The Christian’s Approach to Sin after the New Birth

It is a popular belief among many Christians that once you are born again that sin is not a problem anymore. It is widely believed that the Christian does not need to be concerned about sin because of the grace of God and that it no longer has any negative impact or consequences in our daily living. It is like we are given a “live any way you want card” because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we don’t have been to be concerned about our character, our conduct, our actions or our manner of living. It is given the term of Christian liberty or freedom in Christ, and we can always just confess our sins, receive forgiveness and then go back living anyway we please often in the same manner or even worse than before we were born again. Don’t be fooled as this is a major deception by our spiritual enemy the Devil as sin is the major destroyer of Christian lives, Christian churches, Christian marriages, Christian relationships and the movement of the gospel around the earth. Habitual sin will destroy your relationship with God and rob it of its intimacy. Sin will produce works that do not glorify God and can absolutely engulf and consume your heart taking it out and turning it away from God Almighty. By its very nature, sin wants to rule, sin wants to control, sin wants to dominate and sin wants to reign as king in our lives. Sin is a thief, it is a destroyer and it ruins and shatters our lives. Sin enslaves and brings your heart into bondage so you are hindered and obstructed and bound from accomplishing the God given-destiny God has designed for you life. Sin is a great enemy to our calling, our God-given gifting and the purpose that God has so lovingly set for our lives. The Devil uses sin to divert us, distract us, fascinate us and lure us off God’s righteous path to a road that leads to misery and despair. Nothing is more tragic that having wasted our lives because we have allowed sin to have its way in our hearts. Let me make one truth clear, I understand the awesome work of atonement by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and how he bore our sin and paid the price for sin so we could become birthed into the kingdom as His beloved sons and daughters. Our salvation is paid for by the finished work of Jesus Christ and we are born again by incorruptible seed that cannot perish. However, Romans 6 lays forth the vital truth that sin is still an enemy that we must deal with in a practical way in our lives even after we become Christians or it will become our master and we will be its slaves. In many ways Romans chapter 6 is the crux of your walk with God as a Christian and lays out important truths that we cannot ignore as Christians. Before you can get to the great heights of Romans 8 in the Christian life, you must walk through and practice the truths of Romans 6 or you will never be more that a conqueror in practice in the circumstances of life.

Ray Stedman wrote:

Verses 1-14 of the sixth chapter of Romans are the most important fourteen verses in Scripture, insofar as being delivered from enduring the Christian life to enjoying it is concerned. There is a difference between possessing eternal life, which all Christians have, and possessing that abundant life which the Lord came to give

God did not quit hating sin after the Day of Pentecost because He knows the destruction and havoc it causes to our faith, our obedience, our love and our confidence. Sin has titanic and often unrealized effects and knowing this should put us on high alert and cause us to guard ourselves against its cancerous and contaminating consequences.

The apostle sees sin as a living and malignant power that at one time had complete reign over us. Even after a person is converted, sin still struggles mightily to retain its former dominion. The unconverted are POWs to such an extent that sin dwells in them without resistance from the spirit of God. The gift of holy spirit that dwells within us is always resisting our sin nature and that is why God exhorts in Galatians to walk by the spirit and not to walk by the flesh. This is the great battle of life of what nature are we going to follow and build our habits, words, actions and thoughts around. We cannot resist the sin nature’s relentless pursuit to be our master without the help and power of God Almighty.

Sin does negative and destructive things to us and others. If sin were positive or even neutral, a loving God would be unconcerned about it. He would not lead us to repentance or demand that we repent of it, confess it and ask for forgiveness and deliverance from it. He would not command us to overcome it, resist it, mortify it, put it away, turn from it and not continue in it if it had no effect on our Christian lives.

Before Adam fell into sin, he had a nature perfectly suited to bearing the image of God and representing His goodness. The sin nature was not part of our humanity as God had originally designed it. Adam was designed to represent His Maker, and God gave him a divine nature in which he shared the attributes and qualities of His Creator. Characteristics of God, such as love, joy, goodness, peace, kindness, faithfulness, and wisdom must have been abundant in Adam, as he was a son of God and bore His image. He had every godly quality necessary for him to exercise his dominion upon the earth. There was nothing in his nature that caused him to act contrary to the will of God.

When Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, this perfect image of God’s character that he represented was shattered into pieces. Sin was now mixed into this nature like a virus in the blood, and the image of God inside us was greatly dimmed. These great qualities that God had designed intrinsically in men and women became mixed with sin which obscured and obstructed their demonstration in the world. This sin nature is not an intrinsic part of who God designed you to be, but is a contamination and intrusion into our lives that caused physical and spiritual death. Qualities of selfishness, hatred, cruelty, lust, indifference, violence, and idolatry all flow out of this sin nature and obscure and suffocate these godly qualities. The sin nature is very strong and dominates over the image of God, so no one has exhibited an ability to habitually be free of its impulses and characteristics. Man’s relationship with God was broken and separated by sin, which made it even more difficult to exhibit the qualities and attributes of God, our Creator.

The sin nature energized the thoughts, reason, will, and emotions, as Adam and Eve were living in a state of separation from God. The sin nature is absolutely rooted in selfishness and intrinsically pushes people to glorify themselves rather than God. The sin nature drives one to habitually act and speak in a manner that satisfies its evil desires. Adam turned the image of God into an image of sinful man, as the world throughout all ages of history has not lived up to the image of God. No one can break free of the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death, without the Lord Jesus Christ, who would be the liberator, the deliverer, the conqueror, and the Savior from the kings of sin and death and all their evil consequences.

Before we look at Romans 6, let’s examine the Greek words used for “sin” in the New Testament so we can define our terms based upon the God-breathed Word and not our own interpretations or culture’s definitions. Sin (hamartia) literally conveys the sense of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Ryrie adds that “this is not only a negative idea but includes the positive idea of hitting some wrong mark.” Hamartia in the Bible means to miss God’s mark as an archer misses the “bull’s eye” and ultimately to miss the true purpose and end of our lives which is God Himself. Hamartia is the word used most frequently in the New Testament for sin.

Brought over into the New Testament, this idea of failing to attain an end, gives it the idea of missing the divinely appointed goal, a deviation from what is pleasing to God, doing what is opposed to God’s will, perversion of what is upright, and a misdeed. Thus the word hamartia means a missing of the goal conformable to and fixed by God. It is missing of the standard set by God. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament).

God has a wonderful divinely appointed goal, purpose, mark and standard for your life. This is the bull’s eye. When we sin we wander and stray from this divine standard, and miss the perfect, true purpose that God has designed for our lives.

Transgression (paraptoma from para = aside + pipto = fall) is literally a falling aside or beside to stumble on something (so as to loose footing) and in its figurative ethical usage (all uses in the New Testament) it describes a “false step”, a violation of moral standards or a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live. Paraptoma is a false step out of the appointed way, a trespass on forbidden ground, a stepping out of line of true conduct, a deviation from truth and uprightness. Paraptoma describes what a person has done in transgressing the will and law of God by some false step or failure.

Paraptoma is akin to parapipto, to fall beside a person or thing, to fall away, to deviate from the right path, or to turn aside (see Hebrews 6:6). The basic idea of paraptoma is that of stumbling or falling so as to lose one’s footing. The NAS translates paraptoma with 2 words, either as transgression or trespass (derived from Old French – tres =across [Latin – trans] + passer = to pass. Thus trespass means to make inroads upon the property, territory, or rights of another and implies an unwarranted, unlawful, or offensive intrusion).

Trespasses, from the Greek paraptoma, means “to go off a path, fall or slip aside.” When it is applied to moral and ethical issues it means to deviate from the right way, to wander. Sins, the Greek hamartia, is generally associated with military usage and means to “miss the mark.” It indicates failing to make a bull’s-eye. In moral and ethical contexts, it means to fail of one’s purpose, to go wrong, or to fail to live according to an accepted standard or ideal. Sin is the failure to be what we ought to be and could be. God has created the new nature in us and we are beloved sons and daughter but if we allow sin to rule our lives, we will never manifest to the world the greatness of this calling. Our witness will fail to show the world the greatness of our God.

Christianity is a way of life from God that He expects to reach into every facet of life. We sin when we fail to live up to the standards of this way of life that God established as revealed in His Word. As such, sin can reach and dominate into marital relationships, childrearing, friendships, cleanliness, clothing, health, employment, entertainment, and all areas of our lives—even how we drive our automobiles. It involves itself in the entire gamut of human attitudes such as pride, envy, anger, lust, hatred, greed, jealousy, resentment, covetousness, depression and bitterness. In the New Testament, the biblical writers always use hamartia in a moral and ethical sense, whether describing commission, omission, thought, feeling, word or deed.

