How to Break the Dominion of Sin – by Desmond Ford

Apr 30, 2015 2538

crucified with christ embracing the cross gods love

Look at John, chapter 12. Jesus says: “Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.” And then he explains it: “He who loves his life loses it and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” And then he explains that if anyone serves him he must also follow him: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies… he who loves his life, loses it; he who hates his life in this world will keep it.”

So the most important thing is: What do I love? What is my real God? To what do I devote my energies? Where is my heart? What do I think about when I am awake and can’t sleep? Where do I put my best energies? Jesus is saying, if these things are associated with my selfishness, I’m done for.

The life must be cast into the furrow of the world’s needs. Selfishness must die. He who loves his life in this world – meaning a worldly life – will lose it.

Christ does not mean we are to be like monks and anchorities. God made melody, God made fragrance, God may color, God invented sex, God gave flavors to food – all these are God’s good gifts. But if they take the place of the greatest things, the best of all – Christ himself – then they are my idols instead of God’s gifts.

Now, as I consider this, it is a rather fearful indictment of human nature and I am tempted to call out, “Lord, who can be saved?” And so I leave you with the verse that I think answers it, in verse 31: “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out and I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to myself.”

You have heard it said before a thousand times: sermons on the law – what I ought to be (that’s what we mean by law) – does not necessarily bring about one’s conversion.

At Pentecost Peter preached the Gospel and thousands were converted. Christ is saying, “Yes, what I require of you is impossible for you to give. Your only hope is to be drawn by the magnetism of the cross and what is impossible for you to do will be done in you as you respond to the drawing of the love of God revealed on Calvary.” Now that is the crux of the whole. I cannot change my heart. I am naturally worldly – “but I, if I be lifted up will draw all unto me.”

Fifty years ago I used to go to a little meeting and there was an old missionary there and he would talk so softly and so gently, I wish I could model after him – he was very good. He taught us all one day to say a verse that went like this:

 

Holiness by faith in Jesus,

Not by effort of thine own,

Sin’s dominion crushed and broken

By the power of grace alone.

 

His own holiness within me,

His brightness on thy brow

This shall be your pilgrim glory,

This your blessed portion now.

 

I can see still his face. I can still see how he said it. I still hear the words. But get the point!

Holiness means wholeness. The trouble with us is that we are all fragmented, we are scattered, scatter brains. Holiness means wholeness.

Holiness is by faith in Jesus. It is never initiated by my efforts. The Holy Spirit will lead me to effort, yes, but holiness is never initiated by my effort. I cannot change my heart. “Sin’s dominion crushed and broken, by the power of grace alone.” It is when see the love of God on the cross and I am drawn to it, that grace changes me.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32 (Adapted from “Why the Gospel Isn’t Rushed”)

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