Let me ask you a question. Can dead people sin?
Not really. Dead people, by definition, are incapable of action, and therefore, incapable of sin.
So then why do so many believers, who the bible says are “dead to sin..” (Romans 6:11), still believe they have a sin nature?
I want to make a simple case today for why you do not have a sin nature.
You are not a sinner. Your heart is not evil. You are not bad. The cross has succeeded, and we are new!
Romans 6 is one of my favorite chapters in the bible. It speaks of our union with Christ, our freedom from sin, and ultimately, it speaks of the good news! Romans 6 has been a meditation of mine for the last few years. (It’s for this reason that my next book project is a translation of Romans 5-8 with commentary.)
In my mind, Romans 6 is the most compelling argument for why we do not have a sin nature, and can no longer be called a “sinners.” Here’s why:
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Vs. 5 ESV
Here Paul makes a definitive case for our separation from the sin nature, or the “old self.” We are separated from the old, sinful nature (that we received in Adam) by our union with the death of Christ. The old nature is dead!
The sinner you died on the cross with Jesus! You were crucified with Christ, on the cross, and the sin nature was therefore removed from you entirely! When He died, you died! When He laid dead in the grave, your sin nature laid dead in the grave with Him!
Galatians 2:20 expresses this reality in saying, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me..” (ESV)
The clear, and beautiful truth of the Gospel is this. You have died with Jesus Christ on the cross, and in His death your sin nature was lost and removed entirely! Paul in Colossians refers to it as having been circumcised from you. It’s been removed and thrown away! Out for garbage! Never to return!
Sinners saved by grace
You are no longer a sinner saved by Grace. The Gospel is the wonderful announcement that you are now a saint!
Christ has removed your old nature, He has done away with your flesh, and in doing so He has given you a new life of holiness and righteousness. We share in the righteousness, and the very life of Christ Himself! Galatians 2:20 again makes that point. “..not I, but Christ in me!”
Is Christ a sinner? Of course not! And since you share in the life of Christ, since it is no longer you, but Christ– then you too are not a sinner! You are a partaker of the Divine nature of Christ Himself! (2 Peter 1:4)
You used to be a sinner, but Grace saved you!
Christianity is not a life long wrestling match with sin. Christianity is the enjoyment of a new happy and holy existence in Christ Jesus! You are free from sin!
Dead people, and Romans 7
Reading Romans 6, you will come face to face with the reality of your death! You are a dead person! You died with Christ, when He died on the cross 2,000 years ago! You not longer live, except for by the life of Christ within you!
Romans 6 is the revelation of your death, and new life in Christ. No where else in scripture is this point brought home quite as intensely as here. Paul makes it clear: You are dead!
But then.. what about Romans 7?
Romans 7 is used time and time again to preach a dualistic nature. For good reason too. Here’s the prime verse for this controversy:
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Vs. 15 ESV
This verse has been used time and time again in churches all over the world as an excuse to deny the work of Christ and to steal away it’s life giving power by trying to claim that a Christian is still a sinner, who struggles with sin in this life.
But here’s the deal! Reading the bible in context fixes so much bad theology!
First of all, remember what chapters come before this: Romans 5 and 6! Two chapters that paint a beautiful and clear picture of our complete freedom from sin, through our union with the death of Christ on the cross! You can’t take Romans 7 and separate it from Romans 5-6!
Additionally, check out the last verse in Romans 7. After Paul makes all these statements about a dualistic nature, where one part longs to do good, but another part longs to do evil. He finishes this argument with this:
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Vs. 24-25 ESV
Paul is not talking about his present state of existence in Romans 7. He is talking about his past! He used to struggle with a dualistic nature, knowing that the law is good, but being incapable of performing what it asks. However, thanks to Christ, he (and we!) have been set free from that miserable state of existence!
We likewise, thanks to Christ, are free from a dualistic nature. We live with a new nature: Christ’s! We are partakers in His life, and in His nature! (Which includes His holiness, His righteousness, and even His perfection!)
This is Good News! The Gospel doesn’t leave you with a life long struggle with sin. The Gospel is the announcement of your freedom from sin!
The cross was a success! Jesus Christ did it! We are free from the bondage of sin, and we are living in a new existence in Him!
Know that you are no longer a sinner. You are a saint! You are no longer evil. You are righteous! You are no longer dead in your sin. You are living a glorious new existence in Christ Jesus!
Stop trying to naval gaze your way into holiness. Stop trying to look inward, and fix yourself by your own efforts! Jesus is enough to save you from sin. Your efforts are futile! He has made you new, that’s the Gospel! Celebrate it!
Smile, laugh, and sing for joy because Jesus Christ has done it! He has succeeded! We are free!!
“Our joy is unending and wild. The cross of Jesus Christ succeeded; reconciliation is our happy reality.” – Romans 5:11 Stephen D Morrison Translation (SDMT)
So what do you think? Leave your thoughts below!
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