Before becoming Christians, we were “dead in… sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and “enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6), meaning that we were unable to stop sinning — everything that we did was touched and tainted by sin. When we came to Christ, we weren’t only forgiven of our sins, we were also set free from its slavery. Because of God’s grace, we are able to not sin. It’s possible to not sin. Because Jesus rose again and raised us up with him, we are able to resist and fight sin.
This is an important starting point — we don’t fight sin to earn God’s love. The only reason we’re able to fight sin is because God has already loved us. We fight sin because, as God shapes us into the image, we love what he loves and we hate what he hates. We fight sin, because God has commanded us. He is the king, we are his people, and we must obey (not just offer lip service). This is a real demonstration of our faith. How can we say that we trust God if we don’t trust him to guide our thoughts, actions, and feelings each day?
Most importantly, we fight sin because it interrupts our relationship with God (1 John 1:8–9). We are grieved by our sin, because we know it grieves our God. We hate our sin, because we love Jesus, and our sin nailed him to the cross.
Throughout the Bible, especially in the writings of Paul, we are given a clear battle plan for fighting sin that includes putting off sin and putting on godliness (Ephesians 4:24–25, Colossians 3:9–10). The Puritans called this the mortification of sin (killing) and the vivification of righteousness (bringing-to-life). Both of these steps are important. We can’t just stop sinning — we need to replace it with positive development.
The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.
God has not abandoned us in our sin. He isn’t giving up on us; he’s committed to helping you grow and change, because he loves you.
Before Christ, we were not able to not sin. In Christ, we are able to not sin. And when Christ returns, we will be like him (1 John 3:2) and we will not be able to sin. We fight sin with great hope that the battle is already won.
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Use the Sin Battle Plan worksheet to create a real plan for fighting sin.
I will fight the sin of _____________ by the power of the Holy Spirit. ___________ will help me and keep me accountable.
Pray for one another, specifically, that God would help you fight sin.
Confess your sin.
Have you confessed this sin to God? Who can you confess your sin to?
Have confidence in the work of Jesus.
Copy down a verse of Scripture that reminds you of God’s love for sinners.
(Examples: Romans 6:4–5, Romans 8:1–2, Romans 8:12–15)
Confront the lies of Satan.
What lies are you tempted to believe about this sin: God’s Word isn’t trustworthy, sin isn’t that big of a deal, or you need sin to be truly happy?
Consider your own motivations.
What reward do you think this sin will bring you? (Happiness, pleasure, safety)
Collaborate with the Spirit of God.
Write a short prayer, asking God to help you fight this sin.
Commit to stop sin.
What practical steps will you take to fight this sin? Who will keep you accountable? What questions do you want them to ask you?