Dead To Sin – A Bible Study

Romans 6:11 (NKJV)

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Introduction

I have often heard it said from Christian’s mouths, “I’m just an old sinner saved by grace”.  While you may be old, and you have been saved by grace, are you really a sinner?  The answer many times is “I still sin, that makes me a sinner.”  I wonder if Jesus sees you that way? 

This study explores the subject of “sin”, the promise of God, the work of Jesus Christ and the effect of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.  I pray the Holy Spirit guides me in laying this out so that you receive greater Biblical understanding of “Christ in us the hope of glory.” To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)

It Begins in Genesis

I God creates the universe, the earth, the trees that produce fruit, the seed in the fruit, and man

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. (Gen 1:11)

  1. Perpetual reproduction of each kind contained in the seed. Gen 1:11
  2. God creates man    Gen 1:27
  3. God makes a garden    Gen 2:8
  4. God gives man dominion over the earth.    Gen 1:28
  5. God places man in the garden to tend to it.   Gen 2:15

II   God instructs the man concerning eating from the trees in the garden

     Two trees were specifically mentioned:  tree of life & tree of the knowledge of good & evil   Gen 2:9b

  1. Freely eat of every tree …. except    Gen 2:16
  2. Do not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil    Gen 2:16
  3. Eating from the knowledge of good and evil, you will die   Gen 2:17

     Adam had no frame of reference for death.  He had not seen death or experienced any form of death

III   The “fall” of man and its effects

  1. Eve eats    Gen 3:6b
  2. Adam eats   Gen 3:6c
  3. Their “eyes opened” Gen 3:7a
  4. Covered themselves in fig leaves   Gen 3:7b
  5. Hid from God   Gen 3:8
  6. Were afraid    Gen 3:10

     When Adam ate, their eyes were opened in a way that was new to them.  The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil contained the seed of the knowledge of good and evil.   When they ate the fruit of good and evil it awakened them to something entirely new.

     The knowledge of good and evil, now infused in them, resulting in 3 responses.

  1. They fix their own problems.  Gen 3:7b  
  2. They hide from God when he comes to fellowship with them.   Gen 3:9-10
  3. Fear enters their life.   Gen 3:10b

     Adam and Eve ate fruit that contained the perpetual seed of knowing good and evil.  In response to that seed, now in them, they tried to fix their own problem, nakedness, with fig leaves.  Like the child who says, “I can do it.”  Ever try to fix your own problem?

     When God came to them, as He did every day, they hid.  The knowledge of good and evil separates us from free fellowship with God because we are looking at ourselves and our faults (evil) instead of the relationship.  God knew where they were, yet He wanted them to be willing to fellowship with Him.  Their relationship with God had changed

    When He asked them why they hid they said because of fear.  Their fear of punishment for doing wrong or being wrong had sprung forth.  Rather than be punished they fled the presence of God. 

     Notice God’s side of the relationship did not change.  He still came walking in the garden.   Man’s response to God changed because of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam and Eve became focused on themselves and their wrong.  They tried to fix things on their own and their guilt prompted them to hide from God in fear.  The relationship was damaged. 

IV   God’s correction

  1. God curses the serpent   Gen 3:14
  2. God pronounces judgment on the serpent    Gen 3:15
  3. God advises Eve of the future   Gen 3:16
  4. God advises Adam of the future   Gen 3:17c-19
  5. God removes them from the garden   Gen 3:22-24

     Note that God did not curse Adam or Eve.  God cursed the serpent.  The judgment he pronounced to the serpent was the promise that he would send one who would crush the head of the serpent, and the serpent would bruise his heal.

     To Eve He said she would always be after the need for her husband.  To Adam God said he would strive with the land for production because the land was cursed.  For the most part, this is the way of mankind since the entrance of the knowledge of good and evil.  Women have sought relationships and many times fall into the trap of trying to please her husband and or getting her identity from him.  While man strives at what he does, oftentimes getting his identity from work or what he does.               

