I want to know the perspective of the Bible on how biblical characters struggled with vices? For part time, one struggles a lot with a bad habit and there are times when s/he can stand firm, and then, there are times of giving up… and s/he understands that it’s not good, apologizes and then … falls again into the trap and it happens that one is ashamed and comes again in prayer to ask forgiveness for the same sin that s/he has mentally overcome much time ago, but physically s/he never succeeds. Is this a mistake that we use the grace and forgiveness? How long does it take to overcome vices?
The Apostle Paul experienced the same dilemma
In the Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul addresses circumstantially the question asked by the reader and he says:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:18-24)(NASB)
Salvation is in God through Jesus Christ
After he puts a question in the end, also Apostle Paul answers and says:
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)(NASB)
Live according to the Holy Spirit
In the second part of chapter 7 of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote about the inner feelings he had had before he knew Christ. Chapter 8 talks about the victory over sin which he has now, when he lives with Jesus in his heart according to the Holy Spirit. This is exactly how the chapter begins – with the word “now” and it says:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:1-9)(NASB)
Why some people can not overcome vices?
According to the teachings of the Word of God, there is one of two reasons:
The first and most common is when people think they are Christians because they go to church, respect certain traditions and customs, but have not entered the New Covenant with Jesus Christ and have not received the Holy Spirit. They lack the substance, the engine and the power of the holy living and they have to seek to be born again as soon as possible.
The second reason is present in the lives of those who entered a covenant with the Lord Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, but do not choose to live according to the Spirit each day, but they are led by the flesh.
If you can not have victory over sin, see which of these reasons apply to you, and make urgently all the necessary changes in your life.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru