By Don Krow
OVERCOMING THE POWER OF SIN
In this booklet, I will deal with the problem of sin and the effects it has upon the human body. Not only does sin affect the body, but it affects the soul. I want to teach you how to defeat sin in your life. A lot of Christian theology states that we have to resist sin, so consequently, we spend our lifetime trying to resist it. Some people think that they have to overcome sin, so they spend all of their life trying to overcome it. The more they try to overcome, the more defeated they are in their Christian life. They don't know what is wrong. They think that they should be able to overcome, but the Word of God never teaches that it is our responsibility to overcome sin. What the word of God does tell us in the sixth chapter of Romans, is that it is not our responsibility to overcome sin, or even resist sin, but we must be freed from sin. The Word of God teaches us that through an identification with Christ, in His death, His burial, and His resurrection, we are joined together in union with Him. We have been freed and released from sin. All of our trying and struggling will never free us from sin. Freedom from sin is an accomplished work. It is something that is already done, and is a gift to us. Victory is not something that you struggle and strive to obtain. Victory is a gift from God through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
The problem that most Christians have in living the Christian life, is their approach. It has been totally opposite to what the Word of God teaches. The mentality of the church today, is to look at the commandments of God as something they must accomplish or do. They believe that the more they do these things, the stronger they will become. They call this "Christian maturity" or growing in Christ, but actually it is just a concept in the back of their minds that is destroying them as Christians. This is because the concept of getting stronger and stronger, being able to handle things and overcome sin, has put a trust and reliance in themselves. This destruction happens subtlety.
When I first came into Christ, I knew that I needed Jesus 100%. I didn't know the Word, or anything about the Lord, I just knew that Jesus was everything I needed. Now that I have grown in the Lord, read the Bible two or three times, and have daily devotions and prayer, I have come to a place where I should be able to overcome sin. This is the misconception that many Christians fall under and what leads them to their devastation trying to live the Christian life.
Someone may be a Christian for ten years and suddenly, something happens that propels him to seek counseling. He may pour out his heart and say, "I have been a Christian for ten years, and I just can't believe what I did!" What he is really saying is that he thought he was beyond that. He thought he had grown, that he had strength and maturity. As a result, when his will power came up against the power of sin, the power of sin defeated him. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul tells us in the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. He says, "I know what God demands. I know the good that I want to do, but I end up doing the very thing that I hate. The will is with me, but the power to perform that, I don't know" (Rom. 7:15-18). He says that he knows what God demands: that the law is holy and perfect and just and righteous, and a good thing, but he ends up failing every time he wants to do good. He realizes that evil is present within him. The will to do good is within him, but he doesn't know how to release it. Eventually, he comes to a place of utter wretchedness. Most Christians are still living in the seventh chapter of Romans. They struggle trying to conquer the power of sin. Sin is not just a matter of doing something right or wrong. If you believe that, you will never understand the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapter of Romans. In these three chapters, Paul is not talking about sinful acts. He is not talking about doing right or doing wrong. He is talking about "sin" in the singular-sin not "sins." Sins are acts that spring from sin. So, what is sin? Most Christians don't realize what sin is, and don't understand the battle they are having with what the Word of God calls sin.
THE EFFECTS OF SIN
Before I explain exactly what sin is, I am going to talk about the effects sin has had upon the human race. I believe that you will identify with this, because sin also affects the life of a believer, even a Christian. I will also explain how to tap into a brand new source and power to overcome this principle that the Word of God calls sin. If you read through the seventh chapter of Romans, you will see that even though it says the old man is crucified, a person still can struggle with sin, by the power of his will. Many Christians try to live their life by the power of their will (Rom. 7:18).
As we look at the effects of sin, we will take a trichotomous viewpoint. Some people are dichotomous, which means they are a two-part being. They believe they have a body and a soul but not a spirit. They have an inward man and an outward man - a two-part being. I don't believe that we are a dichotomy; I believe that we are a trichotomy because the Word of God tells us in I Thessalonians 5:23, that we are spirit, soul, and body. I don't think that you can combine the Greek words for spirit and soul and make them the same thing. I think that God meant exactly what He said when He said that man consists of a spirit, a soul and a body. Theologically, the soul refers to the mind, will, emotions and affections.