     Pay particular attention as to why God removed Adam and Eve from the garden.  Gen 3:23 states the reason God removed them when it says they should not eat from the tree of life.  Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— Gen 3:23

God is a creator of truth and keeps his word.  If Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life they would remain in their current state, trapped in the nature of the knowledge of good and evil forever.  Eating from the tree of life would infuse this nature to them eternally and God did not want that for mankind, so he removed them from the garden.  A total act of mercy towards mankind.  This kept in tack his word to the serpent to send one who would crush his head.

V.     Noah 1200-1500 years later

                A.  Everyone in the earth is corrupt   Gen 6:11-12

                B. Noah hears God (The only one to hear God) Gen 6:13-22

By the time Noah was born the nature of the knowledge of good and evil had corrupted man’s hearts so thoroughly that Noah was the only person who responded to God. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God (Gen 6:9)   The knowledge of good and evil had made mankind so self-centered they no longer had or wanted a relationship with God their father and creator. 

I ask you this; “What would have happened in the relationship between God and man had man been allowed to remain in this condition for one or two more generations?  Would anyone be listening to God?”  If not, then how would God have been able to send the “one” who would crush the serpents head?

VI.     Abraham and the nation of Israel

  1. God makes a covenant with Abram   Gen 15:9-19
  2. The nation of Israel goes to Egypt    Gen 46:26-27
  3. Approximately 430 years later Israel delivered from bondage    Exodus 14:30
  4. The Law is introduced    Ex 19:8 & 20:1-17
  5. Israel worships a calf (false God) Ex 32:1, 4-6

God promised Abram many descendants “…one…from your own body shall be your heir.” …count the stars…“So shall your descendants be.” (Gen 15:4-5) as well as his descendants inheriting the land of Canaan “To your descendants, I have given this land… (Gen 15:18b).  The promise was sealed with a covenant ceremony (Gen 15:9-21).

Israel was birthed through Abraham, grew through Isaack and 68 persons joined Joseph in Egypt.  All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.  (Gen 46:27)  About 430 years later God delivered Israel out of their bondage in Egypt (Ex 14:30) and lead them to Mount Sanai (Ex 19:1-2) where God made a covenant with the nation  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  (Ex 19:6) Then all the people answered…, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Ex 19:8b).

Then God introduced His terms of the covenant.  We know these terms as “the Law” or “The Ten Commandments” (Ex 20:2-17). 

Remember what the people said; “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” This statement was their terms of the covenant.  But within a few weeks, they molded a calf from gold, called it God, worshiped it and threw a big party. (Ex 32:1, 4-6, 19).

Israel went into Egypt knowing God was their Father.  They held to the traditional teaching of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they were children of God, but the years of slavery had eroded intimacy with God to the point where all they had was the promise of deliverance and inheriting the land of Canaan. 

God did just that.  He brought them to Sinai, made a covenant with them which they agreed to keep.  They fully intended to keep their word.  But they did not know their nature.  When God gave them the ten commandments, they agreed to keep them, but God knew the nature of the knowledge of good and evil in them would factor into their ability to keep the covenant.

Life in the Old Covenant

man reading a bible

The nature of the knowledge of good and evil was embedded in the heart of mankind …There is none righteous, no, not one; (Rom. 3:10), including the nation of Israel.  But Israel did not realize this about themselves so God gave them the law which became their tutor (or teacher) …Therefore the law was our tutor. (Gal 3:24).

God knew they would break the covenant, so He implemented the sacrificial system whereby God chose to honor the blood of the spotless sacrifice over the punishment spelled out for breaking the law.  Now men were held accountable for their “sins”.   Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, (Rom 5:13-14) 

The nature of man, which produced sinful actions, was spelled out in the ten commandments.  Mankind could now see how very bad they are.  The sacrifices did nothing to alleviate man’s predicament  …For the worshipers, once purified, they would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.  (Heb 10:2-4), it only enhanced their understanding of being trapped and unable to get out.   … and the strength of sin is the law. (1 Cor 15:56b)

Israel lived for centuries under this covenant.  We see from their history recorded in Judges, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles the nation of Israel had an up and down relationship with their Father.  When the Judge or king was God-fearing the nation prospered when their leader was Godless the nation eroded eventually to being overtaken by other nations.  Mankind, under the knowledge of good and evil, could not keep their end of the Old Covenant.

