FREEDOM FROM SIN
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Eagle Point, Or. June 23, 1985)
Justified by faith
Dead - Buried - Raised
Put on Christ
Justified by faith
Life - Alive
From Glory to Glory
The more I learn and understand about the Bible, the more I'm impressed with the central position the cross of Christ has in everything concerning our faith and our life before God. There is not anything with which the Christian has to do in the faith of Christ that the cross does not play the central role; and so with our subject this morning.
There is a famous statement by Jesus in Jno.8:32
"...and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Free from what?
Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, "If you remain in my word, then are you truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered to him, "We are Abraham's seed, and have never yet been in bondage to any man: how do you say, 'You shall be made free?'" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Every one that commits sin is a slave of sin. And the slave does not remain in the house forever: the son remains forever. If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be really free.
There are three major things to which man was in bondage as a slave before Christ came and gave him the truth.
1. Bondage to Sin
2. Bondage to Law
3. Bondage to Death
This morning I'll deal with the first of these "Bondage to Sin" and then cover the others in subsequent lessons.
Is there really a way that I can be free from sin in my life? from the control and damaging influence of sin in my life? What does "Freedom from Sin" mean?
The first thing man needs is a freedom from the condemnation of sin. Man stands condemned to death for his sins.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;"
"...who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them."
"For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This death is a spiritual death. As in Eph.2:1 "dead through your trespasses and sins" Spiritual death is essentially a separation from God, who is Life. The condemnation of the Law keeps man away from God.
The only way that we can come near to God and partake of his life is to have that guilt of sin removed. It is a practical impossibility for man to come before God with the guilt of sin. Even Old Testament men of faith like Isaiah and Daniel, when through a vision they stood before the throne of God - fell flat on their faces and could not get up. What comeliness they thought they had was turned into corruption and filthiness and they were completely undone. If these righteous men acted like that - where would you and I appear?
This is why, by the unmerited favor (grace) of God, he provided a way to remit, or forgive man's sin and relieve his guilt.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Gave i.e. sacrificed him to pay for the sins of mankind.
** John the Immerser cried "Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." (Jno.1:29)
** Jesus said that he came to give his life a ransom for many (Mat.20:28)
** Jesus said that his blood was being shed for the remission of sins. (Mat.26:28)
** John said that "...he is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
** When Paul preached the Gospel, the first thing he presented was "that Jesus died for our sins, according to
the scriptures" (1Cor.15:3)
I have heard many times that the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But that is not entirely accurate. The gospel, the "good news" is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of God, glorified. We need to make sure we put the proper emphasis on the sacrificial character of the gospel of Christ and that he is now living in glory.
This sacrifice was given on the behalf of anybody who wants to come to God. By trusting in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can have freedom from guilt, freedom from the condemnation of the judicial wrath of God on sin.
If we have faith in Christ we can be forgiven and declared "not guilty". That is what justification by faith is all about. That when we trust in Christ, God forgives our sins and he takes our faith and accounts it to us as righteousness and declares us, Not guilty - justified. Justified by faith.
But now apart from law, a righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to demonstrate his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins previously committed, in the forbearance of God; for the demonstration, I say, of his righteousness at this present time: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that has faith in Jesus.
Anyone today who desires to be right with God, to know him as his Father and to live before him free of guilt and the condemnation of sin, can put their trust in Jesus Christ, repent from their live of sin and be immersed into Christ, washing - their - sins - away.
All of us who are Christians have done just that, and we trusted in the blood of Christ, and we experienced that heavy load of guilt being lifted off from us.
But all that happened in the past. What is our condition now before God?
But how? By works of merit? Am I right before God because I attend every service; because I lead in prayer; because I give faithfully as God has prospered me? Am I right before God because I give to the poor and teach my neighbor the truth? Or are these an indication that my faith in Christ is yet alive? These things come from faith.
James said, "Show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works."
How am I still justified? Even if I could know everything and do every good deed there is to be done, that still is not the basis upon which Christ saved me. We are not right before God on the basis of how much we can do or how much we can understand. We are right before God on the basis of our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, trusting in Christ and his sacrifice for me, for my right standing before God.
We were justified by faith in Christ when we obeyed the gospel, without earning it and without deserving it. Now, we are still justified by faith in Christ, without earning and without deserving it.
