In our struggle to live a holy life, many have become frustrated at their lack of success to the point of giving up the idea altogether. There is some confusion on how to attain holiness. Romans 6 tells us that we are no longer “slaves to sin”, however we still fall short of a holy life. Why is this? How are we to “not let sin reign”? What is our responsibility and what has God provided for us?
Romans 6:11 “In the same way, you should see yourselves as being dead to the power of sin and alive for God through Christ Jesus.” Here we see what God has provided for us: freedom from the power of sin in our lives. When we are joined with Christ, we take on His power to defeat sin. However, we are not free from the temptations to sin. Here is where our part comes in. Romans 6:12-14 “But don’t let sin control your life here on earth. You must not be ruled by the things your sinful self makes you want to do. Don’t offer the parts of your body to serve sin. Don’t use your bodies to do evil, but offer yourselves to God, as people who have died and now live. Offer the parts of your body to God to be used for doing good. Sin will not be your master, because you are not under law. You now live under God’s grace.” We are to constantly be on guard against giving in to sin. We are united with Christ, but we are not removed from the temptation to sin. So to have victory in the war against evil, we must consider ourselves as having died to the old ways we used to live in. Romans 6:18 “You were made free from sin, and now you are slaves to what is right.” Colossians 1:13 “God made us free from the power of darkness. And he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Acts 26:18 “You will make them able to understand the truth. They will turn away from darkness to the light. They will turn away from the power of Satan, and they will turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can be given a place among God’s people—those who have been made holy by believing in me.” We are no longer in bondage to sin. We have taken up a new residence in God’s kingdom.
Picture sin as a realm of darkness. We are no longer living in that place. We reside in the kingdom of light. But our sinful nature is still within us. It still can have power over us to make us obey evil. There is a spiritual war going on that we are not aware of with our earthly eyes. Galatians 5:17 “The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do.”
Also, since we are all born sinners, we have all developed certain sinful habits that are hard to break. We are used to behaving in sinful ways. We need to retrain our minds to follow righteousness. Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught to leave your old self. This means that you must stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self gets worse and worse, because people are fooled by the evil they want to do. You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. Be that new person who was made to be like God, truly good and pleasing to him.”