This is an article from a message by Zac Poonen. We have been blessed by his encouragement to us about living by the power of Christ.
“A reason God wants us to humble ourselves: to give us His grace. God cannot violate His own laws that He has bound Himself by: to resist the proud and to give grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). However much He may love us, He cannot give us His grace if we are proud. If we don’t get grace from God, we cannot live in victory. The power of temptation can be overcome only by the power of God’s grace.
The law came by Moses, but grace came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Under the Law (OT), the people struggled and struggled and were defeated. Saul lived a perfect life according to the external standards of God’s law (Philippians 3:6), yet found himself powerless against lust and covetousness in his heart (Romans 7:8). The law was meant to show man his sinfulness and his helplessness against the lusts of the flesh and to keep him from external sin through fear of punishment. A man could have a perfect life externally through Law, yet his heart could be like a sewer of sin!.
The good news: new covenant through Jesus Christ is that what the Law could not do, grace can. God’s grace is not just undeserved favor forgiving our sins. It is greater than that. It’s God’s power that can enable us to overcome sin.
2 Corinthians 12:9… My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Grace is equated with power. This grace (power) comes to help us when we’re tempted (Hebrews 4:16 and 13:9).
Hebrews 8:10…I will put My laws into their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. In OT, it was “Thou shalt, thou shalt…”, in New Covenant, God Himself takes the responsibility saying, “I will put,..I will write…”. God does His work in our minds and hearts through the Spirit of grace.
Through grace, “God works IN us both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Thus the “righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled inside us” (Romans 8:4, Zechariah 12:9).
Then the promise in Romans 6:14 will be fulfilled: “Sin shall not have dominion (be master) over you, for you are under grace and not under law.” One condition only: be humble.
Grace can exalt us over sin, over our circumstances, over depression, over bad moods, over Satan, over bitterness, over hatred, jealousy, lust and every other evil. “Humble yourself under the mighty Hand of God that He may exalt you (1 Pet 5:6).
What is “the mighty Hand of God” to humble ourselves under? It’s the Hand that orders all the circumstances and people that cross our daily path. To humble ourselves is to gladly submit to all of God’s dealing with us, in all our circumstances, even when He allows people to ride over our heads.
We need never fear that this will become too much for us to bear, for God watches the gap in the hedge and knows how much to open at a time. He also knows when to close it. If we are overcome by sin, the reason could be pride. We cannot overcome sin if God does not give us grace. Each time we fail, need to go to God and ask Him to show me my unbelief and pride that hindered You from giving me grace to overcome.
Victory over sin is our birthright under the New Covenant. It is takes time to get victory, it’s because it takes time for God to humble us—to shatter that self-confidence. One form of pride is to think that we have the strength to overcome sin. We think that all we need is a little more determination, a little more of self-discipline, a little more prayers and fasting and a little more Bible-knowledge. When we read about victory in a book like this, we can think that now that we have grasped the doctrine clearly, victory will be easy. We go forth with great confidence, but don’t realize yet that our confidence is still in ourselves and not in God’s grace! And lo and behold, we fall so miserably.
But…we don’t learn the lesson with one fall…it’s repeated until one day we give up all hope of ever getting victory, because we have fallen so often. That is the zero-point at which God can lead us into the promised land of victory. In the OT, God brought the Israelites who left Egypt to the borders of the promised land 2 yrs after they left Egypt. They couldn’t enter in because of unbelief (Numbers 13 & 14). God allowed those proud, self-confident Israelites to wander in the wilderness for another “38 yrs, until all the men of war (symbolizing the strength of Self) had perished (Deuteronomy 2:14).
God has to reduce us to zero before He can do His work in and through us. It doesn’t have to take 40 years. You can enter in within a year or two, if you are radical, and if you are determined to humble yourself at any cost. As long as we keep blaming our circumstances or other people we can never hope for victory. But if we humble ourselves, believing that God controls all our circumstances, and that no temptation will ever be too much for us to overcome, then victory is assured.
Thanks again to Zac Poonen for this teaching! If you would like to receive Word For the Week articles freely each week, please subscribe to the CFC mailing list .