When Jesus makes us free from sin, first, he frees us from the condemnation of sin. Declared not guilty, by faith.
Next, Jesus frees us from the Dominion of sin. We have been dealing with justification, now we will deal with sanctification.
Many people are painfully aware of the dominion of sin in their lives. When they are offered the invitation of the gospel, they will realize their inability to stop sinning.
"What? Me, holy ?!" "No, I couldn't live as a Christian, I'm too wicked, so there is no sense in trying."
What is the answer to that? In freeing me from sin, can Jesus free me from the dominion of sin?
*** We read where Jesus said, "whosoever practices sin is a slave of sin."
*** Look at what Paul says in
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."
It is a picture of a man without faith in Christ. He is carnal (fleshly) sold under sin. Paul pictures himself as a slave bought for money. The salesman is his flesh and the buyer is sin. The flesh here is your human nature, all that makes you a citizen of the world. It is as if a deadly contract were cut where the passions and the violence of the flesh have given over our will to the power of Sin. We are no longer masters of our own house or course of action. There is a tyrant called Sin ruling (having dominion) over us and we are weakly unable, and powerless to change ourselves.
Before we are born of the Spirit, we are only carnal and our will, even thought we may want to do what is right, our will is enslaved to ultimately do what is wrong. And so sin is holding us in bondage to alienation from God and in death. (that is the sum of what Paul says in Romans 7)
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law (principle) in my members, warring against the law (rule) of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law (dominion) of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law (dominion) of sin.
But then when we became Christians, we were made free from Sin. We were born again (Jno.3), we were born of the water and of the Spirit. By faith, repentance and immersion in water for the remission of our sins, we became children of God and were made alive spiritually.
And you did he make alive, when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:-- but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together along with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up along with him, and made us to sit along with him in the heavenly realm, in Christ Jesus:
Several things happened when we obeyed the gospel.
1. Our sins were forgiven.
And Peter said unto them, Repent you, and be immersed every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
2. We were made sons of God.
For you are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were immersed into Christ, did put on Christ.
3. The Holy Spirit was sent into our hearts.
And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? and you are not your own; for you were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
4. We were made alive (quickened) to a new spiritual life by the Spirit of God.
And you did he make alive, when you were dead through your trespasses and sins,
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Paul makes the point in 2Cor.3:6 that the covenant that he ministered was not of the letter which kills, but of the Spirit which gives life - or makes alive. Which is indicative of the living principle of the Spirit by which we now serve God. (Phil.3:3) "...for we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh:"
5. Our old man, our corrupt fleshy ego and will, is crucified with Jesus and the body (as it was given to sin) is put out of commission. Sin's power of dominion is broken once for all. We are dead to sin, and from our burial in the grave of immersion we are raised to walk in a new life.
Since all of this happened, we do not have to serve sin any longer. We are set free to a new spiritual life, like the one Jesus is living now, after he rose from the grave. Our old man of sin was crucified and we were raised from death.
But all this happened in the past when we obeyed the gospel. What is our condition now? This is what Paul deals with in Rom.6:1-10 (This passage is usually put forward as proving the mode of baptism. They missed the point)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? May it not be. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live in it? Or are you ignorant that all we who were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into his death? We were buried therefore with him through immersion into death: so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that has died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has dominion over him no more. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God.
He is talking about how we should live in light of what happened on the cross. That since we died along with Jesus then we surely must also live along with him. We are united to him in Life, just as we were united to him in Death.
But faith is the key ingredient in everything we have looked at. Not only does faith appropriate the justification supplied to us in Christ ("through faith in his blood"), but also faith appropriates sanctification to us when we have faith in the burial and the power of his resurrection.
So also you, account yourselves to be really dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.
What Paul is saying is that Sin's power as a matter of fact has already been broken in the life of the Christian - but we need to account that to ourselves and really believe it. We see Jesus conquering sin and death and living a powerful new life in the spirit - account that to ourselves too.
1Jno.4:17 "because as he is, even so are we in this world."
Account yourselves. Paul is saying, that what you see in the risen and glorified Christ, mark it down as yours also, when you view your own case.
There is a death that we die with Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, I was crucified.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
To be crucified with Christ unto the world is to stop living in the world.
If you died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances,
We do not live in the world anymore. We do not have to walk according to the course of the world anymore. (Eph.2:2) The Christian is commanded to come our of the world.
