As explained in another Bible FAQ , sin is defined by the Bible as breaking God’s law. But how can you overcome sin and live by God’s way?
First you have to come to realize that you broke God’s law and sinned. This isn’t just about acknowledging that you did the wrong thing against God’s will. Read what John the apostle wrote in one of his letters to a church congregation: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
American King James Version×). Realizing our own sin involves admitting our faults to ourselves and confessing our sins in prayer to God.
After confessing the sin, sincerely ask God to forgive you. Peter wrote that God wants all people to “come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×). So have confidence in approaching God and asking him for forgiveness (Hebrews 4:16 Hebrews 4:16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
American King James Version×).
The next step is very important. Ask God to help you not commit that sin anymore. When we repent of sin it means that we change our minds —our way of thinking. This leads to a change in the way we act.
What do you do once you’ve recognized your sin, confessed it to God and are working on repenting of your sins? Peter’s sermon at the first New Testament Pentecost explained the next step in the process of overcoming sin: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×, emphasis added).
For someone trying to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×), baptism is the next step in living a new life of repentance and overcoming sin. Scripture shows the need for the indwelling of Christ’s life to fully live a righteous life. To learn more please read our free online booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .