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Jul 25 2012

Why Do We Sin If We Are A New Creation?

It is helpful to understand our nature as Christians in order to understand the struggle that Christians endure with respect to sin. A Christian is more sensitive to sin and the more mature a Christian is, the more sensitive he or she is to sin. In Romans chapter 7, Paul goes into great detail discussing the struggle we have between our new nature and our Adamic nature. Our nature is a compilation of traits that make up each person. All of mankind bears a relationship to Adam by way of our birth (Romans 5:12) and all believers bear a relationship to God because of our new birth (1 Corinthians 15:22). Our new nature does not remove the Adamic nature that we inherited at birth. In fact Paul states in Romans 7:21 that while we desire to do good, evil is present with us. Positionally, our relationship to Adam has been revoked as we were crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) but we must acknowledge that sin continues to dwell in us (Romans 7:17). To state otherwise is to deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8).

This is the paradox that Paul struggled with in Romans chapter 7. Paul declares that he does not do the good he wants but instead, he keeps doing the evil that he does not want to (Romans 7:19). In fact, chapter 7 is devoted to the struggle that Christians have between our heart that wants to serve God and the struggle with our flesh. This struggle that Christians endure is a battle that even Paul wrestled with.

As Christians, our old self has been crucified with Christ so that “our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6). Our old self died with Christ and we have been given a new life. We are no longer slaves to sin. Yet, we still live in this body that is corruptible and our Adamic nature conflicts with our new divine nature. Christians share in His nature by possession of His eternal life, are new creatures and have the Holy Spirit living in us.

How should a Christian “fight” the old nature that remains in us? Christians have the capacity to not sin by walking in the spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)

While we live in this world, we are in the process of being sanctified. (Romans 6:22). While we are in this earthly corruptible flesh, sanctification is the progressive process in a Christian’s walk. We will be changed to His perfect likeness, completely separated from evil (1 John 3:2).

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 Peter 1:3-7)

When we fall, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We cannot give up because of our failures but instead, we must pursue with perseverance much like a runner in a race. Christians have not yet reached the goal of Christ-likeness but we must continue to pursue it. (1 Philippians 3:12-14).

Photo: Tug of war at  Pixabay.com

This post is adapted from an answer written for GotQuestions.org

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