How Does the Christian Deal with Sin?  

a study series by Arthur J Licursi

Part of 12 of 14 - The Sinful Passions within Our Body of Flesh.

Romans 7:5 (AMP) When we were living in the flesh, the Sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes Sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death.

Paul here above says “the Sinful passionsliving in our flesh are aroused by the Law.” This is a problem we may never have recognized before; this dilemma needs an answer.  

Okay, if we are not to live by "law-keeping" since that is hopeless, and grace is not a “license to sin,” which is ridiculous on its face, then how do we overcome these passions of Sin in our flesh?

The Proper “Method of Regulation

Did you know that the Greek word for “law” is “nomos,” and it simply means a “method of regulation”? There are external laws or methods of regulation that are used to regulate us. These would be the laws of our government that are encoded into law written on paper. They often need a lawyer and judge to interpret and enforce them.

But there is another kind of law entirely. These are internal laws or methods of regulation that work or automatically. Our physical life operates by another kind of law that is simpler but quite effective.  In fact, it’s a law that works spontaneously. These physical methods of regulation depend upon only one thing – we must be physically alive. Some examples of this “living methods of regulation” that operate within us are these.

1) The electrical impulse in the Sinoatrial node in the septal wall of our heart controls the beat of our heart – automatically, spontaneously, and without any effort.

2) Our pancreas is an organ that produces insulin, which enables our cells to receive the glucose (sugar), needed to power the cells of our muscles, hearts, and brain.

The common single element needed to make such “living laws” work automatically is that they operate by life” – they work according to the “nature: of the physical life.

Similarly, Paul says we live under “grace,” having a new “law” (Gk nomos, meaning “method of regulation”) operating within us, which operates by the indwelling “spirit of life in Christ’s Jesus” with His nature. Romans 8:2 For the law (operation) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

This “the law (or operation) of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” does what is natural to Christ’s own life. The law or Sin is the nature or method of regulation ruling our self-loving “old man.” He sins automatically; even while it is covered with seemingly nice works performed as a deception. This is so our “old man” may appear to be nice; but all the while these are the works of the sinful flesh.

The nature of the dog automatically causes it to bark, and cats to meow; the bird nature can make it overcome another law or method of regulation called “gravity” – it can fly and soar above the things of earth – so long as it’s “alive.” So we see by this that living laws can be more effective than written laws. Paul calls this method of regulation within the believer “the Law of (method of regulation) the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Just as the bird can overcome gravity; we can overcome “the law or operation of the Sin nature” automatically, by the operation of Christ’s “spirit of life.” Again, note the word “life.” This principle is a living life principle. This law, principle, or mode of operation is not written on dead and inanimate stone tablets as was given to Israel to regulate them. This living law is written and encoded on our living hearts – by Christ in our spirit (1Cor 6:17).

This living mode of operation not only speaks to us internally but it also empowers us to live, move and have our being in accord with the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Christ lives in us and through us as the new us so long as we trust Him to do so. Colossians 1:27 (NIV) … the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. “Glory” here is the outer “expression” of His life within us.

This living law is by is the operation of God. All we need to do is have faith to trust the life of Christ operating within us.

Colossians 2:12 (KJV) (We have been) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Do we have faith in God’s operation whereby He circumcised us with a circumcision that was accomplished with out a physical knife, but rather a cross? It was by His Spirit that He cut away or divided us from the power of our fleshly “old man,” who was dominated by the “body of Sin?” Do we have faith that we are now free from the dominion and power of the Sin nature, and that we are alive to God by Christ’s life within us, as our new life, as the new us?

Romans 6:11 (AMP) 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. 12 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.

I May Sin, But I Do Not Want To

A Christian has no desire to willfully Sin. We are tempted and sometimes we fail in resisting that temptation – but still we are loved of God, unconditionally. In each case the conscience of our Christ-filled spirit has convicted us, and usually He has spoken to us by that innermost sense of His life even before we did whatever we did. We may have spoken a harsh word, done something absolutely gross, gossiped, bought something we know we should not have, we watched a TV program we should not have, stole, lied, kept the overpaid change from a purchase at the store, or we may be harboring unforgiveness against someone else. Whatever the case, we knew it when we are about to sin and then again when we have sinned. This is a fact of the Christians life. Did I really want to sin in my heart of heart? No. It was an occasion when I allowed my unrenewed soul to rule over the sense of Christ’s within my spirit – and yet God still loves me and I am forgiven by the blood of Christ that was shed once 2,000 years ago… for “all sin.”

The why of our forgiveness is based upon His unconditional love. The “just” basis of the blood of Christ has the “debt due” stamped “paid in full.” His love and life are given to us without limit and unconditionally.

Romans 8:31-39 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As we have seen, we obviously have no license to Sin. When we do sin our sins are dealt with fully by the blood of Christ. We also have the living Lord who intercedes with the Father on our behalf. Romans 8:34 (AMP) Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus, Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

In the face of these truths of the love and grace of God, and His provision of Christ who died for us and now dwells irrevocably within us, we have but one response to such love – we are drawn to walk in accord with His “spirit of life” – we are constrained in our hearts to respond to His unconditional love.

2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (AMP)  For if we are beside ourselves [mad, as some say], it is for God and concerns Him; if we are in our right mind, it is for your benefit, 14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; 15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.

After all, God always desired children who loved Him via their free will. If it is not by a free will choice, then it would not really be of love.