Is there a way to lead a pure life in today's world? It often seems almost inevitable that we'll be involved in immorality and various forms of impurity. But the psalmist says that a young person can keep his or her way pure. How? If we follow the principles that are laid down for us in the Word of God.
It’s good to be back with you again today. Yesterday, I spoke about God’s Word as the source of Mental Illumination. I explained how it penetrates our minds like a ray of light and dispels the darkness that has been produced by our alienation from God; and how, just as there’s no substitute for light in the physical realm, so there is no substitute for God’s Word in the spiritual realm.
Today I’m going to speak about another vitally important provision that God has made for us through His Word. That is, victory over sin and over Satan.
First, I’ll talk about victory over sin. In Psalm 119:9 & 11, the psalmist takes us right to the heart of the whole question of the life of purity and victory. In verse 9, he asks a question;
“How can a young man keep his way pure? [And he answers:] By keeping it according to Thy word.”
This is a real question for millions of young people in our contemporary culture. Is there a way to lead a pure life or is it normal, is it almost inevitable that we’ll be involved in immorality and various forms of impurity? There are many voices in our contemporary society that say there is not alternative to impurity. It’s just natural. Men live that way and there isn’t any alternative. But the psalmist here says, “Yes, there is an alternative. A young man can keep his way pure. [Of course, that includes a young woman, too How?] By keeping it according to Thy Word.” In other words, if we followed the principles that are laid down for us in the Word of God, even in the midst of an ungodly and sinful world, we can lead a life that is pure. That’s good news? I want to emphasize that. It is possible to lead a live that’s pure. And I want to say this is not just a theory but to the glory of God and by the Grace of God I can testify that I’ve proved it in my own experience. Then in Verse 11, the psalmist goes on to say to the Lord:
“Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.”
So again there’s a tremendously important secret or principle. How can you keep from sin? The answer is by treasuring God’s Word in your heart, by taking it right in and letting it have the central place in your life and letting all your life be ordered by His Word. Somebody said this rather well about the relationship between sin and the Word of God, this way: “Either God’s Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God’s Word.” And that, pretty clearly, states the alternatives. But if you choose the positive alternative, then God’s Word will keep you from sin.
Psalm 17:4 the psalmist gives this testimony. He says:
“Concerning the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”
The paths of the destroyer are all those evil, sinful practices and habits, ways of life that ultimately bring destruction; moral destruction, mental destruction, physical destruction. But keeping God’s Word keeps us from those paths of destruction. I would suggest to you just two simple principles in the Word of God which will keep us from those paths of destruction. The first principle is stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31
“Whether, then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
That’s applied to very simple, every day things like eating and drinking, but it says “do all [whatever you do] to the glory of God.” And then in Colossians 3:17, it says:
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
There the principle is: whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus and give thanks to God.
I would suggest that if you accept those three principles of God’s Word to guide your life, you’ll be kept from the paths of the destroyer. Do only that which you can do to the glory of God. Do only that which you can do in the name of the Lord Jesus and do only that which you can do giving thanks to God while you do it. You will very soon find that that completely eliminates from your life evil, sinful and destructive habits and practices and associations, and God has a special word to say about the place of our body.
God and the Scripture highly esteem our body. It’s not something dirty, it’s not something just for sensual gratification, but for the believer it is a temple, a very sacred place, a dwelling place of God, the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, Paul says:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
The price, of course, is the blood of Jesus. Jesus shed His blood on the cross to redeem us from sin. He did not merely redeem our spirit or our soul, but He redeemed our body that it might be a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are charged to treat our bodies and deal with them as sacred temples of the Spirit of God. If you view your body in that light and treat it that way, it will keep you from the evils that are destroying multitudes today. Evils such as drugs, nicotine, alcoholic excess, and gluttony. All things which ultimately defile and destroy our body.
I’ve spoken about victory over sin, now let me deal with victory over Satan. Remember that, not only do we fight sin but we have a very personal adversary, the devil. A very clever, evil, malicious but powerful being who seeks our destruction. How are we to handle him? In Ephesians 6:17, Paul says this:
“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
There’s a weapon that will deal with the devil. The sword of the Spirit. The sword which, when we take it and begin to use it in faith, the Holy Spirit shows us how to handle it. The Holy Spirit comes to our aid and gives us supernatural wisdom, supernatural authority. However, it is important to understand exactly what Paul is saying. When he says in that verse, “The Word of God,” the Greek word he is using is rhema, which means specifically a spoken word. In other words, the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word when you speak it in faith. It’s not the Bible on your night stand, or the Bible in your bookshelf that frightens the devil. That doesn’t scare him the least bit. But when you take Scripture in your mouth and you quote it yourself, personally, in faith, direct it at the devil, then it becomes the sword of the Spirit.
The perfect example of this, of course, is Jesus confronting Satan in the wilderness. You’ll remember that Satan came to Him with three successive temptations. We don’t need to analyze them, but it’s important to see that Jesus only used one weapon to drive the devil away—the sword of the Spirit, the spoken Word of God. Three times He took the Scripture and quoted it at Satan. It is written... it is written... it is written. Jesus did not rely on the fact that He was the Son of God, He did not rely on His own wisdom, He did not rely on His Jewish background or His training in the synagogue, but He relied solely on the Word of God.
I want to tell you, frankly, that you may tell the devil that you belong to a certain church, or a certain denomination, that’s not going to scare him. You may argue with him in terms of theory and theology, that will not deal with him. The only thing that deals effectively with the devil, is when you take the written Word of God and put it in your mouth and, in faith, direct it to the devil and say, “Satan, you can’t attack me, you can’t have me. I’m quoting God’s Word at you, It is written... it is written... it is written,” and you will find that the devil fears that sharp two-edged sword of God’s Word; and when you really thrust that in with it, he’ll back off and leave you alone because you scare him and trouble him more than he can scare you and trouble you.
There’s another beautiful Scripture about overcoming Satan which is found in Revelation 12:11. It says:
“They [that is, God’s believing people] overcame him [and him is Satan. You’ll notice there we’re in direct conflict with Satan] They [the believers] overcame him [Satan, How?] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
There are three things there combined that give us victory over Satan. The blood of Jesus [the Lamb of God], the Word of God and our testimony. The blood of Jesus is the great symbol and seal of all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf when He died on the cross in our place, shed His blood to redeem us. The Word of God is that which enables us to know what Jesus has done for us, what is our inheritance through the cross; so the blood and the Word work together. When we, ourselves, assert in faith, about ourselves what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us. So, it’s the blood, the Word, and our personal testimony. And then it says they loved not their lives unto the death. This only applies to Christians who are committed to serve the Lord whether they live or whether they die. Uncommitted believers cannot handle the devil, he is not afraid of them, but he’s afraid of committed believers, true Christians who meet him with the blood, with the Word, and with their testimony.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. I’ll continue to share with you on this theme, “What God’s Word Will Do For You.” Tomorrow I’ll be explaining how God’s Word works as an agent of inward cleansing and sanctification.