by Pastor Dele Oyeleru
When we talk about the deceitfulness of sin we are talking about the issues that pertain to knowing the tactics of the enemy. The Bible says in 2 Cor. 2:11, that “we are not ignorant of the devices of the devil,” and exactly what the devil did through the serpent in the garden, is what sin is doing in our flesh, so we don’t need any devil sometimes to sin. Whatever worked in Eden will work on you, so we need to understand the strategies and the kinds of tricks that the devil plays on us. One of them is that Satan wants us to believe that sin is still master over us, but the Bible says, we have been delivered from its captivity. We are no longer responsive, neither are we responsible to sin, we are no longer slaves to it. Sin wants you to believe it is you, but Apostle Paul was able to say “no” to it – if God gave you a holy law and you desire to live holily because of those laws but find it difficult, then it is not you nor the law that is faulty, it is sin in your flesh that is causing it; but that is no excuse.
So what do we then do about the sin that is in our flesh?
Even if you born again a billion times, you still have sin in your flesh; that is why the Bible says we must put on incorruption, because it is sin that corrupts the body. But sin has already been defeated, captured and arrested. Jesus has condemned sin in the flesh, so we now have the power to exercise our volition, we can now choose who we want to serve. The fact that Jesus has condemned sin does not mean that sin will still not want to rule over us; because it is only condemned, it is not dead. But it is in your hands now to choose whether to allow sin to have dominion over you or not.
So, it is important for you to understand that the deceitfulness of sin is just to lure you to into sin. If sin had power to make you to sin, there would not have been any need for it to deceive you. Sin lost the power to make you sin by the reason of the Cross, and let no devil tell you otherwise.
How do you recognize genuine repentance? Genuine repentance is basically a change of attitude informed by the knowledge of the matter. There are seven types of repentance in the Bible, only one is genuine. The kind of repentance that Judas Iscariot had was no repentance. He was sorrowful for the consequence of his sin; he did not want to face up to the consequence. How you know a genuinely repentant person? His concern is not about him, his concern is about God. He feels sorry that he has hurt God and he is willing to pay any price for what he has done. What I see many people call repentance is regret for what they have done because they are not willing to face the consequence of their sins. Someone who commits adultery and gets infected with HIV could normally repent and start going to church, peradventure a miracle would happen.
We cannot keep God’s law by being law-conscious, because law-consciousness is sin-consciousness invariably; and we cannot be conscious of sin and not fall into sin. Because the Bible makes us to understand that sin should be kept under. God says we are dead to sin; if we are dead to sin, that then means that we do not recognize sin, it is not in our world. So we cannot discountenance sin, and at the same time be sin-conscious. If I don’t regard that you are here, that means everything I do, I do as if I am the only one here. I cannot be talking to myself and hold a microphone, being conscious that I am the only one here and I am talking to myself. So it is not possible for us to be law-conscious and not sin, we will forever be frustrated in trying not to sin. It is the love of God that keeps us from sinning.
In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” What Jesus is saying in essence is that the proof of your love for Him is in your keeping His commandments. The love of God is the power you have to keep His commandments, the reverse is not the case. You don’t prove you love God by keeping His laws; it is your loving God that empowers you to keep God’s word, His laws.
You can’t keep God’s commandments by being commandment-conscious. Commandment-consciousness is sin-consciousness and sin-consciousness is defeat by sin, because you have crossed the Scriptures which say you are dead to sin.
The life-long panacea to the issues of sin is to love God with all your heart. Jesus reduced all the laws to two – love God and love man. Paul condensed it to one – love you neighbour; that’s all! (Gal. 5:14). Shouldn’t we then love God? But we learn in 1 John that our love for man that we see, is the proof that we love God. If we can’t love man, we cannot love God, so you can’t love man without loving God.
What you need to find out is: how do I love God? Since the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart (Rom. 5:5), it is that love that restraints us from sinning, even in issues that are not plainly written in the Bible.