The basic concept of sin is failure—failure to live up to a standard, failure to hit the bull’s eye, failure to stay on the path. The slavery Jesus speaks of is bondage to a pattern of thinking that produces failure. This is what God wants to deliver and convert us from. All who come out of the world have been addicted, held in bondage, to ways of thinking that produce failure, mental illness, physical disease, and death. God desires to give us freedom through applying the truth in faith and love as we renew our minds to live by His heavenly standard.

Just as surely as a person on drugs eventually wants to take the drug because he is enslaved by it, sin, has an addictive quality. Satan knows very well that if he can get us to sin once, there is a strong possibility he can get us to sin again and again and again until we are eventually enslaved by it and cannot help ourselves.

Satan’s lies produce death through sin and Satan is a cold-blooded life destroyer. We can look at “life” in two ways: in terms of physical life ending in death and quality of life. We have eternal life in the new birth, but a habitual lifestyle devoted to sin destroys the quality of our life and witness for God. What is so sad is that he seems to have such an easy time in getting people to swallow the lie that it will somehow be better to disobey God than to obey Him.

Satan is at the crux of sin. His name means “Adversary.” He is against God and anything godly. In Revelation 9:11, he is called “Abaddon” and “Apollyon,” and both of these names, one Hebrew, the other Greek, mean “Destroyer.” Satan is a destroyer, and the spirit that emanates from him, that drives this world and produces sin, is a destroying spirit. We can broadly say that sin does two bad things simultaneously: It produces negative results and destroys.

Romans 6:1-The great rhetorical question every Christian should be asking and reflecting upon: 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

It must be available for the Christian to continue in sin after they are born again. This is not pleasing to God or beneficial to the Christian life as Paul builds this truth in Romans 6.

Continue-Epimeno was used to describe someone abiding in some one’s home as a guest with the idea of fellowship, cordial relations, dependence and social intercourse. Means literally to tarry, to stay at or with, to abide in, to continue in.

Is sin something you have cordial relations with? Is sin your house guest or something you have intimate fellowship with? Is sin your best friend? Have you decided even though you are born again to stay with, abide in, and continue in sin because you believe grace is a license or get out of jail free card to sin?

Phillips paraphrases it this way…

“Shall we sin to our heart’s content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God?”

Or to phrase it another way…

Shall we habitually sustain the same relationship to the sinful nature that we sustained before we were saved, a relationship which was most cordial, a relationship in which we were fully yielded to and dependent upon that sinful nature, and all this as a habit of life?

Vs 4-As Christians we can live in the deadness of sin or the newness of life of the spirit.

Romans 6:6 Wuest: knowing this experientially, that our old [unregenerate] self was crucified once for all with Him in order that the physical body [heretofore] dominated by the sinful nature might be rendered inoperative [in that respect], with the result that no longer are we rendering a slave’s habitual obedience to the sinful nature.

ESV: 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin

might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Might be brought to nothing (katargeo) literally means to reduce to inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and so to render powerless, reduce to inactivity. To do away with. To put out of use. To cause to be idle or useless. To render entirely idle, inoperative or ineffective. Cause something to come to an end or cause it to cease to happen. To abolish or cause not to function. It’s to become unemployed.

Sin no longer has to be an active force and power in our life as it has been rendered unemployed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot let sin have its old job back by allowing it to dominate our minds and hearts bringing us into slavery. We should no longer be rendering a slave’s habitual obedience to the sin nature. We must put off this old man and put on the new man.

Be enslaved (douleuo from related word “bondservant” = doulos -slave or one who is in bondage or bound to another, in the state of being completely controlled by someone or something) means to be in bondage or in the position of servant and to act accordingly, dutifully obeying the master’s commands. It means to fulfill the duties of a slave, for whom there was no choice either as to the kind or length of his service. A slave does what the master (Sin) tells him to do.

As Christians we can longer let sin be our master, our ruler and our King. Sin wants to maintain its place upon the throne of our hearts controlling our words, thoughts and actions. But Jesus Christ broke its power on the cross and we must claim this victory and never allow sin to usurp the reign of our lives or it will be the great destroyer of everything we desire to do for God and will contaminate our walk, our thinking and our character. Sin is ever crouching at the door as it wants to rule over you.

Genesis 4:6,7 (NIV): Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

The warning is clear. Repent of sin at once, or it has a powerful tendency to grow and thoroughly dominate one who does nothing to stop it. This thought is reinforced in the final sentence of verse 7, “And its desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Because sin is an ever-present reality of life, it is essential that we have sufficient knowledge to recognize it before its fiery darts strike us down. This requires consistent, thoughtful study of God’s Word and effort to build an awareness of its presence, enabling us to beat it to the punch, so to speak.

