By Brandon Sutton
In step one, we admit our powerlessness over our sin. In essence, we wave the white flag. Total surrender to the fact that we cannot beat sin by ourselves is essential to mastering it. If we think we can somehow manage our sin, we will never gain true freedom. We may live with the illusion of control, but really sin controls us. Trying to manage sin is like a man attempting to carry hot coals next to his chest and not get burned (Proverbs 6:27).
We must give up, but that alone doesn’t solve our problem. If I admit that I am powerless to overcome my sin and addictions, I am still powerless, and my life is still unmanageable. It’s as comedian Dusty Slay says, even if you check your credit score like they tell you to, if it’s bad, it’s still going to bad after you check. The same is true with sin. Admitting its bad doesn’t solve the problem. I must seek help, and that help must come from God.
Step two according to the AA Big Book says, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” At least two ideas are behind this statement. One, you need only believe in a higher power. It doesn’t need to be God or any other religious figure. It just needs to be a power greater than yourself. Secondly, this step suggests that our problem is primarily mental. Alcoholism, they say, is a thinking disease. Therefore, we need to be restored to sanity.
I am not in complete disagree with these ideas. We do need a power greater than ourselves, and much of our problem does occur in the mind. Nevertheless, AA’s step two is insufficient. First of all, we’re not called to believe in a power greater than ourselves. We’re called to believe in God. More specifically, we’re called to believe upon Jesus Christ. Secondly, our problem is mental, but it is not only mental. Sin has ruined us holistically. Our heart and soul are corrupt. Our bodies are dying. We need total salvation.
This is why I like Regeneration’s Step Two. “We come to believe that God is the One whose power can fully restore us.” Full restoration is what we need. Not just mental transformation. Yes, my thinking needs to change, but so does my will, emotions, affections, desires etc. I need total renewal.
If I am to overcome my sin, I must believe that God can do this work. I can’t approach Him with doubt or reservations. “Without faith it is impossible to please [God] for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him”(Hebrews 11:6). When we approach the Lord, we must believe that He can remedy our sin problem.
If you’re a believer, you are not mastered by sin any longer. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14). The primary thing Paul is calling Christians to do here is believe. We must believe that God set us free and then live as those who are free. If we believe that we will never have victory over our sin, we won’t. Faith is a powerful, supernatural thing, and God has given it to you as a gift if you’re in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). When God regenerates a dead, lost sinful man or woman, He also grants that person the precious gift of faith. And faith must be exercised not only in Christ for salvation but in the promises of God for sanctification. We must believe we’re new in Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17). We must believe that God has truly set us free (Galatians 5:1). In recovery, we tell people, fake it until you make it. Bring the body and the mind will follow. In Christianity, we’re called to preach these truths to ourselves, believe them and then walk in light of their truth.
Give yourself completely to God. Admit that you can’t overcome sin by yourself. Believe that God has blessed with you everything you need in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 2nd Peter 1:3). And prepare to surrender everything to Christ, because next we go to step three.