Sometimes in the Word of God, the word soul or spirit is used by itself and refers to the entire person. For instance, in 1 Peter 3:20, it says that eight souls were saved by water. This doesn't mean that eight minds, wills, and emotions were saved. It means eight people were saved. Soul-winning is winning the whole person to Christ, not just their mind, will, and emotions. Sometimes in the Word of God, the word soul or spirit is used alone, and refers to the entire person. But most of the time when the Word talks about the soul, it refers to the mind, will and emotions. It is difficult to separate the different parts of man because we are a total entity-spirit, soul, and body (Heb. 4:12). It will help us understand how to live the Christian life if we understand the terms in the Bible such as sin, the flesh, the soul, and the spirit. Furthermore, understanding these terms will enable us to walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). (I will define the flesh on subsequent pages.)
HOW SIN AFFECTS OUR MIND
Now let's discuss the effect sin has on the mind. Ephesians 4:18 says, "Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart." So the first effect that sin has on our mind is that it darkens it. This is to say that we really don't know truth like we should. As much as we want to know the truth, as much as we want to know and have understanding, we really don't perceive as we ought to perceive. Our understanding has been darkened through Adam with the fall of man. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, the apostle Paul goes on to say that we look through a glass darkly, but then face to face. In other words he is saying that we perceive things through a dim light. We are not seeing and perceiving truth the way we should see, the way that we should perceive truth. Now if you don't think that is true, just look at all the Christians around you, and listen to the different opinions they have on many issues. It is quite obvious that they do not know and understand truth as they ought to know. This is how sin affects the mind. Ephesians 4:18 says, "Having the understanding darkened."
HOW SIN AFFECTS OUR WILL
We also have a will. How does sin affect our will? Sin has actually enslaved the will. Romans 6:6 says, "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." What Romans 6 says is that a person's will is really enslaved. Paul is talking about sin and says, "That henceforth we should not serve sin." This refers to sin in the life of an unbeliever. The reason why an unbeliever can never be free from sin is because he is enslaved to sin. In Romans 6, Paul uses an allegory (or a picture) of a master-slave relationship. What Paul is trying to tell us, is that through Christ we have been freed. He also brings out the point that before we came to Christ and were identified with Him in his death, burial and resurrection, we were enslaved to sin. Sin enslaves the will. For instance, if I was a prisoner of war, and was in Vietnam, and said, "I have a free will, and I choose to return to the United States of America tomorrow." It wouldn't matter if I chose to be in the United States, the truth is that I would still be in Vietnam and am enslaved. I am a captive to the enemy. Paul is telling us that we are a captive to the enemy, and that enemy is called "sin." In the sixth chapter of Romans, sin is personified. What does personified mean? In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified. "Wisdom" crieth from the streets (Prov. 1:20). Solomon is talking about wisdom as if it were a person. It is given an identity. In the same way, Paul talks about sin as if it were a person. He says there is a master-slave relationship. Sin is the master and mankind is the slave. Sin is personified as a master over mankind. In verse 12, it says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the lust thereof." Sin refers to something that is personified, something that reigns like a king reigns. A king has dominion. He has authority. He exercises that authority and says, "Don't let sin reign." Until a person comes into Christ, sin reigns in his life, sin is in authority. Sin is personified. It is like a person who exercises dominion and authority over you. In Romans 6:14 it says, "Sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace." Paul is talking about sin in a person's life who is still under law; before he comes into the grace of God. Sin exercises its authority and jurisdiction over people's lives. Therefore, we have it all backwards. Our thinking is wrong. For example, we may discuss whether a homosexual should be ordained into the ministry, and thus create controversy. It is not a matter of whether a homosexual should be ordained, but whether we will tell him how to be freed from homosexuality. That is the real question. If a person is really enslaved to an enemy, like the example of the prisoner in Vietnam, can he really be free if he wants to be free? Even if he says with his will, "I am going to be in American tomorrow." Can he really be free? No, he can't. This is the way people in the world, who are outside of Christ think. A person may say, "I am going to quit drinking. I am going to quit committing adultery. I am going to change my life. I am going to start doing right. I will go to church." But can he really do those things? A person doesn't know how evil he is until he tries to be good (Rom. 7:21). This is the principle of the law. As soon as God put up his standard which is the law, then we saw what He really demanded (Rom. 7:12). So then we try to fulfill the standard of the law. We say, "Okay, I can do that." This is the person living Romans 7. The will is with the person, but before long, he finds out that he doesn't have the ability to carry out the things he tries to do. Why? Because he is enslaved to sin. Therefore, even though a person desires with his will to do what is right, his will is enslaved outside the will of Christ.
