Summary: Victory over sin

Victory Over Sin: Romans 6-7 - Feb. 15, 2009

Good morning. Turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 6. We have been going through this book written by the Apostle Paul to Christians living in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire. He writes them to share the “good news” of salvation - explaining what our salvation means for us. In chapters 1-3 he writes about condemnation -- all men, -- out and out sinners, kind moral people who try to do good, and even religious Jews -- all men are condemned by God, because a holy, holy, holy God cannot allow sin in His presence. Our sin condemns us all.

Paul goes on in chapters 4 & 5 to talk about our justification -- the legal declaration that we are “not guilty” of our sin. Even though we are spiritually bankrupt on our own, God has “credited” to our account all the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In chapter 4 Paul shows us that this justification, this bringing us into right standing with God, does not come about by trying to keep the OT laws. The law could never make us right with God, it only ever condemned us. The law was given to us to show us our sinfulness.

And then in chapter 5, Paul goes on to talk about sanctification - the discussion of how we become “set apart” from sin and set apart unto God. We talked last week about how God develops godly character in our lives. We have been given “access” to God -- the privilege to come before the very throne of the God of all creation and bring all of our needs, wants, wishes, and concerns to Him. He invites us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” [Heb. 4:16] God allows us to struggle in life, because the struggles make us stronger. When we suffer, it helps us to endure -- to keep on holding on and not give up. The perseverance builds character in our life, which inspires us to keep on believing in God: to have HOPE! The belief in God even when circumstances don’t seem to indicate He is at work, because we KNOW He IS, and we can trust Him.

Today, we want to go on to chapter 6 & 7, and talk about our sanctification.

• Justification has to do with our standing - that we have been declared “not guilty” of our sins: the righteousness of Christ has been credited to our account.

• Sanctification has to do with our conduct - do we “live out” the truth of who we are in Christ?

In Justification -- the declaration of our righteousness -- the sin nature does not die. Even though we have been declared “righteous” in God’s sight, we still live with the sin nature. But its hold on our lives has been broken, for when we are declared righteous in God’s sight, we are also “regenerated” - we are given a new nature.

In Sanctification -- the process of becoming like Christ -- the old nature still does not die, but we choose not to indulge it, to give in to its desires.

Paul has shown us that we are NOT Justified by the OT law: there was nothing it could do to make us right with God. It was only given to show us our sinfulness.

When you have a little child, and the child takes a cookie out of the cookie jar, you want to punish the child for their disobedience. So if the child says, “You never said I couldn’t have a cookie” then as a parent you say, “OK, from now on don’t ever take a cookie unless you ask first. If you do, I’ll have to punish you.”

In the same way, the law was given to show the sin in our hearts. It shows us that the actions we do by nature are wrong and against the laws of God. But just as the OT laws couldn’t make us right with God, so also they can’t help us get spiritual victory over sin in our lives. Because we still have the “old nature” - our natural tendency to sin, it is easy for us to struggle with sin all of our lives.

Sometimes we think that as long as we have been a Christian we should have spiritual victory in our lives. But even the Apostle Paul, great as he was, still had a struggle inside himself. He writes of hs struggle with sin in Romans 7:15+ - {NLT} - I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it. It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?

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