God says He will put His spirit within us and will cause us to walk in His statutes (Ezek. 36:26-33). That means, to the extent by which you walk in His statutes, to that extent you have His spirit. That also means how much of God’s love has been unveiled to your spirit. The love of God is light and it enlightens your spirit, causing you to know the mind of God and also cause you (empower you, motivate you, instigate you, ginger you) to do it. All these struggling we are having with sin is because we are limited in God’s love. When the love of God is perfectly in our hearts, we will live as though there is no sin in the world, for that is our true status. If you board a vehicle to get to a particular place, you may not know the way to the place, but you know where you are going and the vehicle takes you there. So, you may not even know all the laws of God, but you just notice that as you walk in the spirit, you cannot offend God.
We are not supposed to be struggling to remember God’s laws and live by them, that is failure. What we have to do is to be ashamed of our sins because of the goodness of God. If King David had kept his mind on the goodness of God towards him, he would not have sinned. The love of God was not unveiled to him. Each time you cross God’s law, you are telling Him that He does not love you enough. That was why Paul always prayed for followers to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of the love of God (Eph. 3:17). In the Old Testament if you love God, you would keep His commandments (and they struggled to keep them). But in this New Testament because you love God, you can keep His commandments; because the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto you (Rom. 5:5).
How do you intensify the light of God’s love? It is by exposing yourself to more of God’s word; exposing yourself to the Holy Ghost most importantly, because He is the writer of the Word and He has more than what is in the Bible. Every writer is greater than his book, he knows things that are not in that book. Seek the Holy Spirit. There is limit to what the knowledge of the Bible can carry you. You must know the Word and know the Spirit, but you can’t know the Spirit without the word; because different spirits can camouflage as the Holy Spirit to you, if you don’t know the Word. You cannot be a man of the spirit without being a man of the word. If you are not spiritually alive to it, all you will have is knowledge of what to do but the ability to do them will be wanting. It is the Holy Spirit that gives ability of God to us, so you cannot neglect the Holy Spirit and say you are reading Bible. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a continuous and a daily thing, it keeps salvation. Expose your spirit to the Word of God and gain spiritual understanding, which comes by way of studying the Scriptures. Put yourself under powerful word ministrations; beat down your flesh so that the Word of God can come alive, on a regular basis. These are the things you can do to strengthen your spirit so that your spirit will act according to the Word of God.
Romans 6:14 says, For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Have you ever asked the question: who is under grace? What makes you know you are under grace?
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Gal. 5:14,16, 17-18
Two natures are in you: the heavenly or higher nature, and the earthly or lower nature; and there is a contention between the two of them, continually in your life (Gal. 5:14,16,17,18). Two of them are opposites, fighting to be in control of your life. But if you are led of the Holy Spirit then you are under grace. That means only the sons of God are under grace, for they are the ones that are led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14). You can have the spirit of God and not be led by Him that is why you still sin as a Christian. You can be empowered by the Holy Ghost and decide not to walk in the light of that empowerment. It is when you walk in the spirit that you are not under law but under grace. What then does it mean to walk in the spirit or to be led by the Holy Spirit?
Romans 8:12 “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” This Scripture shows that you can still live after the flesh even as a Christian. That means you can choose to live after the flesh while you are born again, but at the end you shall die. So let nobody deceive you that once you are saved you are forever saved, it is a lie from hell. The Scripture says “Brethren if you walk after the flesh, you shall die!” – you will be separated from God, you will go to hell! You are born again but if you keep living a life of sin, you will go to hell! (Gal. 5:21).
The deceitfulness of sin proposes a theory that since you are born again, you can keep sinning and not die; and that is the theory that enlarges churches today. Every church that preaches it is a mega-church. Now you can understand why the Bible says “wide is the road that leads to hell and there are many on it.” (Matt. 7:13). Sin deceives you, it keeps telling you that it doesn’t matter, sebi you are now born again? God should understand with you.”
Ephesians 5:1,2 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”
Walking in love is how to walk in the spirit. Anytime you don’t know what to do on any issue, take an action that is consistent with the love of God, you cannot be wrong. Walking in love means taking steps based on the love that Christ has for you. So what we should fan to greater embers is the love of God which will constrain you from doing what will not please Him (2 Cor. 5:14).
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:11).
It is deceitfulness of sin that makes us believe we can win sin by fighting it. No, sin is not existing in our world so we are not fighting it, we just keep walking in love. That is how to keep sin where it belongs, in the place of confinement until the day of its judgment. Walking in love is what lifts us above sin in the flesh.