In the prophets God lamented there was no man who could live according to this covenant He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. (Isa 59:16)   God found fault with the old covenant.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (Heb 8:7) It was broken….

Until Jesus

Jesus showing emotion image

The fulfillment of the promise made to the serpent on the day of his cursing had come into human existence.  Jesus was here to “crush” the serpents head.  The Father sent His seed to the woman, merged with the woman’s seed and formed the first human born into this world, (save Adam) free of the nature of the knowledge of good and evil.  Jesus did not have Adam’s nature.  Jesus had the Father’s nature or motivation in all things he said and did.  He was God and man.

Jesus lived righteously, taught and demonstrated to the nation of Israel the true Father God.  He addressed their false understanding and healed many sick people who, according to their theology, were sick because of their actions (sin).  Their understanding of sin was rooted in what they did, not realizing they did those things because of the unchangeable nature of the knowledge of good and evil that resided in them.  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12)

Jesus was born and lived under the old Mosiac covenant.  He was the first man to live perfectly, 100% righteous, 100% of the time.  He was the express image of God who (Jesus) being…the express image of His person, (Heb 1:3) He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15a)   He never broke any of the laws of the old covenant thereby being the one man, (intercessor), God cried out for in Isa 59:16.  This is an important point because of what Jesus provided in His death and resurrection. 

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

image of the blood of Jesus flowing when he was flogged

The Sinless Sacrifice

Christ’s work upon the cross was nothing short of miraculous.  Because he was “…the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), he became the real sinless sacrifice who knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21) but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:15b) and (Heb 7:26-28) He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb 9:26c) & so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. (Heb 9:28a).

Jesus was the “one man” God found that lived the Mosaic covenant to perfection.  Because he was the true lamb without spot or wrinkle, and because he obeyed God perfectly, his death was acknowledged by God to be the real sacrifice, completely atoning for the “sin” nature of mankind.  His blood did not cover the “sin”, it literally took away the “sin” nature but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb 9:26a).

Establishes the New Covenant

Because Jesus was a man, his life and sacrifice totally fulfilled the entirety of the terms of the Mosaic covenant.   That is why he cried out from the cross “He said, (Jesus) “It is finished!” (John 19:30a). All the terms of the old covenant were completely fulfilled.  There was not one portion, one dot, one tittle that was left undone. 

Just as with any earthly contract, there are terms for both parties.  When 100% of those terms are met, the contract is fulfilled and nothing else can be required from either party.  You pay off the loans on your car the terms of that contract have been met and the bank cannot come to you wanting any more money, proof of insurance, payments, or your car.  So it was with the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments, and the Law.

God himself was no longer required, by the covenant to deal with man according to the Mosaic Law.  Jesus had purchased for mankind a new and better covenant. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jesus was of the house of Judah)— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers… 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel… 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 7:7-13)

God could now set the old covenant aside for the new one with Jesus.  Notice this covenant meant mercy for unrighteousness and God no longer “remembering sin.”  Jesus then became the mediator of a better covenant, between God and mankind.  But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.  (Heb 8:6).

Fulfilling the Terms of The Old Covenant (the Cross and Death)

Fulfilling the old and establishing the new covenant was only a part of what Jesus did on the cross.  The terms of the old covenant required punishment for “sin”.  This was not just punishment for actions it was punishment for the very nature that prompted the sin.  