HOW SIN AFFECTS OUR EMOTIONS
I believe that our emotions are the greatest problem that hinders us from living the Christian life. The problem is, that Christians are trying to live their life guided by their emotions. They live by how they feel. Common expressions are, "Oh, I felt the Spirit tonight." Or, "I never felt the Spirit." But the Word of God never appeals to our emotions or to the way we feel. This is because sin has affected our emotions. We can't trust our emotions. Sometimes our emotions will line up with the Word of God, but sometimes our emotions won't. For instance, if I tell my wife how beautiful she looks in a certain dress, that it makes her look dynamite, what happens to her emotions? They go up and up and up. Then, if I tell her that it is too bad that the dress doesn't fit her, what happens to her emotions? They go down, down, and down. This is what sin does to our emotions. We can't always trust them. Emotions are affected by the circumstances in our life.
We can get pumped up in our emotions and get high, but just as quickly our emotions can go down, and we get low. That is the problem many people have living the Christian life. They are living the Christian life based on how they feel-on their emotions which go up and down. God doesn't ask us to live the Christian life based on our emotions. He asks us to live the Christian life based upon the truth and upon faith in the truth. Truth doesn't change. Our emotions do change. An example of this is an experience my friend Phil had. He was sick and went to church. After the service some people prayed for him. He said that suddenly, he felt much better. He declared, "I am really healed. I feel healed." Then the Lord quickened him with the revelation that he was not healed because he felt healed, but that he was healed because the Word of God says he is healed. Immediately, Phil caught the error of basing things on his emotions and he went to a higher source which is truth and it was the truth that set him free. Romans 1:17 says, "The just shall live by faith." But how? God tells us to live by the truth. He tells us to live by faith, not by our emotions.
HOW SIN AFFECTS OUR BODY
Romans 8:10 says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness." I believe the effect sin has on the physical body is the process of dying. The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit man is now alive and is righteous in the spirit realm. Romans 8:22 says, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth until now, and not only that, but ourselves also, which hath the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption to wit, the redemption of our bodies." Therefore, the effect sin has upon the body is death-the body dies. I believe that if the people who have already died could speak to us, they would agree with me, because when Adam transgressed there was a law that came into motion. It is described in Romans 8:2. It says, "For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." The law of sin and death came into effect quickly. In Romans 7:23, it says, "But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." This is the first time we see the apostle Paul describe sin as being a law. "It is the law of sin that is in my members." Do you know what a law is? A law is something that is consistent. It works the same way all the time. When the apostle Paul tried to do good, he ended up doing evil; and when he tried to do good again he ended up doing what he hated. He tried further to do good and ended up doing the very thing that he did not want to do. He discovered that sin was more than just an act, more than just an accident. It was a law. There was a law of sin in his members. That is the reason Paul could not defeat it. Verse 15 says, "For that which I do I allow not, and what I would that do I not, but what I hate that do I. If then I do that which I would not I consent to the law that the law is good. Now then it is no more I that do it but sin that dwelleth in me for I know that in me, that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for the will is (notice his will power) present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not but the evil which I would not that I do." Paul discovered that sin was not an accident. It was more than just struggling against sin and saying, "I will overcome sin if I try real hard." Paul discovered that sin was much more than that. Sin was a law that worked against him.
