’s what some believers do: they commit a sin, they confess it and God turns what might become divine discipline into divine blessing. However, sometime later when the pressures of life close in and they are facing adversity, they immediately think that they are being disciplined for that past sins and they start feeling guilty. We are not being disciplined, since that “confessed sin” has been dealt with and was blotted out by God. But in the process, we have committed a “new” sin, guilt. Do you see how the pattern of chain-sinning begins?
The truth is that pressure or adversity in our lives may have nothing to do with divine discipline. It may be simply a test to strengthen our faith or perhaps the result of making some bad decisions. Everything “bad” that happens to a believer is not because of sin in his or her life! This was exactly what Job’s friends said was causing his adversity, when in fact, it had nothing to do with divine discipline. (I Corinthians 10:13)
Since we have no right to dredge up any sin that we have confessed, we must learn to put it away from us (isolate it) and stop thinking about it. The best way to do this according to the Word of God is to replace it with Bible Doctrine. The more time we spend thinking and applying God’s Word the less time we will have to think about any past failure. (Romans 12:1-2)
We have studied a number of these sins already. They include arrogance, jealousy, bitterness, hatred and guilt, just to name a few. Remembering past sins is also mental and will normally cause a believer to get out of fellowship. Remembering past sins means that either we don’t believe God has blotted them out or we don’t “feel” they are blotted out. Remembering your sin after God has blotted it out causes discouragement and will often lead to guilt. Therefore, if we are feeling guilty about anything, we are out of fellowship and we are very unhappy. As long as we carry guilt about some past failure, we will never execute God’s plan for our lives.
Guilt also produces self-recrimination or self-torture. And no one can torture you like you can. This torture comes in the form of self-pity. “I don’t feel forgiven,” “I’m being punished for my past failure,” “I am a failure,” “I’m a loser,” “I’m worthless,” “I’ll never amount to anything for God,” and so forth. What are we doing? We’re emoting and we are thinking human viewpoint. (Philippians 2:5)
Bitterness is another mental attitude sin that causes a lot of misery. If you’re bitter, it’s probably because you haven’t recognized and dealt with the sin problem in your life. Therefore, you begin to blame others or even God for your miserable condition. All the time it’s your failure to isolate past sins, forget them and resume your spiritual growth. Remember: If you’re not advancing in your spiritual life, you are retreating. (Hebrews 12:15)
We must remember that even “great” believers in the Bible failed at some time during their lives. One reason they became great is that they learned to isolate their sins. When they confessed them, they knew that God had forgiven and forgotten them. Did they sit around and cry about it? No! They never looked back. They just picked up the pieces and moved forward by the grace of God. They didn’t allow past failure to hold them back in their service to the Lord.
Failing the grace of God means that you don’t understand what God is like. (Hebrews 12:14-15) God is gracious. (Isaiah 30:18) In His grace He not only made salvation simple for us, He also made fellowship with Him simple. Both are grace functions. Both are appropriated in a non-meritorious way - salvation by faith, fellowship by confession. God does all the work! (John 3:16; I John 1:9)
Failing the grace of God also means failure to appropriate God’s grace, experientially. Isolation of sin, like everything else in the Christian Way of Life, is a grace function. We don’t earn or deserve forgiveness (blotting out of sin) from God. (Ephesians 1:7)
Failure to utilize or apply the grace of God will lead the believer to failure. You’ll try everything and everybody to make you happy and all you will find is misery. Why? Because happiness is not found in overt activity, it is found in Divine Viewpoint Thinking! (Hebrews 12:1-3,15; Psalms 146:5; Proverbs 3:13)
Divine Viewpoint Thinking is the key to overcoming the power of the sin nature. When we begin to think the way God thinks, we will be able to recognize overt and mental attitude sins in our lives. Once these sins are recognized, we can acknowledge, isolate and forget them. This, of course, can eventually break the power that certain sins have over us. However, we must constantly be on guard.
Divine Viewpoint Thinking is developed only through the consistent study and application of Bible doctrine. However, just knowing Bible doctrine is not enough. Victory over certain sins comes as we apply the doctrine that we have learned. Therefore, it is imperative that we have more than mere academic knowledge of God’s Word. Academic knowledge (gnosis) must be converted to spiritual knowledge (epignosis) by accurate application (wisdom).
As Divine Viewpoint Thinking permeates your thinking, Bible doctrine becomes your scale of values, your norms and standards begin to align with God’s, and even your conscience is influenced in a positive way. Thinking divine viewpoint sets up “a standard” by which you can evaluate everything that enters your mind, including temptation to commit personal sin. You have only two choices as a believer when it comes to thinking: Divine Viewpoint or Human Viewpoint.