Sin, repentance, forgiveness, deliverance

What do sin, repentance, deliverance, and forgiveness have to do with each other?

I want to share a personal story of deliverance from an idol – smoking.

I have heard people speak of deliverance from a sin and I understood in an abstract way what they meant, but I had never experienced it.

I was a smoker when I became a Christian. And I continued to smoke for years afterwards. After a while, it became politically incorrect to be a smoker. But this did not deter me. I was not very concerned with what political correctness dictates.

Even when I would occasionally read or hear sermons on the body being the temple of God, I was not impacted. In fact, when someone would tell me I needed to treat my body (which is the temple of God) better, I would remark that if priests could use smoke from burning incense in the temple, I could smoke in the temple that is me.

But eventually, God began to speak to me in my prayer time or when driving down the road, about my health needing to be better. I began to feel bad inside when I would smoke. In fact, I began to feel guilty. I would pray to God about it. Finally, I broke down and fell to my knees in tears calling out to God that I gave up, if HE wanted me to quit, then I gave him my desire for smoking – I repented. Instantaneously, I no longer had a desire to smoke, and was able to withstand all temptations to smoke, regardless of the situation, as they were no longer temptations because I had no desire what so ever to smoke. I didn’t miss it at all – in good times or in bad times.

But five years later, there came a time when things were so tumultuous in my life that I went and bought a six pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes and I drank and smoked to relieve stress, instead of turning to God. While I had no compulsion to drink beer after that, I was once again hooked on smoking cigarettes. I would smoke for the next seven years, trying to quit on my own power, but failing to stop for long. My walk with God was affected, but I was still able to hear Him and obey in other areas, but not this one. I just didn’t rely upon Him as I had before. However, God began working on me again, and eventually, God delivered me again, but this time it was not instantaneous. This time, I had to maintain my resolve through some tough times. But eventually God once again removed any desire for me to smoke – I was once again delivered. My walk with Christ is better than it was during my smoking years.

I told this personal story because I wanted to point out a few things:

  1.  We are to be healthy physically as well as spiritually..

    3 John 1:2

    Dear friend, I pray you may prosper concerning everything and be healthy, just as your soul prospers.

  2. Our bodies are temples of God, and we are to flee what God has said to not do.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-20

     9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Neither sexually immoral people, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, not drunkards, not abusive persons, not swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And some of you were these things, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesusand by the Spirit of our God.

     12 All things are permitted for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are permitted for me, but I will not be controlled by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food, but God will abolish both of them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God both raised up the Lord and will raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Therefore, shall I take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For it says, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a person commits is outside his body, but the one who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God with your body.

  3. Training of the body is good, but training ourselves in the words of the faith for godliness is very profitable and required.

    1 Timothy 4:6-12

     6 By teaching these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, trained in the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed faithfully. 7 But reject those worthless myths told by elderly women, and train yourself for godliness. 8 For the training of the body is somewhat profitable, but godliness is profitable for everything, because it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. 9 The statement is trustworthy and deserving of complete acceptance. 10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.

     11 Command these things and teach them. 12 Let no one look down on your youth, but be an example for the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

  4.  There can definitely be people in the church who have not truly repented from sin (or at least not in all areas of their lives), and we all need to repent from sin (what God tells us to leave behind) and turn from sin to God.

    2 Corinthians 12:20-21

    20 For I am afraid lest somehow when I arrive, I will not find you as I want, and I may be found by you as you do not want. I am afraid lest somehow there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, pride, disorder. 21 I am afraid lest when I come again my God will humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve over many of those who sinned previously and have not repented because of their impurity and sexual immorality and licentiousness that they have practiced.

    Paul has been very clear about the need to repent and turn to God.

    Acts 26:20

    20 but to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance.

    The weapons of spiritual warfare tear down fortresses, arguments, pride, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ – so even our thoughts should be obedient to Christ.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

    3 For although we are living in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but powerful to God for the tearing down of fortresses, tearing down arguments 5 and all pride that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

  5. We are to be anxious for nothing, but turn to God, praying, letting our needs be known to God, so we can have peace from God. And we are to focus on things that are honorable, right, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellence of character and what is praiseworthy – not sin.

    Philippians 4:6-8

    6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are pleasing, whatever things are commendable, if there is any excellence of character and if anything praiseworthy, think about these things.

  6.  We are to confess our sins to God and God will forgive us. God loves to forgive us. Just as we forgive others, God will forgive us.

    1 John 1:9

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, so that he will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Matthew 6:15

    But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I think the key is that we must agree with God that something is sin, then we must turn from it (asking God for help, if needed), and turn to God – this is the requirement for new life, to be born again. We must repent, turn to God and have deeds appropriate to repentance. Perhaps we will or will not be delivered from a certain sin which we have difficulty with, but that is irrelevant. If we do not know something is a sin for us, then we discover it, we must do just as we did when we first came to Christ – repent (ask forgiveness as well), turn to God, and have deeds appropriate to repentance.

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