Be Free From Sin

Be Free from Sin

“For he who has died is freed from sin”  Romans 6:7

Most people only accept something as true if they understand it completely and there are no outstanding questions pertaining to it.  As Christians, there are many things that we don’t totally understand but we must accept as true.  We have to come to grips with this approach to our understanding of life. There are many shows on TV and movies about detectives solving crimes.  They examine the facts and pursue leads.  They continue to expose more information and as soon as something makes sense and they answer all the unknowns, they then accept it as being true.  There are many other shows with scientists or doctors that take this same approach.  As Christians though, our approach must be different. Truth for the Christian is based on a revelation, not on our complete understanding of the facts surrounding the truths.  This can be difficult for us, just like it is difficult for some children to listen to their parents who have a deeper knowledge of some circumstances and establish rules that the children can’t fully understand. Our heavenly Father has revealed things to us in His word that we can’t fully understand, but we must accept as truth.  Logically, this makes perfect sense that some things that God has revealed cannot be fully understood by us.  We must remember that our knowledge is limited, but God’s is not.  In fact, we don’t even know how much we don’t know.  Our knowledge may be the equivalent to a single drop of water, compared to God’s knowledge equal to all the water in the oceans.  We are also limited to this physical world, but God is not.  We have very little understanding of the Spiritual world.  Recent discoveries, such as quantum mechanics, or the study of the physics surrounding sub-atomic particles, shows us how much we really don’t know, as one leading scientist once said, “ I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” Some things God doesn’t want us to know or we don’t really need to know, but must trust in God and accept what He had revealed to us.  This is the exercise of our faith. This may be a subtle point, but I think it is very important that we recognize our need to accept truth based on the revelation in scripture, without totally understanding it.  We must allow the truths of God’s word to sink deep into our minds and thinking and become a reality.  The world is saturated in the mindset of proving and understanding the totality of things before accepting them as true.  This mindset can influence what we allow to enter into our subconscious minds so we must fight against it. I am not saying that we should not attempt to more fully understand the truths that are revealed, but we must realize that our increase in understanding comes not from discovering more facts to support the truth or discovering all of the unknowns, but it comes from piecing together multiple revealed truths that support one another.

The Truth of Adam’s Sin and its Impact on Mankind

An important part of the Christian world view, that I don’t fully understand, is the fact that Adam’s sin has been passed to all mankind.  It is not clear to me exactly what happened when Adam sinned.  I know that Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden, and the world was cursed, although we don’t know exactly what the world used to be like in the garden, nor do we know exactly what the curse had done to our current world.  I know that Satan somehow attained more power over our world, but it’s not very clear the extent of that power.  What I would like to look at though, is the truth about sin and its reign upon mankind as a result of Adam’s sin.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…..“ Romans 5:12

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners……”  Romans 5:19

“…that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”  Romans 6:6

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin…..”  Romans 6:17

Reading through Romans, it is very clearly revealed that as a result of Adam’s sin all mankind was impacted; all mankind has been enslaved to sin.  Like I said, I don’t understand it completely, but it is true. It is interesting that we normally think of sin as a verb, or as an action that people do, but here in Romans 6 and 7, it is presented as a noun, as a thing or an entity. For example in chapter 7, it refers to sin as something that “dwells within us”.  It could be that there is some part of our human nature, passed on by heredity from Adam, that causes us to sin.   This would support the statement in Ephesians 2:3 “..and were by nature the children of wrath.”  I don’t completely buy this concept of a “sin nature” that is purely a biological part of us.  I think there would be more spoken about it in the epistles if it were the case. After reading, meditating, and studying this portion in Romans many times (I encourage you to read through Romans yourself), this is my take on this.  I think that Paul is referring to a condition that we have been placed in as Adam’s offspring that entraps us.  I think that the condition is the result of us being born into this world system.  It’s a result of us being in this physical world, in our flesh, facing death, with no hope outside of this life, focused on the physical things of this life and this world, focused on our own satisfaction and pleasure, and being encouraged to pursue success and fulfillment in our lives with the physical resources surrounding us.  Being in this situation makes us “carnal” by nature.  We are ensnared by this system and the result is an inability to do what we may even know in our mind is right according to our Creator.  By being born into this condition and being strongly influenced by our surroundings, we are powerless to resist following after our physically based desires that lead us into sin, or disobedience to God’s regulations. Being in this condition, when we are presented with the knowledge of God’s regulations the situation becomes worse.  The regulations expose the disobedience that we may not have been unaware of, and attempting to change while still being carnally minded is impossible.  This results in guilt that pushes us farther from God. Paul explains it like this:

“For I know that in me (that is , in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  I find then a law (principle), that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  But I see another law (principle) in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law (principle) of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  Romans 7:18-24

The use of the word law could be confusing in these verses.  I think the term “law of God” clearly means the law of Moses and all the regulations that God had given to His people.  The other use of the word law is better defined as a principle or a repeatable behavior that is present.  Paul explains that we are captive or enslaved to this principle that leads to sin and then death.  He also explains that this principle of sin is in our members.  I believe that it is this “sin”, or rather “principle of sin” that is passed to us from Adam.  If Adam had not sinned, we would not be in this situation, nor would we be faced with these conditions that invoke a behavior that leads to disobedience to God’s laws.

Death is the cure

This understanding then leads us to the next truth that is revealed, that is, that we can be freed from this cycle or pattern of sin and death that entraps and enslaves us by “considering ourselves as dead” to this physical world by dying with Christ.  This death with Christ changes the conditions that have enslaved us.  It changes the underlying conditions that create the captivity to the principle of sin.  In essence, we can die to “sin”.

“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”  Romans 6:2&3

“”Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.” Romans 6: 6&7

It’s this death that truly changes us.  We are transformed from being carnally minded to being spiritually minded.  All of those pre-conditions that have placed us under the slavery of sin can be removed. Our focus can be on heaven rather than this life; we now have a hope of eternal life and have victory over death; our desire is now to please God, rather than pleasing ourselves; we can be in this world but not of this world; we can store up our treasures in heaven and set our affections on those heavenly things. Ironically, this death leads to life, and in fact, you can’t find the new life unless you first die.

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.  For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all; but, the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise you also, reckon (or consider) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amen.

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