How does a Follower of Christ deal with temptation and overcome the old sin nature?
Jesus has commanded us to make disciples of all the nations and to do so we must be disciples. A disciple is one who not only has heard the gospel call to repent and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but also one who has heard the call to “come and die.” That is, we must die to our selves, the “ME,” the selfish pathetic person that is in the process of being saved.
Remember, my spirit is saved on the day of salvation when I received Christ, Who gave me His Holy Spirit (Spirit Baptism). My soul is being saved daily as I walk with Christ in submission to Him, and my body will be saved on that DAY when I see Jesus face to face in the Resurrection.
Our salvation is past, present and future. All of it is guaranteed by our Triune God, the Holy Spirit Himself being the deposit from God that He means what He says. “All who call upon the Lord SHALL be saved.”
God’s Word commands us to “walk by the Spirit” and if we obey we will not “carry out the desire of the flesh.” In other words, you will not give in to the temptation to sin if you are walking in, controlled by, the Holy Spirit. Paul says in Galatians that when we are not walking in the Spirit we have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). That is we are not living by God’s grace, but by our own works and efforts (Gal. 5:4). The Grace he is speaking of is that of the Indwelling Holy Spirit. The argument is this, “since you live (were saved) by means of the Spirit, then walk (conduct your life) by means of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Ephesians 5:18 gives us a similar command. Paul says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” That is to say, “be controlled by the Holy Spirit.” Instead of being controlled by too much wine, yield to the Holy Spirit by obeying Him (obey the Word of God). The “conduct” of our lives should reflect God’s life in Christ (imitate God, 5:1). A companion verse to this is Colossians 3:16 “Let the Word dwell in you richly…” The results of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit and the “in dwelling” of the Word are the same (cp. Ephesians 5:18 – 6:9 with Colossians 3:16 – 4:1).
So our question is “HOW” do we walk in the Spirit? What does it mean to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit? How do we overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil?
1. You are three part being – Body (the tent of man), Soul (the mind of man), Spirit (heart of man).
- The body is your earthly house and it is perishing/dying. It is where you live. It will be saved in the resurrection.
- The soul is the old “you” and the seat of your intellect, will and emotions (the old nature called “flesh” and is quite at home in the fleshly body. The flesh can only sin). It is being saved daily as we yield to the Holy Spirit.
- The spirit is where God dwells by His Spirit when we are saved/born again. This is the inner man or New Nature and is perfect and cannot sin. (1 John 3:9, 18). It has already been saved the moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
2. Before you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ your spirit was dead, separated from God, because of sin. Everyone is born that way because of our human father, Adam. (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12 – 21) All sin because all are sinners by nature. God does not dwell in anyone at birth.
3. After we are saved/born again there is constant conflict between our Spirit and our Flesh. That is the New Man and the Old Man. When we yield to the Spirit there is positive fruit and reward, but when we yield to the flesh or old man there is negative actions with a negative result called death (Romans 7:9, 10).
(Gal 5:16-21) Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants. What your corrupt nature wants is contrary to what your spiritual nature wants, and what your spiritual nature wants is contrary to what your corrupt nature wants. They are opposed to each other. As a result, you don’t always do what you intend to do. If your spiritual nature is your guide, you are not subject to Moses’ laws. Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spiritual nature is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that. (God’s Word)
4. When we believe in who the Lord Jesus Christ is (The incarnate God) and what He has done (Died in my place for my sin) He baptizes the believing sinner with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:12-13). This spiritual baptism is the only baptism that saves (Eph. 4:5). If Christ has not baptized you with His Holy Spirit, He will baptize you in eternal fire. The results of this spiritual baptism identify the believer with Christ’s Body on earth, the Church (1 Corinthians 12:13) and with His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1 – 11). We are now the representatives of Jesus Christ on earth (2 Corinthians 5:18 – 20). As His ambassadors we have the ministry and message of reconciliation. We are to be doing and saying what He Himself would do and say if HE were here in the flesh.
5. There was a two-fold work of Christ accomplished on the Cross. Under the Old Covenant a lamb was offered as a sin offering. Its blood was poured out as a ransom payment to provide for atonement to the petitioner. But the body of the lamb was also offered and burnt completely on the altar. In the same manner, we appeal to God on the bases of the blood of the cross when we have sinned and need forgiveness and cleansing. But we appeal on the bases of the crucified body of Christ when we need deliverance from the power of temptation at work in our fleshly body.
The normal Christian life is one of complete control by God’s indwelling Spirit so that we experience God’s life and peace at all times. That is we are confessing sin and receiving forgiveness and cleansing so as to remain in fellowship with God (1 John 1:9) and we are appealing to the Holy Spirit to overcome our fleshly impulses to sin when we are tempted to sin (Romans 8:13). Our body, our will and our emotions are all to be in subjection to Christ.
The fact is that most of us rarely experience Christ’s life and peace continually. That is because we most often give into our fleshly impulses to satisfy it. “It is all about ME.” And then we excuse our sin hardening our hearts so as to not recognize it for what it is and repent of it. We give into our selfish will, our selfish emotions and our selfish fleshly addictions. What is worse is that we many times believe that our will and emotions and needs are God’s desire for me! (Don’t trust your own mind and emotions!)
For us to be victorious in our Christian life and live in such a way that Christ’s life is experienced in us we must “KNOW” some important truth and take a personal life “INVENTORY” and then “YIELD” ourselves to the Lord completely, BODY AND SOUL.
Exposition of Romans 6:1 – 14
VS 1 Now that you have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ do you think that you can just go on sinning so that God’s Grace can increase even more?
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
VS 2 NO WAY! Why?
I have already died to sin, so there is not excuse to keep on sinning as if I cannot help it!