Adam passed to all man the “sin” nature.  Therefore, just as through one man sin (n) entered the world, and death through sin (n), and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (v)— (Rom 5:12)   The sin nature is what caused a man to perform acts of sin.  (The word “sin” here is a noun, not a verb.  Verbs are action words, nouns are persons, places or things.)

The root of the knowledge of good and evil became part of the nature of mankind through Adam causing a man to do actions of selfishness, self-centeredness, and pride harming themselves and others.  This nature is a part of the being of every person born since Adam (except Jesus).  God needed to change the nature because man, living from the root of the knowledge of good and evil, was unable to change it themselves.  They needed a new root.

Jesus while on the cross took on the nature of mankind.  For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin(n) to be sin(n) for us, (2 Cor 5:21) In making Jesus “sin” God poured out all the punishment due to mankind upon Jesus according to the old covenant.  Jesus readily accepted our punishment because he knew the effect it would have for us.   who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, (Heb 12:2b) but he did not just “endure” the cross, Jesus endured the effects of our sin nature. 

Imagine being “made sin(n)” (2 Cor 5:21).  Jesus suffered the “nature” of the knowledge of good and evil.  He suffered the “wrath” of God for the punishment of the ills of that nature AND he accepted the results of that “nature”.  All the human suffering everyone has or will ever suffer Jesus suffered.  So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; (Isa 52:14)

Jesus literally became a sponge for all the evil of the world.  He absorbed into himself the effects of the sin nature; the sicknesses and diseases of the whole world, the hurts, pains, depressions, sorrows, beatings, fears, hatred, brokenness, and pain of every person ever to live on the face of the earth.  Imagine the looks of a body riddled with cancer, leprosy, skin rashes, organ failures, coupled with broken hearts, disappointments, divorces, abuses, starvations, killings, and maimings plus all the rages motivating all the worlds wars.  But because of our sins, he was wounded,  beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered,  made whole by the blows he received.  (Isa. 53:5 Good News Translation).   Jesus’s body took all God’s wrath and all the physical, emotional, and mental suffering of all mankind into himself.

Yet all the evil in the world’s existence was not capable of extinguishing the life that was in Christ Jesus. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)   So, Jesus submitted himself to death and give up His spirit.  He trusted God would take His spirit.  And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46) Literally making himself obedient to death …He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:8)

But Jesus did not remain dead. (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 21-22).  When Jesus rose from the dead, he became the first-born person in a brand-new species of being. …to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29) Therefore, if anyone is in Christhe is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).  New Creation means a brand-new species of being.  Mary and the men on the road to Emmaus did not immediately recognize the Lord.  Could it be because his visage was of the new creation?

Jesus’s body was reunited with his spirit and his resurrection became the stamp of approval that death and the old covenant no longer reigned in the world.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ destroyed the hold death had on mankind.  Jesus as man had conquered sin and death. 

Jesus, while taking on the “sin” nature of mankind, and the wrath of God for all their transgressions also took on the punishment that nature manifested in sicknesses, disease, hurts, pain, suffering (whether physical, mental or emotional).  He “became” those things, in his body and his mental and emotional state.  Thereby freeing the entire world of all the effects of the evil of this world.  He fulfilled our terms of the old covenant, including what we broke.

Jesus was not alone in this work.  The Father had promised Adam and Eve, by speaking to the serpent, one would come who would crush the head of the serpent, thus setting up the promise of one who would release mankind from the work of the knowledge of good and evil.  God was with Jesus on the cross that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, (2 Cor 5:19)

God the Father was, though Jesus, totally satisfied that the Old Covenant had been fulfilled.  He, therefore, no longer looks at what we are doing, or the motivation in our heart for why we are doing it.  He looks at Jesus and the new eternal covenant they made.  (This covenant stands forever because Jesus is alive forever.)  Are we in that covenant?  To God, he looks to see Jesus.  If we are “in Christ” we are in the new covenant.

