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 anything or anyone (Gen. 1:28, Psa. 8:3-6). It is therefore not God’s plan for sin to have dominion over you.
While Cain was angry that God had no regard for his offering but for that of his brother – Abel, God responded, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Gen. 4:7 NKJV).
Although God wanted Cain to rule over sin, yet he could not. He eventually killed his brother and became the first murderer and fugitive in the world (Gen. 4:8-12). Likewise today, although it is God’s will and desire for everyone in the world to overcome or rule over sin, yet not everyone is enjoying a daily victory over sin.
Your victory over sin starts with you acknowledging or admitting that you can never overcome sin in your life on your own no matter how hard you try, or the discipline or rule you impose on yourself.
Why is it impossible for anyone to overcome sin through his own effort or discipline?
Because we all were born with a sin nature, thereby making us slaves to sin from birth!
Sin has defeated, bound and enslaved you before you were born. How is that possible?
Through the disobedience of the first man, Adam!
The Scripture clearly states: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19 NKJV).
The individual sin or sinful act or habit you are struggling to overcome in your life is just a fruit, manifestation or expression of the root, source, principle or 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 sin in you.
But how can you possibly do this since sin is rooted in your heart?
You need a new heart!
It is your sin nature that is responsible for all your sinful acts or habits. Therefore, until your sin nature is dealt with by destroying it; it is useless, profitless, and frustrating struggling to deal with or overcome its fruits in your life.
Destroying or getting rid of your sin nature is something you can’t handle yourself!
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 and lives on. 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.
The Scripture states: “For he who has died is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:7 RSV).
But, how can you die to overcome sin and still continue to live to demonstrate your victory over sin?
Through spiritual union with Jesus Christ!
Everyone born into this world was born into Adam.
What are the spiritual implications of this?
First, it implies we were born into spiritual death (a state of spiritual separation from God).
The scripture states: “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:21-22 NKJV).
Second, it implies we were born into spiritual slavery or captivity of sin, having inherited sin nature from Adam.
The Scripture states: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19 NKJV).
As sinners we are lawful captives of Satan. For the Scripture says: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning…” (1 John 3:8 NKJV).
How did we inherit the sin nature of Adam?
Through the natural birth!
How can we get a new nature – the divine and holy nature of God?
Through the spiritual or the new birth!
The new birth is a spiritual grafting or transplanting from the first man Adam into the second man, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the operation of the Holy Spirit whereby you are plucked out of Adam and planted into Christ (1 Cor. 6:17).
The first man was defeated by Sin and Satan, but the second man triumphed openly over Sin and Satan.
The Scripture states: “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” (1 Cor. 15:47-49 NKJV).
It is God’s plan and desire for all men to bear the image or nature of Jesus Christ, the only man who ever triumphed completely over Sin and Satan. The only way to bear Christ’s holy nature is to be grafted into Him or become spiritually united with Him.
How do you become spiritually grafted into Christ?
By the operation of the Holy Spirit when you acknowledge that you are a sinner and turn to Jesus Christ the Saviour to save you from the dominion of sin.
When you believe in the person of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for your sin on the cross, and you surrender your life to Him and confess Him as your personal Saviour and Lord; you are saved or delivered from the governing power, dominion or control of Sin and Satan, and your nature is supernaturally changed or transformed by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:8-10, Acts 8:37, 16:30-31).
At the point of the new birth, your sin nature was instantly destroyed and removed, and then a new nature which is God’s kind of nature was implanted in your spirit (1 John 3:9, Rom. 5:5, 11:6).
In other words, the old you (spirit) who was born spiritually dead, bound and enslaved by sin was replaced with a new spirit who is identical to Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:9, Gal. 4:6, 1 John 4:17).
The Scripture states: “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17 RSV).
As a new creation, your old sin nature is gone forever. All that you have now is a new, divine and holy nature.
Why then do you still struggle with sinful thoughts, desires or habits?
Your carnal mind and vile body!
No man in the flesh can ever attain a state of sinlessness when he is without sin and cannot sin.
The Scripture testifies: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 NKJV).
However, the believers can attain a state of perfection when they “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philip. 2:15 NKJV).
