The Sin Principle
It is my opinion, based upon scripture and conversation with other believers, that if more understanding existed regarding what the rule of sin is as presented by Paul, righteousness in actions would be more apparent in believers. Looking at basics we know that in order to form a strategy for war one has to decide who are the combatants, who is the enemy? War is then declared against the discovered enemy; then and only then can an effective assault be launched against the enemy. In nominal Christianity it is very common for believers not to fully understand that within their own bodies resides the worst enemy when it comes to serving God in Spirit.
Sin as a principle as well as an entity which is against the enthroning of God as the Lord of our actions and thought must be brought to the light, thus revealing it’s influence if we are to live victorious lives over sin! Again I go back to the concept, we are not sinners because we have sinned, we are sinners because sin exercising Lordship over us brings about actions of disobedience concerning God’s standards. It is not an action of sin here that brings about this rebellion toward God but the sin principle in us as it strives for mastery and the displacement of God as Lord of us and or actions. We get a glimpse of this sin as an entity and principle in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 when exhibited in the anti-Christ sitting in the temple showing himself that he is God.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Looking at the ruling of sin as presented by Paul we see that sin seeks to employ the body as does a boss or employer the employee. The work of sin must be understood if we are going to live in submission to Christ. The instruction that we receive in Romans 6:12, “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the lust thereof,” must be adhered to if we are to live a consistent victorious Christian life. The “let not” shows us we have a choice to make! But first there is the word “therefore” which in Scripture always directs us to observe what has been previously said. Look back to verse six where we see we are crucified. This speaks of our old man now dead and consequently already punished under the penalty of the law, under the penalty of death for sin. This is not a symbolic statement, it is factual.
This is a truth which must be applied through faith on a constant moment by moment basis, not in order to stay saved but for a walk that is governed by His Spirit. Yes, we are still breathing even though we are crucified and died with Christ on the cross, but due to God’s word in Romans 8:11 we find that the Holy Spirit quickened (enlivened) our mortal bodies from the moment we died in Christ. In Romans 6:3-6 we die into Christ, our old man from our first birth date is buried, then we (new man) are raised from the dead as a new creature born from an incorruptible seed found in 1st Peter 1:23. We were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God. Take a moment to think about the words, corruptible and incorruptible. In these words God established the fact that we are not viewed as corrupted sinful creatures in God’s sight.
The Prince of the Power of the Air
In order to see the importance of these facts consider your own personal past— you were never free to make your own choices! Oh, I can hear someone say I was free to make choices, but let’s look at what Scripture says concerning choices. God inspired Paul to put it like this: “wherein times past ye walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” This prince is of course none other than Satan himself, and since we are prideful creatures we are at the very least reluctant to admit to the Lordship of Satan in our everyday lives.
Thus it is no surprise to think that people believe that they govern their own actions, but this is only self-endowed Lordship of their lives. The lesson we take from examining Satan’s current nature is the takeaway that he believes he has the right to rule his existence in the same way humans claim the right to rule their own life, though this is an empty claim is readily seen in observance of actions as well as the final judgement of God against all those that exalt themselves against Himself and His Christ.
According to God in Ephesians 2:2 all of us when unsaved had our daily marching orders from someone in control of our lives, namely Satan and his world system of influence. When we become believers we have freedom of choice, not freedom to be god, but freedom to choose whom we will serve. This issue of Satan’s dominance over man was the stumbling stone that caused the believing group of John 8:30-31 to reject salvation in order to save face and protect their pride as is made clear in verses 33-47. This is a group that believes the things Jesus said about himself, but the pride of heritage and their own works prevented their acceptance of the truth concerning their service and bondage to sin. These men thought themselves to be in control of their own decisions and consequent actions and this rendered their minds unapproachable by truth.
Now you might say concerning the prince of the power of the air concerning you, that Jesus has set you free, and right you are, Jesus has indeed set we who are truly saved free from compulsory enslavement to sin that is still residing in our flesh. Here, though is one of those times when but is a big word, we are freed from compulsory enslavement to sin which was our only master, but we are not freed from being under Lordship. Remember the words from the Lord, “you cannot serve two masters” or we could say lords. Many labor under the false premise that there are three powers in the world, God, Satan, and themselves. Nothing could be a further exaggeration of the truth, as scripture makes clear. Read again what the state of an unsaved man is in John 8:44 and what the choices of the saved man are in Romans 6:14-16. In study of the scripture for these many years I have concluded that the options are to choose one as master and Lord or the other as the slave master. For the believer this is the daily moment by moment battle as the rules are established in scripture.
Next a closer look at the choices.