Sin often comes on strong, and we feel like we have to give in to it.
That temptation to lust is just too strong. We just can’t stop worrying. If we don’t give vent to our anger we feel we’ll explode. We’re born slaves of sin and do its bidding all our lives – UNTIL Jesus saves us. And he saves us not only from the GUILT of sin, but from the ENSLAVING POWER of sin. We can conquer sin. We can put it to death. I’m NOT saying it is easy, or that we don’t have to fight, that we won’t fail and struggle at times, but I believe the Bible says we CAN overcome it and make progress in becoming more like Christ. We are not hopeless, powerless slaves any more.
In Romans 6, Paul tells us:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (1-2)
We must stop sinning because we’ve died to it. A dead person doesn’t get angry or covet or lust. He’s dead to those things. We’re spiritually dead to those things. Done with them, even if we FEEL like we have to give in to them. We died to sin when we were joined to Jesus:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (3)
When we believe in Jesus God baptizes us into Christ. Plunges us into him, makes us one with him. One with his death and burial. We’re dead and buried to our old life of sin. And…
WE HAVE NEW LIFE
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (4-5)
One with Jesus’ resurrection, we can now walk in newness of life. We have a new power to conquer sin. The old life is gone. As a result,
WE’RE NO LONGER SLAVES
We 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. (6)
Imagine a slave in the days of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. As he leaves his old life walking away from the plantation where he was a slave his master sees him and yells, “Get back here!” At first the former slave feels all the old fears come rushing in. His first instinct is “I have to do what he says.” Then he remembers, “Wait a minute! I’m no longer a slave! I don’t have to do what you say.”
For one who has died has been set free from sin. (7)
This is the truth whether we feel like it or not. We’ve died. We don’t have to sin. We have been set free from its enslaving power. But when we’re tempted we still FEEL like we have to sin. What do we do?
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (8-11)
In his earthly life, Jesus was subject to temptation. But when he died he died to sin. He was finished with all temptation. So, since we are one with him, we are to CONSIDER ourselves dead to sin. No matter how strong the urge, we can say, “I’m dead to that.”
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (12)
Don’t let sin rule you. Dethrone it. Don’t obey those passions and feelings. You don’t have to. And especially…
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness…. (13)
Flee temptation. Don’t drink if you’re tempted to get drunk. Put the computer where everyone can see the screen if you’re tempted to impurity. Here’s the principle: Stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as you can. Don’t offer your eyes, ears, hands or any part of your body to sin.
…but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (13)
Present yourself to God in prayer. Use your body for righteousness. Use your hands to serve someone. Use your tongue to encourage someone.
SIN DOESN’T HAVE TO DOMINATE US
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (14)
You’re in a new place – under grace – not under the dominion of sin. Grace will transform you.
Remember, you don’t HAVE to sin. You died to it and rose to a new life in Jesus. It’s a fight. You will fail at times. When you do, simply confess your sins to Jesus our advocate in heaven and he will forgive and cleanse you. But no matter how many times you fail don’t forget the reality of your new life in Christ. Sin will have no dominion over you!