“There is not a righteous person on earth who does [only] good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) However, [the righteous] subdue their evil inclination a hundred times. If they have succumbed to a sin once, they do not repeat it, to prevent becoming loathsome in their own eyes; and [so] they repent. – Rabbi Jonah of Gerona, Gates of Repentance, The First Gate, p. 9
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into His death? Therefore we were buried together with Him through immersion into death—in order that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have become joined together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be joined together in His resurrection— knowing our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin. For he who has died is set free from sin.” – Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, Romans, chapter 6.
Today is the sixth day of Elul. The sixth day of pressing into God. The sixth day of responding to His call “Seek my face” with “your face, O God, do I seek”.
As I read through a daily journal for Elul, I feel as though I am reading a Christian commentator.
“We all have sinned. There is not a single one among us who has not. Even when we are ‘righteous’, we still sin. What ultimately matters is not whether we sin, but how we respond to the reality of sinning.” – Olitzky and Sabbath, Preparing Your Heart for the High Holy Days, p. 12
That is the key to being a disciple: how we respond to the reality of sin.
It is our duty, as disciples of Yeshua, to ‘run the race to win’; to crucify the old man and walk in newness of life; to bring the body into submission to the Spirit of God; to face the reality of our sin.
Yeshua said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” and “I will send Him [the Helper] to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.”
We have His Spirit in us, helping us to overcome our own evil inclination, our own desire to sin. Yet this is the reality of sin: it is within us, urging us to fall.
“When we have learned this Torah about life and can begin to admit that we sometimes sin, that we sometimes fail, then we can begin to figure out how to respond, how to stand erect again. It helps that we know that God is walking at our side and that we are not alone.”
The above quote is from the Elul journal. It is written by Jews for Jews. Do you see how very much alike we are?
We, too, know that we are not alone, that Messiah has overcome the world, sin, and death. When He left, He gave us the Helper to grow us up in Him – to stand erect, to be overcomers.
We are called to overcome the world.
How do we start? By overcoming our own inclination to sin. This sounds like a monumental task, doesn’t it?
It does not have to be. Every moment of every day, we are faced with decisions and temptations. Most of these are seemingly minute. But as we face the reality of these ‘minuscule’ sins, turning away from them and moving toward God, we build our overcomer muscles. Each and every day, as we exercise our power to overcome, we grow stronger in righteousness so that when ‘glaring’ sins rear their ugly head, we, by the power of His Spirit, have the ability to overcome.
Yeshua gave us that right. He gave us that power. He told us, “Go and sin no more.”