“And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” (1 Corinthians 15:49 NKJV).
There is an innate desire or longing in the heart of everyone for freedom. No one in his right senses enjoys slavery or bondage. You were created by God to dominate and not to be dominated by sin (Gen. 1:28, Psa. 8:3-6).
The Scripture clearly reveals that it is not God’s intention or plan for sin to rule or have dominion over us.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV).
Before Cain killed his brother, Abel, in anger because God had no regard for his offering but for that of his brother, God warned him that “sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Gen. 4:7 NKJV).
Apparently, God wanted Cain to rule over sin. But, sadly he didn’t. He eventually killed his brother and became the first murderer and fugitive in the world.
Similarly, God wants everyone in the world to rule over sin, but sadly only very few people are experiencing and enjoying daily victory over sin.
True and lasting victory over sin starts with you acknowledging or admitting that you can never overcome sin by your natural wisdom or strength. You cannot have victory over sin by merely obeying some laws or rules.
Your own effort, decision, determination, or discipline is not enough to give you a true, total and lasting victory over sin. This is simply because sin has defeated and enslaved you in the womb before you were born into this world.
How did that happen?
By the disobedience of the first man, Adam!
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (NKJV).
Every one of us was born a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). We all were born with a sin nature, thereby making us slaves to sin even before we committed our first act of sin.
It is the sin nature (natural inclination, propensity or tendency to do evil) we inherited through the natural birth that is responsible for all our sinful acts and habits. Therefore, until our sin nature is dealt with by destroying or removing it, it is absolutely useless or profitless struggling to overcome sins.
The individual sins or sinful acts you are struggling to overcome in your life are just the fruits, manifestations, or expressions of the root, the principle, or the power of sin dwelling in you (your sin nature).
If you want to get rid of a tree producing evil fruits, the wise thing to do is to uproot it. Similarly, if you want to overcome sins in your life, the wise thing to do is to uproot or remove the root of sin in your heart that is constantly producing the fruits of sin in your mind, will, emotions and actions.
But, how can a person uproot or remove the root of sin in his heart?
Nobody can do that for himself or by himself!
Collins English Dictionary defines “nature” as “the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or essential character; disposition or temperament; tendencies, desires, or instincts governing behaviour; sort; kind; character; the real appearance of a person or thing.”
In one word, your nature is “you.” Therefore, the only possible way to change your sin nature is for you to die. Unless you die, your sin nature abides in you, bearing increasingly the fruits of sin in your mind, will, emotions and actions (Jer. 13:23).
The only means of deliverance from the slavery of sin is death!
Unless you die you cannot enjoy true and lasting victory over any sin!
Paul reveals this truth in Romans 6:
7 For he who has died is freed from sin. (RSV).
But, how can you die to overcome sin and still continue to live to enjoy and demonstrate your victory over sin?
Through spiritual union with Jesus Christ, who died and resurrected from death!
Through the natural birth you were born into Adam, bearing his image in your spirit, soul and body. The Scripture refers to this image as “the image of a man of dust.”
1 Corinthians 15:
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (NKJV).
Being born into Adam implies being born into spiritual death and slavery to sin. Bearing the image of Adam implies having a depraved, corrupt, sinful and selfish nature – a spiritually dead spirit, a carnal mind, and a vile or lowly body (1 Cor. 15:21-22).
No man born into Adam can ever overcome sin by himself, for he is a slave to sin by birth. Therefore, until you experience the New or Spiritual Birth you remain a slave to sin, and all your efforts to be free will always result in defeat and frustration.
The Scripture queries, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. 13:23 NKJV).
The New Birth is an instantaneous spiritual operation of the Holy Spirit whereby you are plucked out of Adam and planted into Christ and your sin nature is instantly replaced with God’s holy nature.
The New Birth is a spiritual grafting or transplanting from the first man (Adam) into the second Man (the Lord Jesus Christ).
The first man (Adam) was defeated by Sin and Satan, but the second Man (the Lord Jesus Christ) triumphed openly over Sin and Satan (1 Cor. 15:47-49).
The product or result of the New Birth is an entirely New Creation, bearing the image or nature of Christ in his spirit (2 Cor. 5:17).
The Scripture testifies that the born-again believers “have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Col. 3:10 NKJV).
It is only the New Creation in Christ who can experience and enjoy daily victory over sin because his sin nature has been completely destroyed, removed and replaced by a new, divine and holy nature of God.
The New Creation in Christ does not have a mixture of the old and new nature; he has only the nature of God.
The Scripture clearly states this truth in 1 John 3:
9 No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. (RSV).
Beloved, if you have truly believed in, confessed and surrendered to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are now a New Creation in Christ. Your old self (the spirit alienated from the life of God) who was born spiritually dead, bound and enslaved by sin is gone forever, having been crucified and buried with Christ.
Paul testifies to this truth in Romans 6:
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. (RSV).
Knowing this truth is very crucial to experiencing and enjoying daily victory over sin!
As a born-again believer, you are now a new self, person, or creation in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (RSV).
As a New Creation in Christ, your old sin nature (the root or the principle of sin in your heart) is gone forever. What you have now is a new, divine and holy nature!
Your new spirit is perfectly like Christ, for “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).
Therefore, sin has no more dominion over you. You are now free to walk in newness of life and to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life (Luke 1:74-75, Rom. 6:3-4).
But, why are some believers still struggling with sinful thoughts, desires or habits?
How can you deal with sinful thoughts, desires or habits?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a brand New Creation in Christ. Thank You for sharing with me Your holy and loving nature. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to live according to my new, divine and holy nature, in Jesus’ name. Amen.