To get victory over sin, to overcome sin, to conquer sin. These all mean the same thing. To get victory over sin, or to overcome sin, is a result of you taking up a battle against sin in your own life. But is it victory when you have overcome sin in one temptation, or is it only seen as victory when you are not even tempted to sin anymore? Look at it this way: You are fighting a war against the sin in your sinful human nature, which is also called your flesh. But every war is made up of many different battles. Every time you overcome a temptation to sin, you have won that one battle. You are a step closer to winning the war.
When an impure thought comes, or any other temptation, then you say “No!”. You pray to God for strength and you use His Word as a weapon, and you overcome in that temptation. That is a victory, and you have won that battle. If a temptation to the same sin comes back again, you must remember that it is a new battle; it is another chance to win a battle, to get victory. It is another step to the final goal of overcoming all the sin in your sinful human nature.
When you overcome in a temptation one moment, you have overcome and won that battle. But when you are tempted the next moment to the same thing, that does not mean you did not have victory the first time. It’s just a chance to overcome the next part of that sin, so that one day all of it will be completely destroyed.
Further reading: What is sin?
To overcome sin
Imagine a field full of enemies; they all look the same. It’s your job to clear this field. Each one of these enemies is a temptation to sin. One of them is a temptation to an impure thought. You overcome this temptation, this enemy, because God’s Word gives power and strength to make you stronger than your enemy! You say, “No!” and you use God’s Word as a sword to kill it. Then you turn around and there is another enemy, another temptation to an impure thought. But you know that this is a new enemy; you can see the one you just killed over there, lying dead on the ground. So, you do the same again with this next temptation; you kill it. And you look around you, and what do you see? More enemies! But you just keep going. If your eyes are on the reward, on the heavenly, rather than on what you can have here on earth, then you will be strong enough to keep going; then the battle never becomes too hard. (Colossians 3:1-4.)
Temptation by temptation: you aren’t finished after just one fight. But if the temptations just keep coming, that does not mean that you are not winning. It just means that you have a sinful human nature, just like every other person on earth. But you are killing these enemies, one by one. After a time you stop and look behind you, and there is a field full of enemies behind you that can never tempt you again! You are making progress; you are on the way to winning the war. (Hebrews 12:1-2.)
Further reading: Is it even possible to keep my thoughts pure?
Step by step you get rid of sin
You can think like this about any of the sins that you see in yourself, for example pride or discouragement. Different things will come up because there are sins in you that lie much deeper, things that you do not see or know about yet; and then there are things that you already see and know about. You do not see everything at the same time, because it would be too much for you to bear. It is one “field” at a time: God shows you just enough so that it is possible for you to overcome it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.) He makes it so that you can be saved from the sin as quickly as possible, with as little as possible suffering. The day will come when you stand in that field and look around you and there are no enemies left. You were faithful and did not give up! Then you will never be tempted in that area again; you have won a full victory in that war. Then you will thank and praise God that He has given you help and power to fight this war and that now you are free from that sin forever.
Click here to read more on ActiveChristianity.org on the topic of overcoming sin.
Victory = something new
Not only are you free from that sin, you have also won godly nature in that area. This godly nature takes up the same place that your sinful nature had in that area. Each time you overcome something impure, it is replaced with purity. As the sin in your human nature – the sin in your flesh – is destroyed, godly nature takes its place. The ”fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) will replace those ugly sins. You are becoming more and more like Jesus; you get a better and better connection with God, and you are growing in wisdom, which will make the next “field” even easier to clear. (2 Peter 1:4-8.)
The day will come when you are perfected. When all sin is gone. When there are no fields left to clear. What a great day that will be! Then you will be ready to meet Jesus, which is what you’re really fighting for. You are fighting for an eternity with Him. Then you will be worthy to be called His brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11, NCV.)
“For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:36 (NRS).