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- Jacob Ninan
Once we realise that sin was the original cause of all our problems, we can see that salvation is deliverance from sin. Jesus was sent from heaven exactly for this purpose (Mt.1:21). Many people miss seeing this. They think mainly of getting healed from sickness, getting rid of different problems and having a comfortable time in this life. Some others think of escaping from hell and going to heaven. But we miss the point of Jesus' mission if our focus is turned away from salvation from sin.
This salvation actually takes place in three steps. Forgiveness for our sins is first. When we go to God repenting over our sins and put our trust in Jesus as the One who has taken our punishment, He forgives us our sins. He reckons us as justified before Him, or as righteous in His eyes, just as if we'd never sinned. Along with this comes the experience of being born again when we are made alive in our spirit through a work of the Holy Spirit, and we are given new desires, new understanding and new power to do the will of God. This is followed by sanctification, in which we are increasingly set free from the power of sin in our life and we are transformed more and more to the character of Jesus. This is a slow and lifelong process. Finally, when we are taken off from this earth to be forever with God, we will be delivered from this body of sin and given a glorified body in which there will be no sin.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that justification is all there is to salvation. They think that since there is forgiveness for sins, all we need to do is to get forgiveness whenever we sin. Many of them live a life similar to what they used to have before they came to the Lord (except for going to church, reading the Bible, etc.), and assume they are doing quite well. But they are missing out on sanctification.
But some others who want sanctification make the mistake of assuming it's the same as glorification -- when they will no longer have sin in them. These people get constantly frustrated because reality is something else.
Even after we are justified by God, we carry with us a 'flesh' with lusts and desires (1Pe.2:11) through which we are tempted daily to sin (Jas.1:14). We are to 'crucify' the flesh and 'put to death' the lusts in the flesh in order to live according to the way of God (Ga.5:24;Ro.8:13). We make a mistake if we wait for the temptations to disappear or stop coming, because that will only happen in glorification. Now we are in the phase of sanctification, where victory means to be tempted and to overcome.
If we faithfully resist the temptation and overcome, we will become stronger and stronger to deal with that temptation. But we would be wrong if we think that any temptation will no longer trouble us (1Co.10:12). It is possible that the same temptation can come when we least expect it, and we can fall. But if we can humbly learn to endure, with watchfulness and prayer, we can experience victory continually.