Dead to Sin

1 JOHN 3:6- ROMANS 6:1-14

When saved, the believer’s eyes are open to the fact, through the Word, that he has nothing to prove to God and rests from dead works, [1] and is only left with the yearning to live a life pleasing to God in light of Christ’s marvellous gift. Adherence to the law of love is the expected response of thanksgiving, and it is the way we should walk in light of the new creation we have become by an act of God in our hearts. [2]

All the punishment due us was taken by Christ on our behalf, and God the Father, in light of that payment, which He Himself provided, is free to justly give us all things. [3]

Rom 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

THEN WHY DO WE AS CHRISTIANS STILL SIN? WHAT IS THIS FREEDOM FROM SIN THAT IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN’S COMMON EXPERIENCE?

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; 1 John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. NKJV [4]

“Anyone who has died has been freed from sin. The words “has been freed” are a loose rendering of dedikaiotai, literally, “has been justified or declared righteous.” [Render just or innocent]. The perfect tense of this verb describes a past action with a continuing force [a permanent change]. ” THE BIBLE KNOWLEDGE COMMENTARY

First let us establish what is biblically meant by dead to sin (Ro 6: 7). “Death, whether physical or spiritual, means separation not extinction. Death to sin is a separation from sin’s power, not the extinction of sin’s [presence].” JOHN A. WHITMER

For example our physical dying is not extinction of life but separation from this physical reality unto the more real existence.

WHAT IS ITS POWER THAT WE ARE FREE FROM? (God’s purpose for us in Christ).

Its power to condemnThere is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Ro 8:1, 2

Col 2:13-15

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Its power to blind… Eph 4:17 – 19; .But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. ..For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:3, 4, 6

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Cor 2:12

-Its power to bind… Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

(NKJ) Heb 2:14-15

for you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Ro 8:15

HOW DO I EXPERIENCE THE REALITY OF THIS ‘DEAD TO SIN’? The first truth, understand the term ‘dead to sin’.

The unsaved may be fearful of the consequences of his sin and may be sorrowful when he is caught, but the regenerated, when he sins is not pleased when he does, and struggles to be free from its power. The unsaved wishes to be free from consequences of his sinful desires; the saved wishes to be free from the urge to sin.

The Christian has the ability to choose not to sin because of the God imparted ‘new creation’ [5] ; though sin’s old habits still strongly operate. Total removal of sins impulse comes at the revelation of Christ in glory and not before! 2 Cor 5:2, 4 groan… desire to be clothes with life ; 1 Cor 15:42-54mortal has put on immortality. Often we expect God to strengthen us to overcome our own sinfulness. God is not out to strengthen us but to reveal deeply rooted sinfulness that drives us to Him for His power and grace. God is not out to make us independently strong but totally and dependently weak, then we are strong in Christ! 2 Cor 11:23-12:9, 10 …My strength is made perfect in weakness. Our disposition has been changed at the regeneration of the Holy Spirit to desire not fulfil the impulse. The unregenerate wilfully follows the impulse of selfishness through sinning, and prevented from fully expressing his sinful desires only by fear of consequences.

The believer now has the life of Christ as his sword against the ‘old mans impulse to sin;’ not the elimination of sin but control of it.

But how do we harness this ‘sword’ of victory?

Many say, Why did God make me with these sinful desires if He doesn’t want me to sin? “I can’t help it, God made me this way!” God never created us with sinful desires, James tells us: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 1:13-15

We sin as we pursue our own rights and desire at the expense of others and God’s holiness. However, regeneration implants in us a disposition to righteousness. But the disposition implanted of the Holy Spirit awaits your desire and purpose to FOLLOW IT BY CHOICE!

The disposition of sin inside me, called the “old man,” connects me with the body of sin; when I am born from above I have the disposition of holiness imparted to me, and this connects me with the Body of Christ and I go to the death of the “old man” and in this way the body of sin is going to be destroyed. Sanctification is not a question of being delivered from hell, but of identifying myself with the death of Christ. Am I based in the moral centre of my life on the Cross of Christ? … If you are not delivered from any particular element of sin, the reason is either you don’t believe God can deliver you or you don’t want Him to. Immediately you want Him to deliver you, the power of God is yours and it is done, not [soon], but now, and the manifestation is wonderful. Let a man give up the right to himself to Jesus Christ, and the efficacy of His Redemption works out instantly. [6]

1 JOHN 3:6-10 vs 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. ABIDETH SINS NOT

For the believer sin is abnormal and unnatural, therefore if a Christian knowingly sins without conviction he cannot declare he is of God. (Vs 8,9) CF ZANE C. HODGES; BIBLE KNOWLEDGE COMMENTARY PG 894)

There is much scholarship debate on the vs. 6, and 9 in particular, as to the meaning and intent of John’s statements here. Some contend John is teaching attainable perfection, others are inclined to see it as habitual sinning as a reflection of predominate character. The newer translations add ‘practice’ or ‘continually’ sin, however modern translations take this subjective approach due to a struggle to grasp John’s meaning in light of Christian experience.

