Dealing with Temptation- The Cross CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The cross is one of the most important means of dealing with temptation in your life. Essentially, when you received Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were baptized into his body [1 Cor12:13]. Because you are in Christ’s body, the Holy Spirit baptized you into the death of Jesus Christ [Rom 6:3]. That death took place on the cross when Jesus was crucified [Phil 2:8]. So, when you got saved, you were crucified with Christ [Gal2:19-20]. And since Christ rose from the dead, you likewise are risen with him, to walk in newness of life [Rom 6:4]. As a result, you are dead to the law and your life is now to be lived in the Spirit and not in carnal ordinances of the law.
A boundary or conviction or standard is good to define a position you have taken on a particular sin, but it doesn’t give you the strength to maintain that standard any more than the law could give you strength to keep it [herein it was weak]. The standard necessarily defines a “thou shalt not,” thus strengthening sin [Rom7:11, 1 Cor15:56] and making it more difficult to fight the temptation to commit that sin. The closer you get to the standard, the more you are aware of the sin, and the harder it is to deal with it.
So, a better way to handle sin is to recognize that you are dead to sin [Col2:14, 20-23]. The reason is that sin cannot work in a dead man’s body [Rom 6:3-13]. Therefore, we die to the old man [Gal5:24; 1 Cor15:31] and rise to walk in newness of life. When you are walking in newness of life, there is no law of righteousness that keeps you from sin in that newness of life [Rom 7:4-6; Gal5:23; 1 Tim 1:9]. Your death in Christ on the cross and your life in Christ through the Spirit are what keep you from sin [Rom8:10-13].
In conclusion, you cannot improve the behavior of a dead man by the law and you cannot improve the behavior of a righteous man, who is living in the fullness of the Spirit of God, by the law. If the old man is on the cross, there is no rule or law that is going to affect him; he’s dead. If the old man is not on the cross, then a law or rule is merely going to aggravate him and encourage him to sin. So, live as close as you can to the Lord and as far away as you can from the boundary. Keep your eyes on the Lord and not on the boundary.