Sin’s desire is so persistent and its appeal so subtle that, if it is not consciously stopped, one will become a master, a “pro,” as we would say today, at sinning. It becomes a way of life. Jeremiah 4:22 makes this principle even clearer. “For My people are foolish; they have not known Me. They are silly children and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

C H Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) asks the pertinent question…

Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice’s den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler- be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you “serve sin” you have “Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back…Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

Regarding our moral and spiritual conduct, we must recognize that there is no twilight zone, especially in our relationship with God. A Christian cannot muddle around morally or spiritually, thinking that sin is a rather minor affair. It cost Jesus His life! Sin is like a cancer, most of the time invisible but silently working to destroy us. Sin desires to return us to our former state where sin was the master and controller of our lives.

In Hebrews 3:12-13, “Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” God warns that sin has a deceptive quality. It promises so much even before it actually becomes an act of conduct, but it delivers far short of its promise. Its truly sneaky aspect is its powerful tendency to lure us into further sin, enslaving us and hardening our minds against righteousness. In other words, it shares characteristics with drugs in that it is addictive or enslaving, destroying one’s well-being.

The deceitfulness of sin! In this context, to be deceitful is to be seductively and enticingly misleading. Sin promises what it cannot deliver. It promises pleasure, contentment, fulfillment—life—but its delivery on these things is fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying. Its deceitfulness is the very reason why it has addictive qualities. It lures us on to try to capture what it can never deliver.

The pleasure is never quite enough to produce the contentment and fulfillment one desires. Thus, people are forced into greater and deeper perversions until it results in death. All along the way, from its inception to death, sin quietly produces hardness of heart. Like a callus that forms over a break in a bone or stiffens a person’s joints, sin paralyzes right action.

“Hardness” is translated from skleruno, from which name for the disease multiple sclerosis is derived. In a moral context, it means “impenetrable,” “insensitive,” “blind,” “unteachable.” A hardened attitude is not a sudden aberration, but the product of a habitual state of mind that reveals itself in inflexibility of thinking and insensitivity of conscience. Eventually, it makes repentance impossible. The will to do right is completely gone.

Romans 6:11: Amplified: Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
NLT: So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.
Moffat: So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Phillips: In the same way look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive and sensitive to the call of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Kenneth Wuest has an extended but well reasoned note explaining that what Paul is doing using logizomai is to exhort “the saints that in their endeavor to live a life in accordance with the Word of God, they should take into account the fact that they are dead to sin, that they have been disengaged from the evil nature, that it has no power over them anymore, that they are scot free from it and can say a point blank “NO” to it, also to take into account the fact that they are alive to God, that is, that the divine nature has been imparted with the result that that nature gives them both the desire and the power to regulate their lives in accordance with the Word of God.

And so it is with a Christian who counts upon the fact that the power of the sinful nature is broken. He knows that he does not have to obey it, and that he has the power to say “NO” to it, and he turns his back on it and does what is right. The Christian who does not count upon the fact that the divine nature is implanted in his inner being, goes on living his Christian life as best he can more or less in the energy of his own strength, with the result that he exhibits a mediocre Christian experience. But the believer who counts upon the fact that he is a possessor of the divine nature, ceases from his own struggles at living a Christian life, and avails himself of the life of God supplied in the divine nature. So the first adjustment the Christian should make is that of counting upon the fact that the power of the indwelling sinful nature is broken and the divine nature imparted, and order his life on that principle.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament)

Just say “no” to the Sin Nature and just say “yes” to the divine nature. Great power in simply resisting the sin nature and saying “no” and the enemy will flee (James 4:7).

Ray Stedman:

“When you feel temptation in your body or your mind, then there are two things you are to do: First, remember that you don’t have to obey sin. You just don’t have to. You are free to refuse it. You are free to say, “No, you don’t have the right to use that part of my body for a sinful purpose.” And, second, remember his power is in you to enable you to offer that same part of your body to God, to be used for his purposes. Now, that may mean a struggle, because the strength of sin is very strong. When we start to turn away from evil in our bodies, the habits of our lives are so deeply engrained that oftentimes it is very difficult, and we struggle. But we have the power not to sin because we have God himself within us — the living God…There will be a struggle; it is not always easy, but we have the strength to do it and we have the right to do it. We have the freedom not to sin and the desire not to sin. That is what God has brought to us in Christ….Paul is describing the two steps that we are to repeat over and over again, in dealing with evil in our lives.”