FIGHTING THE LAW OF SIN
A law has a natural power, it has a natural force. There is a law of gravity which is a natural force. If you drop a pen it naturally falls down to the floor. I don't have to take it and push it down to the floor. Without any effort on the pen's part, a natural force pulls it to the earth because of the law of gravity. A natural law is working against the pen. Now Paul says that the way he first dealt with sin was with his own resources, his own power, and his own will. He said, "I am not going to do this anymore." Will that work against sin? Have you ever made a resolution and said, " I am not going to do this anymore?" Then within ten minutes that thing defeats you again. Romans 7:21 says, "I find then a law that when I would do good evil is present with me." Evil was present with Paul. When is evil present with you? It is when you want to do good. Paul continues, "The first time I wanted to do good and I found out that evil is present with me, and the third time and the hundredth time and the thousandth time and the millionth time that I wanted to do good I discovered there was a law." Evil was on Paul's tail trying to defeat and beat him. Paul said that with his will he was not going to do the thing he didn't want to do, that he was going to conquer it. He was exercising willpower. Can willpower overcome sin? Can the will overcome the law? Only on a temporary basis. For example, I can lift 50 pounds, but I am going to try and overcome the law of gravity by only lifting seven ounces. I will lift a Bible in the air and hold it up, thus defying the law of gravity. However, the law of gravity is still pushing down on my arm and hand, but I am defying it. This is what Paul calls willpower. Willpower defies the power of sin. You may say that you are not going to do a certain thing, you may grit your teeth and try to defy the law of sin just like I tried to defy the law of gravity. But if I try and hold the Bible in the air for several hours or until tomorrow morning, by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, not only will I drop this book that only weighs seven ounces, but I will probably end up in the hospital to get my arm wrapped. Why? Because willpower exerts a natural force, a natural power. I don't have to push the Bible to the floor and hold it down there. It falls naturally. Gravity says, "Just hold it out there until morning and I will keep working on you. You may be able to lift 50 pounds but just wait, this little seven ounce book is going to defeat you." This is true because it is a law. Paul says, "I tried to live the Christian life with my will." Romans 7:18 says, "For I know that in me dwelleth no good thing, for the will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not." He is saying that he has the will, but not the ability. He has the desire but he can't produce the goods. It is the same with us. Every time we want to do good and try to do good, we might temporarily do good, and temporarily defeat the habit, but within a matter of time sin will defeat us because it is a law. It never quits exerting its authority and its power upon us. So what should we do?
This is the question that hinders people from living the Christian life. They try to live the Christian life by overcoming sin, resisting sin, and trying to defeat sin. That is the way they try to live their life. But they haven't discovered what Paul discovered-that sin is a law. It works in our members. It exercises authority and power against us. It exerts itself upon us. The only way to defeat a law (the law of sin) is to put another law into operation that is greater than the former law. Let's use gravity for an example. There is a greater law than gravity, that is the law of thrust. When jet engines are put on airplanes, they will defy gravity. The law of gravity still is in effect. It is pushing on the plane, but there is a greater law (thrust) in effect that pushes on the plane in the opposite direction and defies gravity. Gravity is still pulling on it, but a greater law is in operation. This is also true with the law of density. If I fill a balloon with helium, the law of density comes into effect. Gravity only works under certain conditions. The helium gas is lighter than the force of gravity and the balloon lifts off the ground and it floats up into the air. A law that is higher than gravity is put into operation to defeat gravity. This is the only way to defeat a law. The Word of God says that the only way we can live a consistent Christian life, not based upon our emotions, mind, will or body, is to put a higher law into operation. One that has more power, more strength, and more ability than the law of sin. What held mankind (outside of Christ) in slavery to Satan is inside the spirit man. When a man is without Christ, he is spiritually dead. His spirit is dead in trespasses and sins as described in Ephesians 2. The spirit is dead towards God and it is alive towards Satan. Man's spirit is the part that is in fellowship and communion with God. When man sinned, Satan usurped authority and took over and occupied the spirit area of man. According to Ephesians 2:2, "It is the Spirit that now works in the children of disobedience." It goes on to say, "You were by nature the child of wrath. The spirit that now works in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2-3). The reason we can't quit sinning is because sin started from within and went without, because that is our nature. The believer has one nature and the non-believer has one nature. I don't mean a old nature and a new nature, not a white dog and a black dog inside of us. The believer has one nature and that is the nature of God, the nature of Christ. The unbeliever has one nature and that is the nature of the enemy or Satan. Romans 6:6 says, "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." I believe that God dealt Satan a deadly blow, because not only did Jesus Christ die for our sins so that we can be forgiven, but He took our sinful nature upon himself and crucified it and buried it. When He came out of the grave, we came out with Him. We are in union with Him and are a brand new creation. The old self is crucified. We are not the same as we were before we came to Christ. We have a new nature.