“A widely held explanation of this verse is that a believer “does not sin habitually,” that is, sin is not his way of life. However the Greek has no words to represent phrases such as ‘keeps on’ or ‘continues to’ or ‘habitually.’ These phrases are based on an understanding of the Greek present tense which is now widely in dispute among New Testament scholars. It cannot be shown anywhere in the New Testament that the present tense can bear this kind of meaning without the assistance of other words.” [7]

More to the point! By implication, having the motivational desire not to sin from the heart. Our new creation in Christ desires not to sin. There has been a drastic change in the heart of the regenerated Christian wrought by the Holy Spirit upon conversion! The true Christian does not have the desire to sin and therefore struggles against the flesh’s programmed, condition, sinful impulses!

Jesus came to forgive sin and set us free from its dominion (authority), our ‘old nature’ has been made of no affect by an act of God – its power is dead (as a means of condemnation and dominion).

For the believer, sin is abnormal and unnatural. Therefore the Christian who has no conviction of sin when his sin is revealed, either through rebuke or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit through the Word, CANNOT BE OF GOD (VS8, 9) BECAUSE HE GOES AGAINST HIS NEW DIVINELY MOTIVATED DESIRES FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

HAS NOT SEEN HIM

As we progressively learn of Him we more plainly see ourselves in His light and the desire cannot be there to sin but receive cleansing through Christ’s shed blood. Anyone who knowingly sins with impunity cannot have seen God at any time. Because the seeing of God in our mind’s eye, through Scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit, cannot but have a profound affect on our character the will.

“The life of sin and the life of God mutually exclude one another, just as darkness and light.” [8]

“If there is not, then, at least a yearning in our hearts to live a holy life pleasing to God, we need to seriously question whether our faith in Christ is genuine.” [9]

The second truth: victory is not the removal of sin’s impulse, but gracious ability to endure its presence – pride seeks to overcome, humility is prepared to endure.

no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13

“Let us remember, too, that in God’s dealing with us, He will allow a ‘trial’ to remain until we cease to writhe under it.” JESSIE-PENN LEWIS

We no longer fight to get rid of its presence, it’s a futile exercise anyway, but that courage to face its presence with the power of the living God who will empower victory by our correct response (see further on).

DESIRING TO BE FREE FROM SIN’S IMPULSES HAS US LOOK FORWARD TO THE HOPE BEFORE US, OUR GREAT REWARD WHEN WE ARRIVE IN GLORY. but we also who have the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.. Ro 8:23

WHAT ABOUT TEMPTATIONS PRESENCE! Temptation is not sin. We have the ability to resist it once we are believers. How? Ø If Satan is involved too, then renounce his hold on you because of the cross. Agree with Satan and his accusation of guilt, then point him to the cross. Ø By calling on the name of the Lord. Reckon [10] yourself crucified to the sin. Don’t trust in your ability to get rid of the impulse by sheer will power – only the cross can win. Ø Choose against yourself. Choose against what you desire that is contrary to the Word. Don’t look for a way to indulge as the Corinthians did. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Ja 4:7 Drawing unto God in dependence upon Him; an act of humility on your part has God move toward you. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Pet 5:5. Satan then becomes subject to the Holy Spirit’s unhindered power and flees. Our security is in Jesus Christ. GOD WILL NOT CHOOSE AGAINST SIN FOR ME, THIS I MUST DO.* * and yet we want God to give us the power to choose against ourselves. The most missed point is that God does not provide His victory to make a choice against sin! This is why we wrestle so much as in Roman 7. We are expecting Him to make us strong enough to decide for Him against sin. This is not His way. GOD WILL NOT CHANGE NOR EMPOWER MY EMOTIONS TO REMOVE THE IMPULSE SO THAT I WILL EASILY WALK WITH HIM. I MUST BELIEVE AND PRACTICE THE VICTORY WON FOR ME AGAINST SIN BY THE CROSS OF CHRIST!

If I choose against myself out of ego, pride, self-righteousness, to attain applause from others (impress), rather than solely for the glory of God and to honour what He has made me in Christ, then power of the Holy Spirit will not respond to motives of the flesh.

…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,… Heb 5:8, 9 HOW DO WE LEARN OBEDIENCE? WHEN THINGS ARE EASY TO OBEY? NO, TRUE OBEDIENCE IS LEARNED WHEN THINGS ARE NOT SO EASY. We must learn to obey the higher authority than our own, and place our human instincts and desires on the cross – GAL 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (NKJ) The hardest thing for our flesh to do is dying. The flesh will do anything to live! (Col 2:18-23 ). The flesh does not want to be denied! You must die to yourself and unto God. We want from God but we don’t want to die to our desires and impulses. Our flesh does not follow after the will of God unless there is reward for it.