Understanding the New Covenant (the Resurrection)

resurrection of Jesus Christ image

The New Covenant provisions made Jesus the last Adam and the giver of the spirit of life. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1Cor15:45).   In reconciling the world to himself God made Jesus the imparter of Life into the believer. 

Paul tells us in Ephesians 1: 13 that hearing the gospel and believing what you hear, the Holy Spirit seals himself to the believer. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (Eph 1:12-13)  Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. (John 3:5-8)   When we are born of the Spirit we are removed from the kingdom of darkness and “translated” into God’s kingdom.  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Col 1:13 KJV)

When we became believers, God moved into our lives by sealing His “life-giving” spirit with our spirit.  With the infusion of Christ’s spirit came righteousness.  …even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Rom 5:18b) those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) (Rom 5:17b).   At the same time, He removed us from the Kingdom of darkness and moved us into the Kingdom of the son of his love (Co 1:13).  Even though we were still in the earth, we also became citizens of the Kingdom of God.  Believers now live in two kingdoms; God’s and the worlds.

With the infusion of the Spirit of God, Paul wanted us to grasp our new identity or righteousness by understanding that the person who is “in Christ” is dead to sin(n) or the sin nature.  Romans 6:2, 7, 11 all state this.  How shall we who died to sin(n) live any longer in it? (6:2) For he who has died has been freed from sin(n). (6:7) & Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin(n). (6:11)   For the believer sin(n) is not an issue in their relationship with God, unless they choose it to be.  God looks on the person asking this one question, “Do I see Christ?”.  If yes, He considers us to be righteous and in right standing with him.  

Our salvation, or freedom from the knowledge of good and evil, (sin{n}) is complete when we are in Christ.  The old nature is dead, and the new nature has come if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17).  We now have the mind of Christ, …But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:16b.,  We are blessed with every spiritual blessing …who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3), dead to sin(n) …How shall we who died to sin(n) live any longer in it? (Romans 6:2), and alive to God …reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin(n), but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:11b), and we have become the temple of God Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16) and the Holy Spirit Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God… (1 Cor 6:19).  As He is, so are we IN THIS World because as He is, so are we in this world… (1 John 4:17b).

Paul used baptism as our example in Romans 6:3-4 says that when believers are immersed in water, we and our “old nature” is dead.  When we are raised out of that water, we rise to a new life in God.  We could say that, in Christ, we are no longer sinners(n), but the righteousness of God. …that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor 5:21b KJV)

God eradicated the nature of the knowledge of good and evil in the believer when He infused his Holy Spirit into us (Darkness cannot dwell with light (2 Cor 6:14).  Jesus the light overtakes the darkness.).  With Jesus came the fullness of the Godhead.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell… (Col 1:19) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him… (Col 2:9-10KJV) entering the believer and writing the law of God on their hearts.  …I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:… (Heb 8:10b), empowering them with power, love and a sound mind For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) teaching them, through grace, to live Godly lives. For the grace of God …12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. (Tit 2:12).  God, by His choice, moved into our hearts Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1Cor 3:16).  We did not ask, nor was that what we prayed for, but He did just the same.

Paul sums the work of Jesus up in these scriptures: In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:11-15)

This is why the Bible can speak over us saying that we are the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21),  we can do greater things than Jesus (John 4:12), we are freed from sin(n) (Rom 6:7), and it has no dominion over us (Rom 6:14), we are no longer slaves to sin (Rom 6:20), we are brand new creatures (2Cor 5:17), the old is passed away the new has come (2 Cor 5:17), we are living stones (1 Pet 2:4-5), and death where is your sting (1 Cor 15:55).   

Why Then do We Still Sin(v)?

This is a great question?  It is normal to ask this question considering what I just said, especially if you believe the Old Covenant is dead, our old Adamic nature is dead, and we are alive to God in Christ.  We need to understand ourselves in relation to the new nature.

God made us in His image Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…; (Gen 1:26).  He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We are Spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body (a three-part being) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes 5:23).