OUR OLD NATURE IS DEAD - WE ARE A NEW CREATION
Look at your hands. Are there nail prints on your hands? No, it was not your body that was crucified, therefore it was not your soul that was crucified because God uses your personality, your mind, will and emotions to express the life of Jesus. He did not leave you without any personality, without any mind or without any emotions. Obviously they were not crucified and put to death. Therefore, according to the Word of God, the only part of us that was literally crucified with Christ is our nature, or our old spirit which is dead in trespasses and sins. I believe that Romans 6 says that the old man was crucified with Christ. What happened when the old man was crucified with Christ? The old spirit, the old man, was crucified so that the body of sin would be destroyed. The root and power of sin was destroyed. Some theologians use the word body or soma in Greek, to correspond to the physical body. The physical body is now inactive, inoperative and not under the dominion and authority of Satan. Christ broke the power of sin through His resurrection. Now that we are made one with Him we are free from sin. God replaced the old man with Christ. Our new man is created in righteousness and true holiness. This is the mystery that has been hidden for generations, but is now manifest to us the saints, which is Christ in us the hope of glory. Christ crucified the old man so that the power of sin would be destroyed and we would not have to serve sin.
However, our mind did not change. Our emotions are still affected by sin to some degree. Our will has been loosed and freed, but we must make a choice. Romans 8:10 says that the body is dead or in the process of dying. But the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Our true nature as a believer is the nature of Christ. Although, there is still something operating that the Bible calls the flesh.
The flesh is the combination of the unrenewed mind, the emotions and the physical body. Galatians 5:16 says, "Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." In verse 17, it says, "The flesh lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these are contrary one to another so that you cannot do the things that you would." There is a war going on between the flesh and the spirit. Walking in the flesh is when we choose to operate and move in a direction independent of Christ. If we are not operating in faith, we will fulfill the lust of the flesh. The lust of the flesh is everything that was programmed into us by the "old man." The effects of the old man, or our old nature, can be seen in our flesh and in our unrenewed mind.
I was told that I was ugly all my life. I believe I am ugly because I was told so. People said that I would never amount to anything, that I was no good. They said I would never make it, that I was dumb, stupid. This was programmed into my flesh. The only way to overcome this kind of inferiority complex, heal emotions that are damaged, and take away the hurt, is to live our new life and utilize our new power source, which is Christ. My mind might tell me that I am stupid, but what does God say? God says that I have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is where Christ is. This does not mean that we have a new brain, it means that we have a new source of wisdom that is beyond anything we could ever learn in school. It is in us now because Jesus lives in us.
Take a moment right now, and by faith look at Jesus. He will show you who you are and what He thinks of you. He will also show you how to heal your emotional wounds. Today, people are really into inner healing. I believe in inner healing, but receive it differently than most people. The way I learned was to look at myself, be introspective and find out where the damaged emotion came from. When I look at it, I realize it came in my childhood. This is a common approach that many counselors advocate, but all it does is show us the problem. We constantly look at the problem, and all that does is stir up our emotions. Our emotions say, "I feel rejected. I am hurt. I am devastated by rejection." When something happens that reminds us of the rejection, the pain starts to surface. But now when this happens, I immediately turn to Christ, who is my new life and I say, "But the Word says, Christ says, God says, that I am not accepted according to my performance which is the world's way. The world's system says that if I perform well, then I will have friends; if I am a good mate, then I will be loved. If not, my wife will divorce me. However, I no longer operate in that realm. In my spirit man I am accepted in the beloved (Jesus). I am not accepted based on my performance. Many Christians get this confused. They think then that God doesn't care what they do. He approves and disapproves of things that we do. But our acceptance is not based on what we do or don't do. Our acceptance is based only on Jesus and what He has done for us. Often, when people accept Christ they spend the rest of their lives trying to do things so God will accept them. But God says He has already accepted us perfectly and completely in Christ. We are as righteous today just as Jesus Christ is righteous. But often, people don't believe this because they focus on what they are doing or not doing, that is contrary to this statement. We are just as righteous as Jesus Christ.
You may be thinking, that sounds good, but I know where I have failed and where I have fallen short. 1 Corinthians 1:26 says, "For you see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, the base things of the world and the things which are despised hath God chosen, yes the things that are not, to bring to naught the things that are. That no flesh (no person) should ever glory in his presence. But of him are you in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory only in the Lord." Therefore, I can say that you are just as righteous, just as accepted, just as loved as Jesus Christ himself. Why can I say that? Because 1 Corinthians 1:30 goes on to say, "We have been made of him but of him are you in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto wisdom righteousness, sanctification, redemption." The reason we can say that we are as righteousness as Jesus Christ, is because Jesus Christ is our righteousness. He is our redemption. He is our salvation. He doesn't give us salvation, He is our salvation. He doesn't give us righteousness, he is our righteousness. No flesh, or person can ever glory in His presence; he that glories will only glory in the Lord. God has designed salvation from the beginning to the end to be nothing less than Christ.