We are either dead to sin and alive to God or alive to sin and dead to God. We make the choice in our daily living.

Romans 6:12 Amplified: Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. Phillips: Do not, then, allow sin to establish any power over your mortal bodies in making you give way to your lusts. Wuest: Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings.

Reign (basileuo from basileús = a king, sovereign, monarch) means to rule as a king with the implication of complete authority. To rule and be in control in an absolute manner or to control completely.

The present imperative (command) is preceded by a negative particle (“me” = negates what follows) which means “Stop letting the Sin to continue to reign in your physical body.” Paul is saying stop letting this continue, implying that his readers were in fact letting sin reign. “Sniper attacks” by our incorrigible flesh are unavoidable, but allowing Sin to reign in our bodies is unacceptable. Paul’s point is because of our position (dead, buried and resurrected with Christ), believers no longer have to obey the demands of “Sin”.

Do not be deceived beloved. Everyone has a master — and that master is either “sin” or Christ Jesus the Lord.

Romans 6:13: Amplified: Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
Phillips: Nor hand over your organs to be, as it were, weapons of evil for the devil’s purposes. But, like men rescued from certain death, put yourselves in God’s hands as weapons of good for his own purposes.
Wuest: Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God,
Young’s Literal: Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.

Present (paristemi from para = near, beside + histemi = place, set) literally means to place or set beside or near and hence to place at someone’s disposal. Paristemi means to present oneself for service or to put at the service of.

Are you putting your body, your mind, your thoughts, your passions and your desires at the disposal and service of sin or God? As Christians we must yield everything and place it all at the disposal of God. Does God have all of you?

Instruments (hoplon) originally described any tool or implement for preparing a thing and then became specialized to refer to items such as a ship’s tackling, a cable, a rope or a tool of any kind (blacksmith tools, sickle, staff) and then in the plural was used for “weapons of warfare. And so the instruments we are to put at the service of God are weapons or implements of war, either offensive or defensive.

We are in an all out spiritual war with the Devil. Are you giving ammunition to the enemy that he can use in his unholy war on the earth to accomplish his purposes? Are our words engulfed and coated in sin where they hurt, destroy, cut down and corrupt the hearts of those who hear them? Are we yielding our members as instruments of love or hate? Compassion or indifference? Forgiveness or bitterness? Anger or joy? Can God count on your lips, your hands, your feet, your thoughts, and your actions to be tools to advance His kingdom?

A W Tozer writes that…

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart’s holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere….

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the spirit as he wills to be….

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By “want” I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God’s conditions to obtain. It is true that many of us live our lives as believers with sin still dominating us, at least from time to time. Day after day we struggle with the same temptations and make the same bad choices. Too often we place ourselves under the Law, and seek to attain victory over that sin in our “power”!

The old nature, our sin nature, even though made ineffective by our cocrucifixion with Christ (Ro 6:6note, Col 2:12) is still like a car that is in neutral with the motor running. If we shift into gear, the old self takes off, propelling down the road to sin of manifold shape and size. But with the gears shifted in neutral, the engine (of self) may roar loudly but it has no power. The comparison of flesh to a car engine being revved up is not completely accurate, because flesh is more powerful and is waiting to be released to propel me into sinful behavior and conflict with others (as well as with God).

Because of our new life in Christ (Rom. 6:4), we can now respond in a God pleasing way to Rom. 12:1 and present our bodies to Him…we now have that choice–to present ourselves to God rather than to sin. We must daily learn to present our body to Him, so that sin remains in neutral. But don’t think that our flesh with its potential to sin ceases to exist. We are in a war from the moment we get saved until the time Jesus comes back and our minds have to constantly be renewed by the Word of God. Warfare is not devil spirits always on me (although they are very real and warfare with them is very real) but is more often me dealing with my old flesh. That is the biggest battle most of us face each day when we get up. We look in the mirror and see our “own worst enemy” in one sense. Devil spirits can effect the warfare but they are not the one who chooses how to respond in any given moment. When we sin it is because we choose to submit to “have it our way” rather than our Lord’s way as mediated by His indwelling (and controlling) spirit.

To begin to experience victory over sin is to surrender to the One Who has rendered Sin powerless. We must immerse ourselves in the Word, prayer, mediation, and control our thinking, confession and words. We must guard our hearts and become radically devoted to Him. We are not perfect and will sin at times but our heart should never be sold out to any sin or any act of disobedience that does not glorify God. Do all for the glory of God and you will have taken a giant step in resisting the lure of sin trying to be our Master.

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