Do you feel trapped? Are you weighed down with unwanted habits? Do you want freedom from smoking, overeating, a hot temper, etc.? Have you tried again and again to stop, but do not know how? Do you find yourself doing what you do not want to do, and not being able to do what you want to do? Well you are not alone; Paul expresses the same feelings, in Romans 7:15–18. “That which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I…for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Is this how you feel? Do you want to do good but do not know how? Do you feel like you are in bondage, a slave to habits? Paul goes on to say, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:19–23.
Paul is saying there is within us a law or power holding us in bondage to sin. This is terrible. Is there any hope? Can you ever be free from this bondage? In the next verse Paul says, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Christ is Our Deliverer
Paul goes on to say, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. . . . For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans. 7:25; 8:2. “If the Son therefore shall make you free [from serving sin], ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36.
To bring us freedom is the whole purpose of the life of Christ. When Jesus began His ministry, He announced His mission in the sanctuary, He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Then Christ said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4:18, 21.
Christ’s work is a work of deliverance and liberty. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6,7.
Life in Christ is Freedom
“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.
Obedience to Truth (Christ) Makes us Free
“Jesus [said] to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then . . . ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31, 32. “God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:17, 18. “[How] shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Psalms 119:9.
Freedom from the Bondage of Sin
“Ye also are become dead to the law by the body [death] of Christ.…” Romans 7:4. “We are buried with Him by baptism into death…our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:3–7.
Buried with Christ — Surrender Thy Will to God
“…if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Romans 6:5. When Christ died, He prayed, saying, “‘O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” Matthew 26:42 “‘.…as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father.…’” John 5:30.
Surrender (Death to Self) — To Obey the Spirit
“…when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members.…But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit.” Romans 7:5.
Obedience to the Spirit — Freedom From Sin
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For…if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law [of sin].” Galatians 5:16, 18. “…sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law [of sin], but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
Through the Spirit Put to Death the Deeds of Sin
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:24.
Jesus said “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself [die to self], and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23.
Freedom Applied to Daily Living
Know and Claim Bible Promises
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Hebrews 4:1.
Remember, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise.…” 2 Peter 3:9. And “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Read the Bible Every Day
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Luke 4:4. “‘Search the scriptures.’” John 5:39. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4.
Guard Your Thoughts, Your Eyes and Ears
Temptation is stimulated by what you see and hear. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. Keep your heart and mind stayed upon Christ. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.
Give Yourself to God and Run From the Devil
When temptation comes, give yourself to God. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
Resist Temptation with the Word of God
In Matthew 4:3–10 we read of Jesus being tempted of the devil again and again. And every time Jesus resisted, with a ‘thus saith the Lord.’ In verse 4 we read, “He answered and said, ‘It is written . . .’” In verse 7, “Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again.’” In verse 10, “Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written…’”
Be Prepared, Watch for Temptation Before it Comes
“‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape…’” Luke 21:36. Be prepared, watch for the things that trigger your habits (temptation). If the desire for a cigarette comes right after a meal, be prepared with prayer and Bible verses, and disrupt the habit with a change of routine. “Be sober, be vigilant [watch]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
“Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11. Put away sinful indulgences (such as cigarettes) completely and immediately.
Do Not Put Yourself in a Situation to be Tempted
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14. If you are trying to stop smoking, throw away all cigarettes and do not purchase any. Do not “make provision” to be tempted.
Fellowship and Worship with God’s People
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another.…” Hebrews 10:24, 25. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.…” Romans 15:1.
Continue to Grow — Add to Your Christian Experience
“Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience;…if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” 2 Peter 1:5–10.
Victory is Through Faith and Obedience
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him [faith], ‘If ye continue in My word [obedience], then…the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31, 32.
Obedience to Christ Wherever He Leads
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men.…” Revelation 14:4.
Faith in Christ to Keep Us From Sinning
“…and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. “…and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 2 John 5:4. “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:24, 25.
“…now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22.