WE MUST LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BY FAITH
If you struggle trying to live the Christian life, it may be because you thought that the Christian life was something that you were supposed to do and you didn't see that it is Christ from beginning to end. The way you live it is by faith. How did you receive Christ? By faith. How do you walk in Him? By faith. How do you overcome temptation? By faith in Him and His ability to overcome it. How do you live holy? By His ability to live holy in you. How do you produce love and joy and peace and long-suffering? Not by might, saying, "I am going to try real hard to love that guy. I am going to try real hard to work up joy. I am going to try real hard to be peaceful." No. It is a manifestation of Jesus' life. We have tried to imitate Him and produce His life. It is like a monkey trying to be a human being - he tries real hard. For us to try and be like Jesus is like a monkey trying to be like a human being. We can try real hard and may be funny; God may look at us and think that we are humorous, but then God says, "Why not let the only one who is life be your life?" Why don't you let Him be your righteousness? Why don't you let Him defeat sin? Why don't you let Him be your victory?" You see, victory is not something that you try for and struggle for-it is a gift. Victory is Christ. I Corinthians 15:57 says, "Thanks be to God that giveth us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ." He is our victory. So when sin comes and the law comes to try and defeat you, what do you do? Do you say, "No, I am not going to do this?" You should say, "There is law of the spirit that brings life to me. This law set me free from the law of sin." So now, when the law of sin comes against me, I say, "Jesus, you answer the door." When temptation comes, immediately turn your attention to Jesus. You don't have the power to overcome this sin or conquer this temptation, but Jesus does. When you turn your attention immediately to Him, He is your victory. Jesus helps us overcome and conquer temptations, circumstances, high imaginations and anything else. We live His life by faith. He is our power source. The old man has been crucified. We are a brand new creation. We now have Christ, so henceforth we will never again serve sin. Sin dwells in the physical realm. Sin used to be our master. It used to usurp authority over us, but we have a new master now. We can turn to our new master. We are discharged from living in the military on earth. When sin gives us an order, we don't have to follow the order. We have a new master which is the strength and power of our life, He is our life. Romans 5:10 says, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. (Reconciliation means to be brought into a friendly relationship. We have been brought into a friendly relationship) through Jesus' death." "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved." How? By His death and by his resurrection life. The amplified Bible says it like this: "When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more now being reconciled, we shall be saved, that is daily delivered from sin's dominion by his resurrection life." Do you understand what this says? His death paid for our sin. But it is His life within us that is the power to overcome temptation and the power of the devil. It is His life that allows us to conquer the circumstances that come against us. It is His resurrected life that resides within us by faith. He is our power source and through Him we have victory. His death paid the debt for our sin. What is the point of our sins being forgiven if we live this life defeated? We must also defeat sin daily, as it says in the amplified Bible, "Daily delivered from sin's dominion by his resurrection life."