Our Spirit, in Christ at the miracle of being born again, is transformed into God’s house and we become one with him.  WE are infused with 100% of His character, nature, ability, and personage.  We do not get more of God, we received 100% of God when the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus, moved into our spirit.

Our souls and our bodies have not yet received the full transformation.  Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions or our personality.  Our bodies are our flesh.  Both these parts of us have appetites.

Our body appetites include God-given hunger, need for water, sleep, comfort from heat and cold, reproductive processes, and the sensation of pain.  All these appetites are normal but can be perverted.  When perverted they lead to our destruction.  

An overeater will eventually be overweight adversely affecting their health and causing them pain.  Without sleep we become cranky.  Reproductive processes, healthy inside marriage, are so perverted we unwittingly become subject to pornography just watching TV.  Any normal body appetite, taken to an extreme, will cause death of some kind.

Our souls are the answer to the question, “Why do I still sin?”  Our souls have been influenced and trained by this world around us.  The entire world is born into the knowledge of good and evil.  Everywhere, its features are prevalent. 

When we arrive in this world, even Godly parents use “the law” to train their small children’s behavior.  Schools reward us for doing good by sending us to the next grade or failing us for doing bad.  Work rewards us with a paycheck (good) or a firing (evil).  Sports teams give out trophies, medals, high dollar paychecks for winning while the world ignores the failing athletes. 

Every person born in this world operates according to the knowledge of good and evil.  I’ll do this for you if you recognize what I am doing.  You hurt me and I’ll find a way to get revenge.  This human, carnal, self-centered nature is experienced in family relationships, friendships, schools, jobs, social groups, society, governments, organizations, and even churches; especially if converts do not understand what Christ did for them.

Because of the training we have received from every aspect of our living in this earth, our souls experience pleasure, acceptance, love, kindness, goodness, and joy to a much smaller degree than sadness, disappointment, hate, brutality, evil, depression, anxiety, frustration, pain, and suffering.  Our souls; our minds, our emotions, and our will experiences damage while living in this world. 

The damage causes us to form responses, mindsets, attitudes, understandings that are not Godly.  They become embedded in our psyche and personality.  We form habits and lifestyles to cope with the shortcoming around us.  These habits dictate our responses and behavior.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that we must retrain our “souls” and “bodies” by renewing our mind …be transformed by the renewing of your mind…, (Romans 12:2).  We may see something we are doing is not according to our new nature, but we continue to do it and cannot understand why, when we double our efforts we fail.  Romans chapter 7 discusses this dilemma. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin(n). 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin(n) that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin(n) that dwells in me…22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man23 But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin(n)… (Rom 7:13-23)

We agree to do good because God has written His law on our hearts and we know it is right.   But when we do wrong, we think the old nature is still there working in us.  Not true.  The old nature is dead, but the old mindset is still alive to your habit.  Automatically, we yield to it and we end up doing what is wrong.  

When this happens, because we do not know the truth, we put ourselves under the law and decide to double our efforts at doing good. So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin(n). (Rom 7:25).  The strength of sin(n) is the law.  The sting of death is sin(n), and the strength of sin(n) is the law. (1 Cor 15:56)

Demanding a greater effort of ourselves will not change the ingrained response because our effort is of the flesh. Romans 8 teaches us the Spirit is our only hope for change.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin(n) and death. (Rom 8:2). But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. …10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin(n), but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in youHe who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Rom 8:9-11) Then God promises he will never leave.   For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5)

Understanding our mind needs to be renewed, we must realize renewing the mind is a process.  That is done through reading God’s word, identifying yourself as “in Christ”, dead to sin(n) and alive to God, righteous, made perfect, holy, and a child of the most high God.  Focusing on the things God has done to transform and equip us through the Holy Spirit is “spiritual” mindedness, resulting in life (God like living) 6 to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  (Rom 8:6b).  Focusing on the things you are doing wrong is “carnal” (flesh) mindedness and results in death For to be carnally minded is death (Rom 8:6a).

