July 6, 2016
Have you ever asked yourself, If we really are new creations and no longer battle with the flesh, then how is it that Believers still sin? Doesn’t this mean we still have a sin nature? Let me ask you this: Did Adam and Eve have a sin nature when they fell? The answer is no. Adam and Eve proved that you do not need a sin nature to sin. After God created Adam, both male and female, He looked out at all He made and said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). If Adam and Eve had possessed a sin nature, God could not have called them “very good.”
Believing a Lie
This proves that all you need to sin is a free will and the capacity to believe a lie. All Believers possess these qualities and that’s why the apostle John taught us not to deceive ourselves about who we were before we were cleansed from sin and who we are after we were cleansed:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. . . . My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous . . . (1 John 1:8–9; 2:1, emphasis added).
John makes it clear that all of us come to Christ as people who “have sin”— that is, who are prone to sin. After all, God only saves sinners. No matter how nice, caring, generous or friendly people are, they are still inherently prone to wrongdoing if they do not know Jesus. Thus, the first way we can deceive ourselves is by saying we have no sin that needs to be forgiven.
But the goal of John’s letter is that we would not sin, which is only possible if the cleansing we receive from Christ removed our old proneness to sin. This is what the new creation experience of baptism did to us. Our old nature drowned, and we came up from the water with a new spirit, a spirit that cries, “Abba, Father!” In the core of our beings, we are now wonderful people who inherently love and long for our heavenly Father, just as Christ does. There is no evil intrinsically present in us. We have heaven’s heart.
In fact, God has done so much to set us up for a holy life that if (not when) we sin, we actually need an advocate to help plead our case. Thus, after we have confessed our sins, the second way we can deceive ourselves is by saying that we know God while continuing to practice sin. And one of the best ways to do this is to embrace the belief that we are still sinners by nature. If we believe we are sinners, we will continue to sin.
No longer sinners
This is why John teaches us to believe that we will not sin as we learn to abide in Christ. He writes, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. . . . No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:6, 9).
Wow! These are strong words. “No one who is born of God practices sin!” These passages really drive home the point I am trying to make: Those of us who know God are not in a war with our flesh. We are no longer sinners. But we do have a devious, evil enemy who is a sinner. He is endlessly accusing the Body of having his own wicked nature. He is trying to get us to believe him, to forget who we really are and to disqualify ourselves from our divine destiny of putting him under our feet.
We can choose to sin
Let me be clear that I am not saying we will never choose to sin or never need to repent once we are born again. As I said, all it takes to sin is a free will and the capacity to believe the lies of the enemy, and believers possess both. We may indeed choose to sin, and consequently need to repent. What I am saying is that we don’t naturally sin because we no longer have a sin nature that is married to the Law. Our old nature has been crucified with Christ, we are new creations married to Christ in the New Covenant.
The normal Christian life is not supposed to be an exhausting wrestling match with a dead man, but is an abundant, joy-filled life with God, salted with an occasional season of strong resistance from our archenemy.
My new Spirit Wars e-course launches on July 12. Register here: https://ecourses.bethel.tv/course/spirit-wars-4/overview
Do you agree? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Topics: All TopicsFreedom