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Often times Christians are puzzled by problems in their lives. When I say
problems, I do not mean problems which arise out of persecution. I am talking
about seemingly uncontrollable personal problems that relate to our corrupted
soul and flesh. Conversations go something like this:
Last year I was prayed for, for a healing need. I was healed, but a year
has passed and the problem for which God healed me has returned. Why did I lose
I gave my life to Jesus several months ago, but I am hooked on drugs and I
cannot kick the habit. What do I do? What is the answer?
I am an alcoholic. I gave my life to Jesus months ago, but I still have a
drinking problem. I cannot seem to say no to a drink. What do I do?
I gave my life to Jesus years ago and I know that I am saved, but I have
these bad habits in my life that I cannot seem to get victory over, that I
cannot seem to get under control.
The problem might be over-eating, smoking, a drinking problem, not being able
to turn off the TV and take care of other responsibilities. It may be a drug
problem or a problem of lust. I do not care how perfect a Christian may try to
convince you he or she is, all Christians have some kind of problem like the
ones stated above in their lives. This is because though born again in our
spirits, our soul and flesh do not follow the recreation of our beings until the
resurrection. The end result is that though born again, we still have the
presence of a corrupted soul and flesh in bondage to sin.
Why is it though that some Christians seem to get stable continued victory
over whatever vice they have in their lives and others do not? Why do some
Christians get physically healed through prayer, keep their healing and others
The Apostle Paul went through this kind of frustration early in his Christian
life. He writes in the Book of Romans:
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for
the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good
that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish....
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"
(Rom 8:18-19, 24)
Does this sound like you? What was Paulís problem? Before Paul gave his
life to Jesus, Paul was a very religious man He writes in Philippians 3:4-6,
"Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh.
If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
circumcised the eighth day of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a
Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the
church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless."
JESUS: OUR ONLY
MEANS OF SALVATION
Paul was so religious and so dependent on his religious works
for salvation that in order for Jesus to break Paul of his works for salvation
and draw his attention to Himself he had to appear to Paul in a literally
blinding vision. Paul got the message and realized that Salvation did not come
through obedience to the Law or religious self-strife but through faith in Jesus
Christ alone. He concludes in Philippians 3:7-9,
"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I
have counted as lose for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things
to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for
whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order
that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of
my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
Paul is happy now. He knows that he is saved, not based on
his works, but through faith in Jesus Christ and His work of salvation on the
Paul is so happy for what Jesus did for him on the cross that
he decides he is going to sanctify his life to make it worthy of the salvation
that Jesus bore for him. Paul thinks to himself:
I am going to fully live for Jesus now. I am going to clean
up my life. I am going to get victory over my hot temper. I am going to
manifest the fruit of the Spirit of kindness. And these other problems in my
life, I am going to get control over them because I want to be a good Christian
witness. I do not want anything in my life that might be a stumbling block to
the Gospel in other's lives.
JESUS: OUR ONLY
MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION
Several months later after Paul tries and tries to live the
Christian life, he screams in frustration: Wretched man that I am! Who will
set me free from the body of this death! I can remember saying that many
times in my own words. After Paul finishes beating himself to death for not
being able to get control over whatever the problems were that he was struggling
with, the Holy Spirit came along and tapped Paul on the shoulder and said to
Holy Spirit: Paul! How did You get Saved?
Paul: By putting my trust in Jesus and His work on
the cross for my sins, nothing else.
Holy Spirit: Paul, if you could not save yourself
through your works, what makes you think you can sanctify yourself through your
works? Just as Jesus is the only answer to your salvation, so also Jesus is the
only answer to Your sanctification!
The revelation of this so pleases Paul that he says in
response in Romans 7:25 and 8:1,
"Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So
then, on the one hand I my self with my mind am serving the law of God, but on
the other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation
to those who are in Christ Jesus."