LIVING THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE
The Christian life is not only hard to live, it is impossible to live. We can't live it on our own power. But there is one within us that can live it when we make Him our power source by faith, in every circumstance we may face in our life. In Him, is the ability to overcome sin's dominion daily. His resurrection life resides in us. We do this by faith. First we must surrender to Him. Christ can't live His life through us if we don't give Him our life. If you hold back, you'll never be victorious. It is only by total surrender that we obtain victory. He can't live through us if we won't give Him the reigns. It has to be absolute surrender. Once we surrender, we just simply take His resurrected life that is within us and use His power to defeat the enemy. 1 John 3:9 says, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifest that he might destroy the works of the devil." Who is going to destroy it? Only Christ has the power to destroy the works of the devil. He resides within us. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. We never have to be defeated again. If you are defeated, it is because you have chosen to be defeated. If you sin, it is because you failed to look to Christ as your power source to defeat sin. The Bible doesn't teach sinless perfection, but it does teach that you have the power through Christ to actually defeat and conquer sin. It is not you doing it, it is Christ in you that defeats sin. We fail when we do not take the time to focus on Christ as our life. But first we must reach the point of total weakness before Christ can be our total strength. God's grace is sufficient for you, His strength is made perfect in your weakness. "Therefore, I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." It says the same thing in Romans 7, "Oh wretched man that I am. I have come to the end of myself. Who shall deliver me?" (Rom. 7:24). Thank God it has been done through Christ (Rom. 7:25). You see, Christ can't be your strength until you come to absolute weakness. Until you admit that you can't do it on your own-you can't conquer sin, or defeat the power of the enemy, and say, "All right God, I am going to put my faith in Christ to be my total strength." Only then will He be your strength and power. We don't have the ability to live the Christian life, it is our response to His ability that lets us live in victory. God did not come to help us live the Christian life, to strengthen our flesh. He came to get us out of the way so Christ could live through us and give us the victory. This is so no flesh can ever glory in His presence. No person will ever glory. It is Jesus who died for our sins. It is Him within us that conquered sin. It is Him from beginning to end. But the devil deceives Christians by saying Jesus did it in the beginning, but now it is our responsibility. We've got to go do this thing. That is what is preached to us from the pulpit, "You've got to go do it." When we try and do it ourselves, we end up as defeated Christians moaning and groaning and living by our emotions, living the Christian life up and down. The people most in need of counseling are the Christians. They are worse off than the world. It is because they try to live victoriously by their own effort. God will let you live by your effort until you hit a brick wall. He will let you get to the end of yourself and then, when you have gone to the end of yourself and say, "Oh wretched man that I am," that is, I am so miserable. I have no ability. I know what God wants, but I can1t do it." Then God rejoices! It is then that Christ can be your total resource. I am not talking about avoiding spiritual burnout, trying to patch someone up, so his flesh can go a little longer. No, I am saying, "Burnout buddy, burnout!" Until you get there, Christ can't be your life. Live the Christian life through a new power and resource, which is Christ. Live it by faith. As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, by faith. He is a Savior that delivers us from the power of sin. This is revealed in Romans 8:2, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death. The spirit that brings Jesus' life to me hath set me free. Hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It doesn't work just sometimes, or once in a while, it says He hath done it. He is everything. We are complete in Him. The living Bible says, "When you have Jesus you have everything that you need. He is everything. We are complete in Him. He is the completion. Now we just need to renew our mind with what He says in His Word He is. He is our life."
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
This does not mean changing our flesh, it means walking in the spirit and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh man. Renewing our mind to the truth of who Christ is, is a process. By faith we exchange our flesh life, (the effect that sin has had upon our personality) for His life. We do this by faith. It is not a one-time experience. It is not an emotional experience; however, it can be. It's not like the baptism of the spirit and you are instantly changed. It is a learning process to exchange Jesus' life for your life, on a moment by moment, hour by hour basis. When we fail to do this, our flesh man will take over. But when we look to Jesus to be our life, we exchange our flesh man for His life by faith. Paul says, "In the flesh dwells no good thing." He is not saying that he is an evil person. He is saying that if we take the flesh man; the mind, will, emotions, and body, and separate them from Christ, it will go in a direction that is contrary to God. No good will dwell there. But when we walk in the spirit with dependence on Christ, He will express His life through us. The word faith is another word for trust. We put our faith and dependence on Christ to be our life. He will use our mind, emotions, and body to express His life. Romans 8:10-13 says, "If Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin, the spirit has become alive because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies (Mortal means subject to death. A death doomed body is subject to death-it gets old and wrinkles) by the spirit that dwells in you. Therefore brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh to live after the flesh, for if ye live after the flesh you shall die, but if you through the spirit do mortify (which means put to death) the deeds of the body (or the deeds of the flesh or the deeds that are left from the old man) ye shall live. As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
I believe that this says that the Spirit of God is going to do two things in our life. When we look to Him by faith, He will put to death the deeds of the body. That is, the flesh, the part of us living outside of Christ that wants to go its own way. The Spirit will conquer the power of sin. The Spirit will mortify the deeds of the flesh. It is not our own ability. We must cooperate with Jesus by faith. But He puts to death the deeds of the flesh so that it doesn't express itself. He also will quicken our mortal body, that is, He will make it alive with the life of Jesus Christ. The Spirit does two things: It puts to death the flesh and its deeds that are contrary to God, and it makes us alive to express the very life of Jesus Christ through our mortal bodies. This is what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, "Be not drunk with wine (don't be under the influence of wine) but be filled with the Holy Spirit." (In the Greek it is a continuous tense -be filled and keep on being filled.) When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and keep on being filled, then the life of Jesus Christ floods through us to express His life. We must do this by faith. It is not an emotional experience that will give us goose bumps and suddenly we will say, "I am filled with the Holy Ghost!" It is bringing the life of Christ to our mortal body. That is what the Spirit has done to glorify Jesus.
