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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Total Destruction, #2
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12—NIV)
If we have interpreted Paul correctly, he is claiming that through Christ we have the upper hand over sin. The above verse reinforces this idea.
Our old nature, including our body, is on the cross with Christ. It is dead because of the sin that is in it. Because of this we owe it nothing that we should yield to its demands that we break God's laws.
When we follow the Spirit of God He leads us to put to death the sinful practices of our flesh and soul. By putting them to death I mean we pray and serve the Lord until we no longer are yielding to that which is sinful. We no longer are slaves to sin.
I am not speaking now of some instantaneous experience in which we no longer sin. I am speaking of daily victory in the daily struggle. It never is the will of God that a Christian walk in known sin. When we are so bound we cannot stop sinning we must come to the elders of the church and ask them to lay hands on us and pray a prayer of release from the particular sin.
You may be surprised to discover when you make up your mind you are not going to yield to a particular sin, denouncing and renouncing it with all the vigor you possess, you most likely will be set free from it.
If you keep falling back, even after the elders lay hands on you, it is possible you never have presented your body a living sacrifice to God. You never have denied yourself, taken up your cross, and followed Jesus. You are not meeting on a regular basis with fervent Christians. You are not reading your Bible each day and spending time in waiting on the Lord in prayer.
If you are not living as a disciple there may be areas in your life that will refuse to yield to the prayer for deliverance. Deliverance from bondage is a reward for serving the Lord. It is not the result of the practice of some sort of religious magic or exorcism.
Take up your cross, set out after Jesus with all that is in you, live as a true Christian disciple, and I think you will find you are overcoming your moral bondages.
It is not very difficult to live the victorious Christian life once you make up your mind you are going to serve Jesus. It often is true (although not always) that we have the problems we do because we are not serving the Lord with a perfect heart.
We understand, therefore, that the expressions "anyone who has died has been freed from sin," and "therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it," are of the greatest significance. They are profoundly significant because they are telling us that we cannot be compelled to sin after we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior.
To be continued.