How to get out of the jail of temptation
Have you ever wished life came with a ‘Get out of jail, free’ card just like in Monopoly? In a world filled with temptations, such a card would really come in handy. We can eat without growing fat, spend freely without incurring debt and essentially give in to any temptation without consequence.
We want to be able to ‘get out of jail, free’ because the consequences of sin are real. We know that if we do not overcome temptation, it will destroy us. The Apostle Paul struggled too:
“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”
We struggle with temptation because we are born with sin. The only way to get rid of this sin nature is to be born again.
“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.””
John 3:3-5 (ESV)
Even if you have accepted Jesus as your personal saviour, His instructions in the Bible are still valid – we need to be born of water and spirit (Acts 2:38, Titus 3:5, 1 Corinthians 6:11). When we are born again, we are born again into the kingdom of God.
Romans 8:1 has this to say about those who are born again, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
Wait, does that mean this is our ‘get out of jail, free’ card? Yes and no, keep reading.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:1 (ESV)
This verse tells us both the problem and the solution. The problem is that even after we are born again and in Christ Jesus, we will continue to be tempted and walk after the flesh. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation but it does not assure us that there are no consequences.
If we insist on walking after the flesh, we will reap what we sow.
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Galatians 6:8 (ESV)
The solution proposed in Romans 8:1 is to walk after the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit means to get into the Word, listening to teaching, fellowshipping with the Body and living with the awareness that God has a plan for your life. When you are born again, you will not have to face temptation alone because you have the power of the Holy Spirit to help you. Lean on Jesus, but how?
Just before writing Romans 8:1, the Apostle Paul had this to say about sin:
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Romans 7:24 (ESV)
He had conviction, which is why he could write about ‘no condemnation’ in the next chapter. If you feel convicted when you sin and give in to temptation, there is hope! God is reaching out to you and wanting to bring you into a place of ‘no condemnation’.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
When you respond to your conviction, there is the freedom that comes when you build an altar and make it right with God. Why leave the same way you came, when you can come and build an altar and leave without condemnation? It begins with repentance.
Let Jesus forgive, cleanse and empower you. That is the real way to get out of jail, free and redeemed.