"Therefore come you out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord,
And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father,
And you shall be to me sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
But how do you come out of the world? The space shuttle?
The only way out of the world is to die. We die to it.
When we by faith put ourselves upon the cross and die with Jesus and go with him into the grave, we leave the world and its lusts and pride and appeal behind. To have the victory over sin and over the world, we live crucified - dead to the old me, dead to the former lusts in my ignorance, dead to the course of this world, dead to my own strength, dead to my own conceited wisdom.
When face with temptation, we can reckon to ourselves who we are in Christ and take our position on the cross with him and choose death to that sin.
When we choose death with Christ, a whole new world of freedom and spiritual strength will open up to us - because Jesus will begin living his life in and through us.
Paul said, "he that is dead is freed from sin" (Rom.6:7)
But there is a Life that we live also.
So also you, account yourselves to be really dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus
We are alive unto God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law [dominion] of sin and of death.
Instead of the rule of sin governing our actions and behavior, we now have a new principle of live, through the Spirit of God that governs our course. We can now be spiritually minded and live and walk in the spirit which makes us free from Sin's enslavement.
We are not in the flesh anymore. As Paul says in:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
You do not have to listen to the dictates of your flesh - you do not owe the flesh anything. You have the freedom of choice now. Who we are in Christ and the life that has been given to us in Christ must govern our behavior now. We can put on the new man and live the life that we have in Christ and walk as children of God.
If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For you died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, shall be manifested, then shall you also with him be manifested in glory. Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things' sake comes the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience: wherein you also once walked, when you lived in these things; but now do you also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: lie not one to another; seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.
We are freed from the dominion of sin. But to enjoy that as a reality in our lives, we must by faith accept Christ's death from the world and to sin as our own death.
Have you died with Christ?
We must also accept Christ's new powerful spiritual life as our own. Jesus told his disciples, "Because I live, you shall live also."
Is Christ your life? Like Paul, does he live in you?
But thanks be unto God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and makes manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. For we are a sweet aroma of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one an aroma from death unto death; to the other an aroma from life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as the many, peddling the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.
The third thing that Jesus freeing us from sin does, is that he frees us from the Effects of sin.
Sin corrupts and destroy and blinds and kills. But in the safety and grace of Christ, our inner selves are renewed day by day. (2Cor.4:16)
Being free from sin we have our fruit or product that leads to holiness and the end goal is everlasting life. (Rom.6:22)
Having obeyed the gospel we became Christ-ians - those who follow, those who act like Christ. We put on Christ. But this is a growing process. God is doing something with us.
Peter says in (2Pet.1:3-4) that while having escaped the corruption in the world through lust - we become partakers of the divine nature. The writer of Hebrews says that God is bring many sons unto glory. (Heb.2:10)
Paul says in:
For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
That is what is going on now. The Christian grows into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Moses went and talked to God face to face. When he came back down and spoke the Law of God to the people, his face shone. In the Hebrew his face was spiked or "horned", referring to the points of light radiating from his head. (That is why Michelangelo's carving of Moses has horns on its head - he misunderstood).
I picture myself on the back row of that great assembly of Israel listening to Moses. Look, way down there at the front - a man with a star on his shoulders and his voice is telling me what God has said.
What an image! What an impressive sight!
The people then, did not understand (nor do they now) that, that was a physical anti-type or representation of what would one day happen to the Christian in the spirit.
Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, so that the sons of Israel could not gaze intently on the end goal of that which was being done away: but their minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the Old Covenant, it is not unveiled, that in Christ it is being done away. But unto this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their heart. But whenever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.
From glory to glory. This is the end result to which God is bringing us - to share the image and the glory of Christ our maker.
Little do we realize the unspeakable gift that God gave when Jesus bought us out of the slavery of sin - with his own blood.
1. We can be free from the condemnation of sin - declared not guilty.
2. We can be free from the dominion of sin - so we can have the victory over the flesh.|
3. We can be free from the effects of sin - the cancerous and corrupting damage that is does. That can be completely turned around and we can grow into the holy image of the face and of the character of Jesus Christ himself, the pure and spotless image of the everlasting God.
Jesus said that the slave will not always remain in God's house - but if the Son makes you free, you will be really free and remain in his house forever.
Isn't that what you want?
~ Invitation ~