Joshua 1:1 - 2 says " After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun saying, 'Moses My servant is dead. Now then arise and cross this Jordan.' "It was God Himself Who exalted and appointed Joshua to be the leader after Moses. Leadership cannot be exercised effectively, if God Himself has not appointed us to that position. The Lord told Joshua that every place on which his feet trod would be given to him (verse 3), and that no man would be able to stand before him throughout his life (verse 5). This is symbolic of the New Testament promise given us in Romans 6:14, "No sin will be able to master you, because you are under grace. "The land of Canaan had been ruled by many giants in the past. But they would all be defeated. Not a single sin (however powerful) will be able to overcome us. That is God's will for us. But Joshua had to actually put his foot down on a piece of territory and claim it in the Lord's Name. Only then would it be his. So with us too. We must claim our inheritance by faith. If we do not lay hold of God's promises as ours, they will never be fulfilled in our lives.
Paul claimed his rights in the gospel in Jesus' Name, and as a result came into a glorious life. He says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, "Thanks be to Godwho leads us in victory always." "Always in victory" was Paul's song of triumph - and that can be our song too. But most Christians never enter into this life of victory. 600,000 Israelites came out of Egypt; but only two of them - Joshua and Caleb - entered Canaan. About the same proportion of Christians (2 in 600,000) enter into a life of victory today also. Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land because they had this attitude: "If God has told us to occupy the land, we can do it." That is faith. Faith reckons only with the promise of God, and never with the difficulties facing us. The other Israelites said, "This is impossible. The giants are so big and powerful." Today also Christians feel it is impossible to overcome anger and lusting with the eyes, because these lusts are so powerful and have ruled them for so long. Such believers remain defeated all their lives and (spiritually speaking) perish in the wilderness.
The Lord assured Joshua "I will be with you." This was why no man would be able to stand before Joshua. We do not overcome sin through believing some doctrine or by having some experience. No. It is the constant presence of the Lord with us, through his Spirit, alone, that can enable us to overcome. God is looking for such leaders in Christendom today whom He can support and endorse, because their hearts are pure. The Lord told Joshua: "Be strong and courageous. You will lead these people to possess this land which has been ruled by their enemies for so long" (verse 6). We are not to be afraid of any sin. We are to go out and enable God's people to overcome sin in their bodies - bodies that have been ruled by sin for years. It's not enough merely to bring them to faith and the two baptisms - putting the blood on the doorposts, crossing the Red Sea, and being enveloped in the cloud. That is just the beginning. That is only the kindergarten lesson. Do we stop our children's education once they have passed the kindergarten class? No. But that's what's happening in Christendom today.
The pillar of cloud - the baptism in the Holy Spirit - came to lead them into the promised land. They should have entered in, in 2 years, but they didn't enter for 40 years, because their leaders were unbelieving. "Faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17). If believers are not taught these truths in the church-meetings, how can they believe? Then how can they overcome sin?
The Lord told Joshua: "Be strong and courageous and be careful to do everything that is written in God's Word. Don't turn to the left or to the right " (1:7). If God's Word says, "Sin shall not have the mastery over you," (Romans 6:14), believe it and confess it. Don't turn to the left or the right. That means: Don't reduce the breadth of that promise. Don't reduce it to include only some sins. At the same time, don't make it to mean more than what it says. Don't say that we can be as perfect as Christ was, on this earth. We cannot be sinlessly perfect on this earth. That is not what that promise says. It is referring only to victory over to what we know to be sin (conscious sin). We can be fully like Christ only when He returns. 1 John 3:2 is very clear on that. So let's not go beyond Scripture, and let's not believe less than what Scripture promises.