VS 3 DON’T YOU KNOW? This is stated in the sense that “you ought to know this.” It is not just ignorance of truth here but that if you don’t know this you should.
As many of us who are saved, that is, are baptized into the death of Christ, share in His death, not in the accomplishing of it but in the benefits derived from it.
FACT: Matthew 3:11-12, You are either baptized by Christ in/with the Holy Spirit or you will be baptized by Christ in Hell Fire. The receiving of the Holy Spirit from Christ upon faith in Him is the gift (Acts 2:38) promised in the Old Testament. This new era began at Pentecost when ALL believers would receive the Holy Spirit (Joel 2/Acts 2:17-21). Peter reminds the Jewish believers of this and they agreed when Cornelius and the first Gentiles were saved. (Acts 11:1-18 note especially vs. 18 “repentance that leads to life”). Ephesians 4:5 lets all know that this is the ONLY baptism that saves us. “One Lord (Jesus Christ), One faith (in the Lord Jesus Christ) and One baptism (by the Lord Jesus Christ).
FACT: All believers are “baptized with the Holy Spirit into one body” and thus members of the ONE body of Christ made up of all believers. Believers are the “hands and feet” of the Lord in the World today. The Church is the “incarnation” of Christ today. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
FACT: this Baptism identifies all believers with the powerful effects of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism = Identification.
VS 4 THEREFORE, we were buried with Him through Baptism into DEATH. We were identified with His Death, so that JUST AS Christ Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father, even we also SHOULD walk in newness of life.
The Power of sin is broken in the “baptized” believer (all believers are spiritually baptized). Believers in Christ died with Christ to Sin and were raised up with Christ, breaking the power of sin in the body of the believer, so that we can WALK in “newness of life.”
It is a logical conclusion that if I have been buried with Christ in death, then I should now live a brand new kind of life seeing that Christ was raised from the dead by God in a glorified body by which God is honored instead of dishonored.
VS 5 For if we have become planted with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
After all, if I have been planted with Christ through His baptism so that I might grow in the likeness of His death, then it is only logical that I should be growing in the likeness of His resurrection. We ought to be continually dying to self and living for Christ.
VS 6 NOW we know (because I just told you)
- Our old nature has been crucified with Christ – it is dead
- The sinful body has been made “powerless” (to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively: – abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nothing, put away (down), vanish away, make void.)
- We are no longer slaves to sin – in reality we have been set free!
VS 7-8 How can this be?
- A dead person does not respond to bodily passions. I do not have to respond to temptations.
- On the other hand, I am alive in Christ and planted with Him and can live in a manner that pleases God.
John 12:24-26 “I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
VS 9-10 You also know this: OUR ASSURANCE of VICTORY
- Having risen from the dead Jesus cannot die again. Death has absolutely NO dominion over Him.
- Jesus died to sin once for all
- Jesus lives to God without temptation
VS 11 LIKEWISE (in the same manner), Take an inventory of yourself and realize that you are absolutely dead to sin and ALIVE to God in Christ Jesus our LORD.
When you realize you are about to be or are being tempted IMMEDIATELY see yourself in Christ.
- Being dead to sin in His body on the Cross you cannot respond to temptation
- And being ALIVE to God in Christ’s resurrected body you are able to respond with new desires from HIM.
VS 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lusts.
We have a choice.
I may feel the temptations of sinful desires at work in this dying body, but I do not have to let sin rule over me and obey what it wants me to do. In fact, I am commanded to NOT LET sin reign. It is a personal decision every time I am tempted to sin. “Choose this day who you will serve.” Believe with Paul what he says in Galatians 2:20ff.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
VS 13a and do not go on presenting the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin;
Never should I surrender my mind in conscious thinking, my ears, my eyes, my mouth, my hands, my feet, my sexuality as instruments to carry out unrighteous deeds/acts by giving in to what my sinful passions compel me to do.
How do we not “give in” to the desires of the flesh?
VS 13b BUT present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God
I should instead conscientiously and purposely surrender myself purposely to God, realizing that I am alive in my spirit by the Holy Spirit that lives in me through Christ’s baptism, and yield the members of my body to the Spirit’s control. This is an act of faith. By faith I believe what the Word of God says about my position in Christ and I act upon this truth.
VS 14a For SIN shall not be master (have dominion) over you!
This is a reasonable imperative/command that can be obeyed IF we will immediately PRESENT ourselves to God when we see temptation coming or it is already upon us. No sinful desire will be able to rule over my will when it is surrendered to my spirit/Holy Spirit (walking by faith in the Spirit). AS I wait upon the Lord by faith those desires will die and new desires to serve the Lord will arise.
Romans 8:12-13 So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
VS 14b For you are not under law, but under GRACE!
This is all true and possible because the moment that God justified me (made my righteous with Christ’s righteousness) I was no longer under the curse of God’s moral law, and because of it under His WRATH and disfavor, but NOW in Christ I am under His FAVOR/GRACE because of my baptism by Christ, that is, my union with Christ.
- KNOW your blessings. YOU are identified with Christ and in union with Him through spiritual baptism. He has united you with Himself by giving you His Holy Spirit. He has put HIS LIFE in you.
- Know that it is NOT okay to continue in SIN just because Grace is abounding.
- KNOW that you can walk in this newness of life today. You have Christ’s life in you. Yield to Him and LIVE IT.
- NOW you know the old nature has been crucified making it powerless to MAKE you sin.
- HAVE YOU taken a spiritual inventory lately. DO YOU consider yourself as dead to sin and alive to Christ?
- Are you ready to begin presenting your body as a living sacrifice to God and His service?
- Who is your master today?
- You are either living under the law of death or the Grace of Life in Christ. It is your choice as a believer who has been placed in union with the Lord Jesus Christ.