Paul’s epistles begin with a focus on teaching the believer who they are “in Christ” and what He has done for them.  Once Paul establishes that, then he spells out what to do and not to do.  Most often he refers to failures as “flesh”, “carnality” or “lawlessness” because he knows when believers walk in failures, they are really new creatures walking contrary to their new nature.   He contrasts the walk of “flesh” with walking “in the Spirit”. 

The believer who realizes the sin nature is dead, realizes they are a new creation in Christ with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who has empowered them enabling them to walk in obedience to what God is telling them to do. They will find themselves relying on the power of God to modify their responses and walk free of the “lawless” things they do. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  (1Cor 10:13)

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (I Cor 10:13 Amplified Classis Version)

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Cor 10:13 The Message)

Conclusion

God made the earth, man and all things in the earth.  God gave man dominion, put him in a garden and told him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because he would die.  Adam & Eve ate from the tree which changed how they related to God.  God removed them from the garden to keep them from eating from the tree of life and remaining in their new “sin” or self-centered nature eternally.

Their self-centeredness was handed down to all mankind.   Man, under the influence of the knowledge of good and evil, got so self-centered that by Noah’s time he was the only one who listened to God.

God entered into a covenant with Abram making promises to him about his family, Israel and it’s gifting to the world.  Approximately 430 years later God delivered the nation of Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt.  He brought Israel to the mount where they declared “we will do everything He tells us.” 

They did not know their own nature until God spelled it out to them with the “law”, which they broke within the next several days.  God was not surprised by this and was instructing Moses in the sacrificial system on the mountain when Israel sinned.

The sacrificial system pointed out mankind’s true nature, but it did not remove that nature.  Moreover, it constantly reminded people how bad they were.  The sacrifices spoke to them that God would send a Messiah and would indeed remove them from the trap of the “sin nature” (the knowledge of good and evil).  Because God found “fault” in the old covenant, He promised to establish a new covenant whereby He would remove their “sins” from them and free them from the knowledge of good and evil.

The Holy Spirit planted God’s seed in the woman, which conceived Jesus, a human free of the “sin” nature, God’s son.  Jesus was the only human to live 100% perfectly 100% of the time.  Yet he took every aspect of man’s failures (sin) and the fruit of those failures, sickness, disease, pain, hurt, fear, etc. into himself while on the cross.  Jesus became sin.

God fully punished “sin” and its fruit, whereby Jesus fulfilled God’s requirements of the Mosaic covenant.  Because He was a spotless human, he fully fulfilled the human requirements of the Mosaic covenant.  The Mosaic covenant, being fulfilled in all terms by both sides is now set aside.  Nothing else needs to be enforced.

God and Jesus established a new covenant.  Jesus ratified the beginning of the new covenant when He rose from the dead.  He became the “last Adam” at death and the “firstborn” upon His resurrection.

Contained in their new covenant was the condition that any person could enter into it (the new covenant) when they believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  At the time of their belief, God would infuse himself, (His spirit) into the believer.  This infusion seals the person to God, gives them a brand-new nature, removes them from the Kingdom of darkness, and places them “into” the personage of Jesus Christ in his resurrected state.

Once, “in Christ”, the believer begins to experience a release from “the consciousness” of what they do wrong.  Walking free they begin a journey of knowing God, what Jesus provided for them, walking free of the years they were trained by the world and the knowledge of good and evil.  This is a lifetime process; one that is well worth the effort.

When believers call themselves “sinners” they fall far short of the totality of what God and Jesus did for them.  Granted no one acts perfectly, we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), however, I do not think our “lawless” actions can in any way negate the totality of the work of God.  I encourage you to seek this teaching with the Holy Spirit, test this message, then walk in what God reveals to you remembering with God all things are possible. 

Blessings in Christ.

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Sue Taber
Sue Taber is on the pastoral staff at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos California. She is an alumnus from Charis Bible College and a wife and mother.

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