In my last blog post I began writing about the sin that dwells in us. Leaning on the teaching of the 17th century writer, John Owen, we discovered the nature of this sin. Once again, with Owen’s help, we will uncover what the Bible teaches about the power of this sin that remains in the believer. Scripture makes the following points.
1. When we follow the natural way of thinking (our mind broken by sin), it is hostile to God. Romans 8:7 reads: “…the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God….” Such a way of thinking opposes the work of the Spirit of God in us. Galatians 5:17 reads: “…the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit….” Sin opposes God and God hates sin (Psalm 11:5). We must realize that sin in us is no small thing! We dare not make peace with us.
2. By its very nature, indwelling sin opposes holiness and God’s authority in us. Romans 8:7b reads: “For the mind that is set on the flesh…does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” This is why when we allow sin to run rampant in us, it leads to “hearts trained in greed” (2 Peter 2:14) and our becoming “slaves of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19). Christ has broken the dominating power of sin in the believer so it is not our king, but we can allow sin room to act as an insurgent in us and to bring great harm. We dare not play around with sin.
Though the Bible makes these points about the power of indwelling sin in us, it also reminds us we have the following resources and promises to help us combat sin:
1. Since we are new people, we don’t have to be dominated by sin. (Romans 6:1-11)
2. When we do sin, God’s undeserved favor to cleanse us and get us back on track is far greater than our sin. (Romans 5:20; James 4:6; 1 John 2:1-2)
3. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond the gracious ability he gives us to say, “Yes,” to him and “No” to sin and will always give us a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
4. God will pursue those who are truly in Christ—even when we sin—to restore us and bring us back and to make us stand when we fall. (1 Peter 5:10; Jude 24)