How Does the Christian Deal with Sin? 

a study series by Arthur J Licursi

Part 6 of 14 – The Believer’s Conflict

In Romans 7 Paul describes the terrible conflict within the believer who desires to live righteously.

Note below that the believer delights “the law in his inward man (soul)”(v22), but the Sin “in his members,” which we have seen is activated by the law, overpowers the man’s good intentions (v20). Man’s intentions and will power are not adequate to overcome the power of the Sin nature. Only Christ’s Spirit in the believer’s spirit trumps Sin in the flesh of man. The soul is not reliable to overcome the flesh.

Romans 7:17-23 (AMP) However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the Sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] 19 For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the Sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul]. 21 So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. 22 For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inward man (his soul). 23 But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of Sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].

We see here that by self-effort to try and keep "the Law," the fallen nature of Sin in man's flesh becomes so exceedingly and powerfully Sinful; it then become so obvious to us. It is God’s law that showed Sin for what it really was, and presented us with the certainty that we could never in ourselves live up to its perfect standard. Paul tells us that, apart from the law, he would not have known what Sin was. This dilemma cries out for an answer; the only answer for the believer who desires to live righteously is to realize that we are not under "the Law" (Rom 6:14), and then live by trusting “the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” within the believer’s spirit.

To the Galatians, Paul wasn’t pulling any punches. He said told as it was, calling them what they were: Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

Once we see Christ is alive within us and that He is the overcoming Christian within every believer, we will thank God for His gracious provision!

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the Sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of Sinful man to be a Sin offering. And so he condemned Sin in Sinful man in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who do not live according to the Sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

8Those controlled by the Sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the Sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body (of Sin) is dead (figuratively) because of Sin, yet your spirit is alive because of (Christ’s) righteousness. (Romans 8:8-10)

Thus, we have addressed the matter of foolishly trying to overcome Sin by trying to keep the law by self-effort; we have seen the utter hopelessness of it. We have also seen that dependence upon“the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” within the believer is the only way for a Christian to live righteously.

Having seen the problem of Sin, and with that God’s adequate provision in Christ’s cross, we can agree with Paul. Receiving God’s divine favor and spiritual blessing dispensed by grace, spontaneously brings us to thank and glorify God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 (AMP) For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.