“We are back to a major error… seeing God, in effect, as little more than a means to self-fulfilment and viewing all that He has done, including the cross of Christ, primarily from the selfish perspective of what we get out of it. It is the same old rebellion, but now justified by theories of [humanistic] psychology.” HUNT; THE SEDUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY

because the fleshly mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Ro 8:7,8

I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Gal 5:16, 17

CHOOSE AGAINST THE TEMPTATION, SAYING I CHOOSE NOT TO and if you are His child the Holy Spirit that dwells in you will EMPOWER YOUR CHOICE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The central statement to this whole lesson material is: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT EMPOWER YOU ­TO MAKE THE CHOICE AGAINST SIN! THE SPIRIT WILL EMPOWER YOUR RIGHTEOUS CHOICE NOT TO SIN; DENY SELF TO FOLLOW CHRIST. [11]

‘For the first several years after starting my Christian walk at twenty-six years old, I was bound and defeated by certain magazines. Often I cried out to God, “Why don’t you take this from me?” “Why won’t you give me the strength to resist and have victory?” Then I understood the principles in this lesson. I was again tempted powerfully and drawn to the sin very closely. As I was about to practice this sin again and struggling between temptation and freedom (Roman 7:19) I spoke out loud with people around, “I choose not to”. And immediately the Holy Spirit empowered that choice instantly and the entire temptation at that moment was vanquished completely! A week later the temptation came back but not as strong and by then I knew my victory in Christ and repeated the same with the same empowering liberty! It was done! The victory was won but I quickly applied the Cross and even the slight temptation eventually faded away – the ‘new creation’ had taken over: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17

This reflects on Christ’s admonition: If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. Lk 14:26-33 and he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:38, 39

Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. But Jesus had no sin, TRUE, but He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. WE must experience suffering to obey convictions to affirm our loyalty to God over ourselves. Deny self not empower self!

Jesus suffered hunger, beating, crucifixion, but he chose to respond every moment in His life to the will of the Father. Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered. GOD’S GIFT TO YOU AND ME THROUGH OUR BELIEF IN CHRIST IS THE ABILITY TO LEARN OBEDIENCE FROM THE THINGS WE SUFFER IN OUR RESISTANCE TO SINS IMPULSES. GOD HAS GIVEN US A NEW HEART. WE ARE NEW CREATIONS EMPOWERED BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO WALK IN JESUS’ STEPS IN OBEDIENCE AND HOLINESS.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 JN 2:3-6 HEBREWS 4:14, 15

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God will not empower you to choose against sin, He will empower your choice not to sin. You now have dominion over sin, first by choice, then that response is enforced by God-given power. And God gives the grace and empowerment because you are no longer a criminal but a child by adoption through the Blood of Christ.

Rom 6:11-14

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 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.


[1] For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Eph 2:8, 9; Heb 6:1

[2] Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Cor 5:17 [3] He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things. Ro 8:34

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Eph 1:3

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 2 Cor 2:12

[4] Cannot sin, because he is born of God – ‘because it is of God that he is born’ (cf. the Greek order with that of the same words in the beginning of the verse): not ‘because he was born of God’ [gegenneetai, perfect; present in meaning, not aorist]: not, Because a man was once for all born of God he never afterward can sin; but, Because he is born of God, the seed abiding now an Him, he cannot sin; so long as it energetically abides, sin can have no place. Compare Gen 39:9, Joseph, “How CAN I do this great … sin against God?” The principle within is at utter variance with sin, and gives a hatred for all sin, and an unceasing desire to resist it. ‘The child of God receives wounds daily, and never throws away his arms, or makes peace with his deadly foe’ (Luther). The exceptional sins of the regenerate are owing to the new life being suffered to lie dormant, and to the sword of the Spirit not being drawn instantly. Sin is ever active, but no longer reigns. The believer’s normal direction is against sin; the law of God after the inward man is the ruling principle of his true self, though the old nature, not yet fully deadened, rebels. Contrast 1 John 5:18 with John 8:34: cf. Ps 18:22-23; 32:2; 119:113,176. The magnetic needle, the nature of which is always to point to the pole, is easily turned aside, but always re-seeks it.

(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

[5] New creation can also be appropriately called a “brand new disposition” which is God’s gift through the indwelling Spirit. [6] Chambers, Oswald, Biblical Ethics, (: Marshall Morgan & Scott) c1947.

[7] Bible Knowledge Commentary pg 894; see also Jamison Fausset Brown Commentsary pg 1505; – and from Encyc of Bible Difficulties; Gleason Archer quoted in part here -“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot commit sin, because he is born of God.” In one respect this otherwise adequate translation fails to bring out one very important feature of the hamartanein (“to sin”) after ou dynatai (“not able”): a present infinitive in Greek implies continual or repeated action. (Single action would have been conveyed by the aorist infinitive, hamartein.) For this reason some of the more recent translations bring out the true emphasis by rendering it “he cannot go on sinning” (NIV). NASS draws the inference from the present infinitive hamartanein that the earlier poiei (present indicative) in “doth not commit sin” (KJV) implies “no one who is born of God practices sin,” since this stands in contrast to the hamartanein of the later clause. This is probably justified, even though it would be wrong to say that the Greek present indicative necessarily implies continual action (for it often does not do so).

[8] Jamieson Fausset Brown; Commentary on 1 Jn 3:6 [9] JERRY BRIDGES; Pursuit OF HOLINESS. [10] Ro 6:11 [11] Luke 19:23

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