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Alaska

 

Sin’s Power Broken

By Pastor Dennis Smith

 

We saw in the previous post that the power of our sinful nature is so strong that it is impossible for us to become free from its control by our own efforts.  In Romans chapter seven Paul described the futility of the Christian trying to obey God’s commands that the Holy Spirit has put in his heart to obey.  Many sincere Christians don’t realize this.  So they continually put forth efforts to overcome the sins and temptations in their life asking God to add His power to their efforts.  However, because of their sinful nature’s power these efforts ultimately fail.  As a result they become discouraged, frustrated, bewildered and even question at times if they are really a Christian.

 

Sin’s Power Broken at the Cross

 

There are many aspects to the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  One of the aspects of the gospel is that at the cross the power of the sinful nature was broken for all who accept Christ and believe.  Paul described it this way:

 

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin… Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:6, 11

 

When Jesus died on the cross the power of the sinful nature in every believer’s life was broken.  That is an historical fact.  However, it becomes a reality in the Christian’s life only if he believes it is true.

This means that the unloving you, the unforgiving you, the angry you, the lustful you, the anxious you; the list could go on and on, died at the cross.  That is wonderful news.  It means that you do not have to be controlled by your unloving attitudes, unforgiveness, anger, lustful thoughts and desires, etc.  The power of these sinful desires, attitudes and behaviors is broken.

 

A Wrong Conclusion

 

The problem most Christians encounter when they read these Bible verses is that they conclude they should then be able to obey God with His help.  For example, consider the Christian who has a struggle with anger.  He reasons that if the power of his sinful anger was broken at the cross he can now stop being angry when something happens to cause him to become angry.  He feels great relief and confident that now he will finally have the victory.  Soon something happens to cause him to feel anger.  Perhaps someone cuts him off while driving or someone says something very unkind to him.  Immediately anger arises.  He puts forth efforts to subdue it.  However, he finds that it keeps lingering.  He turns his mind away from the event or words that caused the anger.  He tries to reason with himself about not being angry over the situation.  Sometimes he can move on and the anger leaves, and other times it seems to linger.  When he sees the person who spoke unkind or critical words he still feels anger well up in him.  He doesn’t want these feelings, but seems helpless to get rid of them.  He begins questioning himself about why anger is still arising in his feelings.  He concludes that he must not have asked God or received from God enough of His power to assist him in his efforts to over come the anger.  So he pleads with God to remove the anger, to give him the power needed; to give him the victory.  He re-reads the Bible verses about the death of his sinful nature’s power and such verses as “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.” (Philippians 4:13).  He feels sure now that the next time he will be ready for the temptation and will gain the victory.  However, he continues to experience the same pattern of being overcome by his besetting sins.  More confusion and feelings of defeat set in.  Again he questions his sincerity and has no peace in his walk with the Lord.

It is very true that the power of our sinful nature was broken at the cross.  However, this does not mean that if we now believe this we can then begin obeying God by putting forth efforts to do so.  We might conclude that all we have to do is believe that sin’s power is broken in our life and face the temptations that come our way with that attitude.  However, such faith and knowledge alone will not give us the victory we desire.

The truth that the power of our sinful nature is broken is very important for us to know and believe.  However, remember, we have no ability in and of ourselves to obey God even though the overwhelming influence of our sinful nature was broken at the cross. Simply knowing and believing that truth is not enough.   No, there is only one way we will have the victory we long for.  The victory over temptation and sin will take place in our lives only as we believe the truth of the crucifixion of our sinful nature, and also allow Christ to give us the victory; His victory.  We must understand that we will be victorious over sin and temptation only as we allow Him to live out His life in us.  This is the essential experience discussed in the following posts.

Rocky Mountain High

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