by Shawn Brasseaux
The world’s pagan religions promote “self-help doctrine.” Within these groups, we hear expressions such as “finding your inner child,” “releasing the power that is within you,” “you are really a good person inside,” and “everyone is born with a blank slate and uncorrupt at birth.” Religion exalts a person as God—this social gospel makes one “feel good,” which makes it unsound. The Bible calls this, “worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
Every human being, including you and me, is not “inherently good.” Even when we were in our mothers’ wombs, we were sinners! In fact, Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23 KJV:
“20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
What a horrible reality! We may not like what the Bible says, but so what: “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). The Bible says that wickedness is overflowing within the heart of man. If you want to see a sickening sight, look at the human heart. YUCK! No wonder God hates sin; it is such an awful sight according to His holy and righteous standards. Although Jesus never explained to the Jews what He meant, we can go to the Pauline epistles and see the interpretation.
Consider Romans 5:12,18 KJV:
“12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: …
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
When Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, he was defiled. Originally Adam was created perfect, but his nature was transformed into something wicked and sinful—he rebelled against God, and sin and death plague our world even to the present-day. That same nature was passed to every one of us, and it will be passed on to our descendents. King David wrote in Psalm 51:5 KJV: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We just read where the Bible says, “by the offence [sin] of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Although we are sinners, damned from birth, “the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
We are all sinners by birth, and while we are lost in our natural state, we are not hopelessly lost. We do not have to stay lost and hell-bound. The good news is that Jesus Christ went to a Roman cross to die for the sins of the world, He was buried, and He rose again on the third day. We do not have to remain dead in our trespasses and sins like Ephesians 2:1 says! We can be free the bondage of sin, death, and hell because Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins, each and every one of them for each and every one of us!
The Bible says in Romans 8:6-8 KJV:
“6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
The Bible tells us exactly what a human is really like inside. In God’s eyes, prior to our salvation experience, we are dead spiritually. Every human in his or her natural state is born with an “old man.” This “old man” is often called “old Adam,” or the “sin nature.” Humans have the natural tendency to sin; that is, humans are inclined to deliberately rebel against God. We have fleshly desires that are contrary to God’s Word. For this reason, all humans are born in their natural, unregenerate state. We are born as “enemies of God.” Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of us a “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath.”
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled with God, and Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt, but we still struggle with sin on a daily basis. Until we are raptured from earth and brought to heaven, we will live in these bodies of human flesh, and we will experience the daily temptation to sin. Paul wrote a whole chapter, Romans chapter 7, on believers struggling with sin. Even Paul himself admitted that he sinned after salvation!
Let us see what Paul wrote in Romans 7:15-20 KJV:
“15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
After a person trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, he or she still has the sin nature, but the sin nature has lost its dominion over the individual. Romans 6:6,7 say, “Knowing this, that our old man [sin nature] is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
At this point, the believer in Christ is faced with two choices: he can give in to the lusts and desires of the flesh, or he can let the Holy Spirit guide Him and empower Him to be victorious over sin. Let us consider what God’s Word says in Galatians 5:13-18 KJV:
“13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
We are free from the curse of the Law of Moses (Romans 6:14-15): “ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Although the Law of Moses was crucified on Calvary’s cross, just as Colossians 2:14 states, this does not mean we should abuse God’s grace and this does not mean we can live any way we want. Galatians 5:17 says that the Holy Spirit and our sin nature have two separate appetites: the Holy Spirit seeks righteousness and holiness, the sin nature seeks to disobey God.
The Holy Spirit empowers us believers to do what the Law of Moses demanded Israel do in their own strength! As long as we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, we will fulfill every demand the Mosaic Law; however, when we “quench [prevent, hinder] the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), we sin. What are some examples of sin? Continue reading in Galatians chapter 5:
“19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The above sins offend God’s righteous standard because they are all generated in our sinful hearts. Let us now read what the Holy Spirit produces in our hearts as we Christians walk by faith:
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
There is nothing evil about love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. We can choose these things for our lives, and this will bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, we can go live in the energy of the flesh and commit the sins of Galatians 5:19-21—this will only ruin our Christian testimony. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” If we are Christians, our lives should reflect sound doctrine we read about in God’s Word rightly divided!!
Earlier, we read in Romans chapter 6 that our “old man” has already been put to death and nailed on Calvary’s cross with Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. Yet, we are living—we are living in the power of Christ’s resurrection. Just as we were buried with Jesus Christ, so we were also raised with Him “to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). As Romans 6:5 continues: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his [Christ’s] death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Galatians 2:20 KJV says it like this: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We are a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17); we have a new identity in Jesus Christ, and we no longer have that old sinful identity we inherited from Adam. Our lives should reflect this new identity.
The first step in coming to a knowledge of salvation is to grasp a full understanding of WHY you need to be saved. As I stated earlier, the natural man is an enemy of God, and the holy God of the universe will not allow a sinful person to be in His heaven. Our true self has to be put to death with the Lord Jesus Christ so that we can be raised again with Him! As Christians, we must continually die to the old habits and corrupt thinking processes that we had when we were lost and dead in trespasses and sins. We need to study God’s Word rightly divided so our minds can be renewed by sound doctrine (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:23).
So, are you willing to let God put your true self to death, or will you continue in your ungodly ways? It is your choice and your choice alone. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today for salvation, and then let Him live His life in and through you.