Part 10 of 14 – The Essential Spirit - The Christian’s Basis of Victory Over Sin
God has provided a great 3-fold salvation for us from Sin and its effects.
1. As Christians, we’re free from the "penalty" of our sins, since Christ paid the penalty for us. (Gal 1:4)
2. Then also as Christians who are "in Christ," we already are freed from the "power" of Sin’s domination over us; by our co-death with and in Christ at the cross. (Gal 2:20, Rom 6:2, 6-7, 7:4)
3. Upon death we’ll be freed from the "presence’ of Sin, when we exchange these Sin-laden bodies for new spirit-bodies, just as the resurrected Jesus demonstrated when He appeared on earth after His resurrection.
First we need to note again, as we saw in Part 9, exactly where the Sin nature is located in mankind, including in the saved Christian, – it is within his flesh body members (Rom 7:17-23). In Romans 6:12 we see that sin is located in the flesh, "your mortal body"; where "sin reigns" by manifesting "its lusts." We also may note that in fact "sin is condemned in the flesh" Romans 8:3b.
Scripture tells us, we as believers are now "dead to sin" (Rom 6:2, 11) and free from its dominion. Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. Yet, we know that Christians still sin. So, how then does the Serpent’s Sin-spirit, in man’s flesh body, still have influence over the saved and regenerated Christian?
In the Old Testament we have an account of the very real experience of the children of Israel , which also is figurative of God’s remedy for Sin. It confirms the Christian’s dilemma of being dead to Sin, but still infected with the Sin nature. In Numbers 21 the children of Israel were in the Sinai wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land. Serpents bit them, injecting deadly venom and causing death. The children of Israel asked Moses to ask God to "take away the serpents" (v7). We should note that God did not answer their prayer in that way. The serpents bite and poison remained as a problem. But God did make the serpent’s bite "of no effect" if the poisoned victim looked to a brazen serpent lifted up on Moses staff, fashioned as God had instructed. To look to "behold" the brazen Serpent on the pole was a demonstration of ones faith in what God said. We must believe God, that the Sin in our flesh is "deprived of its power" when we look to Christ’s cross.
Jesus, in John 3:14, spoke referring to this allegory "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." Jesus speaks of Himself being the real "brazen serpent," the one "lifted up" on the cross, bodily. Jesus, in the humanity of His human body, had to be lifted up on the cross both for "the sins of the world," and also as our Sin-laden old man. Christ’s Sin-laden body was offered as our serpentine old man’s death, freeing us from Sin’s dominion. By us being now dead with Christ, the tyrannical Sin nature is deprived of us as its subject, "condemned in the flesh." Romans 8:3 …God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Jesus’ death is our death "to sin." Now Sin in our flesh sits "condemned," sentenced, but not yet executed. Our serpentine-self died to Sin at the cross; and even more the cross is the source of the resurrection life of Christ now in us, as us.
We are to look away (Num 21:9) to behold the cross, trusting Christ’s death as our death; thus putting the Sin nature in our flesh out of a job. Sin’s poison remains in our flesh; but since we are crucified with Christ, Sin has no power over us. This has been so for us since the day we believed to receive Christ; now we must believe we died with Christ. From Numbers 21 we can see that it is by looking to Christ on the cross, that we see Him "as us" crucified on the cross. We identify with Christ death as our death. By Christ’s death as us, He destroyed not the Devil, but rather He "destroyed the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8b … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy (Greek, luo, loose us from) the works of the devil.
2 Corinthians 5:7 "we walk by faith, not by sight." Our "death to Sin" is only effectual "by faith" in the finished work of the cross. We depend upon Christ as our indwelling new man. Jesus said we’re set apart from sin and the world, sanctified, "by faith in Him" (Acts 26:18). We’re all tempted by the spontaneous impulses of our Sinful flesh. Our faith response should be turn our heart to trust Him within us as our new and overcoming life-source; then our death to Sin is found to be effective. That one turning to abide in His life within us is the reckoning of our old self dead. We’re now alive by Christ’s "Spirit of life" in us; over whom Sin has no power.
This by my good friend Art.