Paul does not tell us in this passage of Scripture that he
got immediate victory over whatever his problems were. He in fact tells us that
with his flesh he is still serving sin. What he does tell us is that through the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit he has come to realize that just as Jesus is his
only answer for salvation so Jesus is his only answer for sanctification. He
comes to realize that no matter how hard he tries in the flesh, meaning
trying to overcome his problems in his own strength, his soul, he will not
be able to succeed. Even though maybe at this point he does not know how to
apply this to his problems, through the Holy Spirit he has come to realize that
Jesus is the only answer to his Sanctification. For this reason Paul says in
exaltation, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ
What does Paul mean? He means just that. If you have given
your life to Jesus and received him into your heart as Lord and Savior, you are
saved, you are going to heaven. Not only that, but you are no longer your own.
You have been bought with a price, through the blood of Jesus Christ. That means
that your problems are not your own either. They now belong to Jesus. They are
Jesus' problems. Because they are, it is up to Jesus to give you the solution,
not you. That is why you can say with Paul, no matter what your problem is, Thanks
be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!.... There is therefore now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I do not know what Your
problem is, but praise God! Jesus is the answer to your need! You are saved! You
are going to heaven! Praise the Lord! Alleluia!
Okay, Jesus is the answer to my need. Is
this where the story ends?
No. What I want to talk to you about in this section is how
to draw upon Jesus as the answer to your needs. You already know Jesus as Savior
of your soul, now let me introduce you to Jesus as Sanctifier of
Why is it that after being prayed for concerning a problem we
get momentary victory but it doesn't last? Days, weeks, months later, we find
ourselves back in the same trap fighting the same problem(s). Why? The answer is
centered in John 14:6. Jesus said,
"I am the Way, the Truth,
and the Life."
The reason our struggling over a problem does not solve the
problem is because most of the time we are not really struggling with the
problem. We are struggling with the symptom, the visible side effect of the root
of the problem. To give you an example of what I am talking about, I had a
brother come to me once who had stomach problems. I laid my hands on him and
asked Jesus to lead me in prayer for him. The Lord told me to just pray in my
spiritual language. A minute or so later I looked up and saw my brother with a
frown on his face. I asked him why he was frowning. He said in response,
The Lord just gave me the interpretation of what you were
praying in the Spirit about. He told me that my stomach problems are centered in
resentment that I have toward this brother, that if I will forgive that brother
and let my resentment go it will take care of my stomach problems. (Now You
know why the gift of tongues are necessary).
Did this brother have stomach problems? No. In this case he
had a spiritual problem. Only Jesus knew that. Jesus is the Way
and the Truth to the root cause of our problems. He is the only
one who has the root solution also. Only Jesus is Life. You and I
are not the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the
Life. If you want answers to your problems and needs, Jesus is the only one who
has them. This is because only Jesus knows our inner and outer constitution
intimately, therefore only Jesus knows the root cause and root solution to our
When we fight our problems through our own reasoning, our flesh,
what do we do? It is like taking a slug-hammer and beating your car to death
when the problem is under the hood. Now besides the problem under the hood, you
now also have a several thousand dollar body job needing to be done on your car
as well. When we try to solve our own problems through our own reasoning, we
only complicate the problem.
I could have just prayed for healing for the brother with the
stomach problems and said, Okay, now have faith. Ignore the symptoms. Just
thank Jesus for the healing you already have. The symptoms might have gone
away temporarily, but because we had not gotten to the root of his problem, his
unforgiveness and resentment that he had toward a brother, the healing wouldn't
have lasted. When the symptoms would come back, his stomach problems, as they
surely would, he would think, Oh! If I only had more faith. I must work
harder at having more faith. Faith! Faith! Faith! Now he has new problems:
Strife, self-condemnation over his supposed lack of faith, a bad self-image
because he does not think now God loves him. What is he doing? He is hitting the
body of his car with a slug-hammer when the problem is under the hood. Praying
over the symptoms of a hidden root problem is like taking morphine for the pain
induced by cancer. The pain may temporarily go away, but the deadly cancer that
is killing the person is still present and is still spreading and killing the
person. We need to get to the root of our problems to get truly healed.
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Bibliography & Notes
Section 4 Chapters