A call unto perfection in the Bible is therefore not a call unto sinlessness, but to spiritual maturity, to walk in the light of God’s Word and to walk in love, which is the bond of perfection (Col. 3:14, Matt. 5:48).
The Scripture says: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NKJV).
If you are truly born again, your new or recreated spirit is fully redeemed, sanctified and incapable of committing sin; “for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9 RSV).
The new spirit you received at the point of the new birth is “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9).
The Scripture declares: “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6 NKJV).
However, you are not just a spirit, but you have a soul and body which though have been purchased by the blood of Jesus are yet to experience full redemption that your spirit has experienced (Eph. 1:14).
The full redemption of your soul and body is still in the future, at the second coming of Christ. The Scripture testifies that we are “eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23 NKJV), and to receive “the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9 NKJV).
While you already have a new spirit that is perfectly like Jesus Christ, you are yet to have a new and perfect soul and glorified body like that of Jesus. You will certainly have these when you see Jesus face to face, when He returns physically.
The Scripture assures: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 NKJV).
Meanwhile, you have a responsibility to continually, constantly and consistently purify your soul through God’s Word and discipline your body through prayer, which are still vulnerable to temptations to sin.
You can still sin or fall into temptation because your soul and body are not yet fully sanctified, redeemed or perfected (1 John 2:1).
No believer regardless of his state of spiritual maturity is above temptations or immune to temptations to sin. Until your soul (will, mind and emotions) and body have experienced full redemption at the return of Christ, you have not attained a state of sinlessness when you cannot sin or be tempted to sin anymore.
It is important for you to understand this truth lest you get to a point in your spiritual journey when you think that you are now above temptations to sin, and then begin to despise or condemn other believers who fall into temptations.
Paul warns, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1 NKJV).
How then do you handle or overcome daily the temptations to sin?
Watch and Pray!
The believer’s recreated spirit is always willing to obey God, but his soul and the body are not always willing to do what God has commanded.
Paul testifies, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 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.” (Rom. 7:22-23 NKJV).
How then do you make both your soul and body to be subjected to your recreated spirit, the new man, whose delight is always to obey and please God?
First, you must continually, constantly and consistently yield or surrender your will to God.
The “will” is the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action (The American Heritage Dictionary).
You will always have to choose either to say “Yes” or say “No” to temptation!
It is your sole responsibility to exercise your will to obey God’s Word in every circumstance (Rom. 6:16). If sin continues to reign in your life after you are born again, it is simply because you allow it to reign. You can exercise your will against sin, for you are no longer a slave to sin.
This is why the Scripture commands, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” (Rom. 6:12 NKJV).
Second, if you want to always overcome temptations to sin you must continually, constantly and consistently sanctify, renew or reset your mind through regular and prayerful intake and meditation in God’s Word.
Your mind has been trained and programmed to doubt, reject and oppose the things of the Spirit by your old man before he was crucified with Christ on the Cross (1 Cor. 2:14).
The Scripture testifies: “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.” (Rom. 6:6 NKJV).
Your old man with his sin nature is gone out of your life, but he left behind “the body of sin” in your mind and emotions which must be put away by you. Just like it is in the physical world that when a man dies, the spirit goes out, leaving the body behind to be put away.
The body of sin implies the desires, thoughts, mindsets, passions, ambitions, patterns, ways or lifestyles of the old man which are opposed to that of Christ. These have formed strongholds in your mind which must be pull down and put off, and brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, lest you remain a slave of sin (2 Cor. 10:3-6).
Lastly, your daily victory over temptations depends on how you deal with the members of your body.
If you fail to discipline your body and bring it into subjection to your new man through fasting and prayers, members of your body which have become accustomed to sin when under the old man will still continue to lead you into temptations (1 Cor. 9:27 NKJV).
The Scripture commands, “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.” (Rom. 6:13 NKJV).
Beloved, if you are not going to be self-willed, ruled by the desires of your carnal mind, driven by your emotions and dominated by the passions of the body, the Scripture admonishes you to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41 NKJV).
“Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18 RSV).
“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7 NKJV).