Do Believers Have to Struggle with Sin?
by Impact Church
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2
In the 2,000-year history of the Church, nothing has divided the Body of Christ more than her views of sin. Whether defined as “an act of disobedience to divine law,” “missing the mark” or simple “lawlessness,” that little three-letter word has spawned a deluge of denominational distinctions and has created chaos and confusion for centuries.
Even today, nearly two millennia after Christ’s death and resurrection atoned for our sinful nature inherited when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, the Church at large continues to give emphasis and breathe life into a defeated foe. That’s right,…sin has no power or authority in a born-again believer’s life! Consider the Apostle Paul’s question in Romans 6:2… “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Thank God for TableTalk on Wednesday evenings at Impact Church Greensboro! For the last several weeks, we have opened Paul’s life-changing epistle and studied it section-by-section, verse-by-verse, acknowledging that all the world stands guilty before a holy God. Condemned by sin and its ugly nature, that is, UNTIL we accept and identify with the once-for-all sacrificial death of the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, who bore our just punishment on the cross of Calvary!
Once we repent and believe the Gospel, we are supernaturally reborn and the Spirit of Christ indwells us and we walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Go back and read that again, slowly, letting every word sink in. According to Chapter 6, believers are “dead to sin” (v. 2) and “freed from sin” (v. 7); indeed, sin “shall not have dominion over you” (v. 14). This changes everything!
As we have learned on Wednesday evenings, Paul waited till the middle of the sixth chapter to introduce his letter’s first command or imperative. While most religious folks seem to think it should have been “DON’T do this…,” “DON’T go there…,” “DON’T say that…,” “DON’T drink this…,” or “DON’T smoke that…,” Paul urges new believers to “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” That word “reckon” in the Greek is an accounting term that means count on it, add it to the ledger,…or as some folks from a generation ago would say, “put that in your little black book!”
Why do Christians continue to talk about, preach about and give life to something to which we are dead?!? Lest you think Paul is alone in this revolutionary teaching, consider John ‘s epistle when he declared “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not…” (1 John 5:18). Or go back a few verses earlier when he said “For whatever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (5:4).
But it’s impossible to live above sin, right? I mean, we’re only human and not perfect. Ahhh, that’s where Paul really has wisdom to teach us. What man considers impossible is possible with God! At the risk of getting ahead of our TableTalk study, Paul later asserts that we need a paradigm shift in our thinking: “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (12:2).
Think of it this way,… it’s never been about us and our behavior. We weren’t sinners because we sinned. We sinned because we were sinners, born with that ungodly nature because of the first Adam. We certainly cannot claim that it’s our holiness or righteous deeds that now have saved us or keep us saved. Again, it’s all about our birth, not our worth! We are born again by the Spirit of God through faith in the last Adam, Jesus Christ, and our loving Lord no longer “imputes” (same Greek word as “reckons”!) sin to our account! In other words, He no longer keeps a record or ledger to hold against us, so why should we?! When we stumble – and we will – declare the Word of God over your life that you have accepted the righteousness of the spotless Lamb of God. Then repent (literally, change your mind and direction),…remind yourself who and Whose you are,…and move on! AMEN!
In case you’re not convinced that the Church has given the dead topic of sin too much place, here’s one last shocking observation. Some form of the English word “sin” appears in the King James Version a whopping 46 times in the first eight chapters of Romans. But after Paul boldly declares “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus…” and tells us that God the Father has adopted us into His family (8:1, 14-17), there are exactly TWO mentions of the word “sin” during the entire second half of the book! And those verses remind us that “God shall take away their sins” (repentant Israel, 11:27) and that “whatever is not of faith is sin” (14:23). HALLELUJAH!!!
Is sin dead? No, unfortunately, it’s still alive and well in this fallen world. But are we dead to sin? Yes! How do we know? Because God’s Word says so! May we constantly renew our minds with the truth! Let God be true, and every man a liar!
Why not join us at 6:30 pm this Wednesday for a mind-blowing study of Romans 7 as we transform our thinking and learn how to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh! Hope to see you there for fresh food, friendly fellowship and the incredible truth of God’s Word!