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Is it possible that Christians are not sinners saved by grace? Part 4

This is the fourth message in the series “Is it possible Christians are not sinners saved by grace?” The first message was a brief overview of the the book of Romans and its continuing theme of contrasting life under the law with life under grace.

In the second message we examined, in some detail, the latter part of Romans 5 and the entirety of Romans 6. What we learned is that once we are born again, once we received the life and nature of God on the inside of us, we no longer have a sin nature that must answer to the law. So, since our lives are now sin-free, when we sin we sin because we choose to sin.

Romans 6 makes it very clear that when we get born again, we die to sin. In other words, the sin nature is dead. But Romans 6 also makes it clear that we still have the capacity to sin. Sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it. But it’s not. Throughout the chapter Paul tells us not to yield to sin — not to yield to the sinful thoughts of our minds or the sinful lusts that drives our bodies. What Paul is describing is a way of living that was not available to the person with a sin nature.

Paul emphasizes this because when we are born again that experience does not affect our minds or our bodies. And we looked at scripture that shows how our minds must be renewed to agree with the new nature that now dwells within us. For the person with the sin nature the law was a “synthetic conscious”. It was an outside force that kept the person in check.

At the same time we learned that we have to mortify the deeds of the flesh — we have to make our unregenerated bodies obey our new nature. Again, the person with a sin nature did not have the capacity to do this and that’s why he needed the law — the synthetic conscious.

In the third message we looked at Romans 7, the chapter that most use to prove that Christians are sinners who have been saved by grace. What we learned as we looked at the chapter, almost verse by verse, is that Paul is not talking about a Christian struggling with a sin nature but a person with a sin nature trying to live by the dictates of the law. He can’t do it.

All of the person’s Jewish training is no match for the sin nature that lives and dominates him from the inside.That’s why Paul says in verse 25: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

When you keep Romans 7 in the context of the entire book of Romans and the continuing theme of contrasting living under the law with living under grace, it is scripturally impossible to come to the conclusion that Paul is talking about a Christian struggling with a sin nature.

As I thought about these messages, the Lord impressed upon me a truth that the Body of Christ has failed to grasp about themselves. Most do not understand what happens to them when they are born again.

I had been a Christian for nearly 30 years when I first heard teaching about what happens when we are born again. Imagine living with God’s life and nature on the inside of you for 30 years and not knowing how it changes you or what that change means for your life. And based on what I see in the Church, this is where most Christians are today.

And the problem lies, in part, with those of us who preach and teach from the pulpit. Many teach that nothing truly changes when we get born again and that’s why we still sin. Well, you know that they don’t say it like that. What they say is easier to swallow: you still have the sin nature but now you have God’s nature too. In other words, you are a sinner who has been saved grace.

What we’re taught, ladies and gentlemen, is that accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior doesn’t really change who we are. Did you hear me? We’re being taught that Jesus still leaves us as sinners — that He still leaves us in our sinful state of existence. Oh, what a damnable heresy! And Satan sits back and smiles. The pulpit is doing his job for him!

Today we’re going to answer two questions as we continue to look at how Christians are not sinners saved by grace. The first is “How does being born again change us?” And the second question is “How should being born again change how we live.

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