LET JESUS LIVE THROUGH YOU
An example of this is a tea bag. Imagine a cup of hot water and a tea bag. Set the tea bag up and say, "Water, be like tea." However, the water can't be like tea so you put the tea bag into the water and the strength of the tea goes into the water and then it is tea. But really, the tea is still in the tea bag. It is the same with us. It is the strength of Jesus and His life that goes into us. He is still God and we are still us, but it is His strength and life that comes up through us. Romans 6:16 says, "Whomsoever you yield yourself to his servants you become..." When you tell a lie, you have to tell another lie to cover up the first lie and then you must tell another, to cover up that one. It is a chain reaction. Sin is the same way. We become a slave to sin. But it says if we yield ourselves to righteousness, we become its slave. It is not just taking Christ as our life in one circumstance, it is taking His life moment by moment in every circumstance. When we walk in this, before long it is like a mindset where we learn to let Him be our life and we take His life. All of a sudden we begin to see consistent victory. Usually we don't see it as much as other people around us see it. We start to learn that the just live by faith. Just trust in Him. Look to Him. Turn to Him. It is so simple. It is Jesus.
I struggled for ten to fifteen years trying to find this truth. It was just Jesus. It is that simple. He is the victory. It is Him. You don't work for it, there is no earning it. The more that I see this truth, the more that I distinguish the law mentality which is all through the church. It is saturated through the church and the preaching. If you don't receive this revelation and are not grounded in it, you will fall back into condemnation. But if Christ is living your life, if He is your victory, you won't respond to your emotions. People that are not grounded in the truth will immediately respond to law. Immediately, they will respond to the consciousness of sin. And again it is back to their ability to do this and that, to quit this or not do that. Because they haven't learned yet that there can be something very consistent. It is living a life of faith as a brand new creation. Having a brand new identity, a brand new person, a brand new power source, which is Christ. God says, "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and (soul) peace" (Rom. 8:6). Our emotions can come under the control of the indwelling Christ, but it won't happen if we are carnally minded. We must turn to Christ who indwells in us. Our mind plays a big part in this. When we are rejected, we must say, "No, I am accepted" (Eph. 1:6). When we are condemned, we must say, "I am accepted. I am righteous" (2 Cor. 5:21). When we are offended or persecuted, we can rejoice. Paul says, "I know what it is to be with and I know what it is to be without. I know what it is to abound and I know what it is to be without" (Phil. 4:12). Paul seemed to glory in his infirmities. He is not saying, "Ha ha ha! It was a wonderful experience." But he is saying, "I am so in union with Christ that I am strengthened and infused with power and strength from Christ." It was Christ's strength that brought him through all his tribulations, stonings, and sufferings. It was not because Paul was a strong-willed guy, or that he was just determined to get up and preach in some other city. He says that it was the glory of Christ that strengthened him. It was Christ that was infusing strength into him-keeping him going, pressing towards the mark. We can use that same strength to withstand rejection, persecution, sin, or the circumstances of life, whatever we face. Paul had to allow Christ to dwell in him, or how else could he reveal this mystery to live a victorious life? How could he write the book of Philippians while in jail? "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!" Paul was sitting there in jail. Most of us, if we were walking in the flesh would be moaning and groaning, "Come and get me out of here. I am being treated so bad." But there was not one iota of defeat in Paul. He said, "What has happened to me has happened for the furtherance of the gospel. They chained me to the prison guards in Caesar's place and I witnessed to them and got them saved" (Phil. 4:22). All Paul could see was what Christ was accomplishing in and through him. That is a true revelation of Christ living within us.
Today, make the choice to let Jesus live through you. Let Jesus be your new life. Then, you will live the victorious abundant life that God wants you to live.
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