Your New Christian Life: Three Truths for Breaking the Bondage of Sin (Part 1)

Each Christian knows how challenging it can be to overcome sin. We know that the Bible directs us to “sin not” and obey the Lord (I John 2:1). However, does the Bible teach us how to obey? God’s desire for each Christian is to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), that is, live a life that is lived apart from sinful habits. So, what is holding us back? Let’s consider this story that I heard about something interesting that happened at a corporate office.

“One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a large notice on the door on which was written, “Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym.”

In the beginning, many were sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they became curious to know the identity of the one that had hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself.

Everyone thought: Who is this guy who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!

One by one the employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. Inside the coffin, there was a mirror. Everyone who looked inside it could see himself.

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said, “There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: IT IS YOU.”

How true that is. Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your spouse changes, when you change your spouse, when your company changes, when your church changes, when your location changes, when your money changes, when your status changes . . . Your life changes when YOU change. The only way you can experience change is when you increase your fellowship with the Lord and eliminate your fellowship with sin.

Chapter 6 of the book of Romans tells us how we can overcome any sin, any time, in any circumstance! Today can be the first day of your new Christian life.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:1-4

There are three key action words that you must heed in order to no longer continue in sin! Those three key truths are know, reckon, and yield.

If you are going to walk in newness of life, there are some things you must KNOW.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. – Romans 6:6

“Knowing” is the on-going acquisition of knowledge based on practice. It isn’t simply academic or intellectual; it is based on a personal experience. It’s like a man in a dark room that holds a lantern so he can see. The man knows he needs the lantern because walking in the dark is dangerous. The specific knowledge we must have, according to this verse, is that the “old man” has been crucified. The “old man” is a reference to a corrupt sinner whose deeds reflect a sinful and ungodly lifestyle. According to Ephesians 4:22 the old man is corrupt because of deceitful lusts those objects of our sinful affection that lead us away from God. All people experience this type of corruption due to our sinful nature (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3). Simply put, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and until you decide to confess your sins to the Lord Jesus Christ you are not forgiven of your sins (I John 1:7-9). This sinful man must be “crucified with Christ.” The Lord Jesus Christ became our substitute when He became sin for us (II Corinthians 5:12). He died in your place so that you would be delivered from the penalty of sin (spiritual death – Romans 6:23) and from the power of sin (Romans 6:6). Accepting His substitutionary death by repenting of your sins and trusting Him for forgiveness, you can be born again (Acts 20:21, Romans 10:10, John 3:3). When you are born again, you become a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17), and God causes all the old things to pass away and causes all things to become new. You receive a new nature through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), and you become empowered to live a triumphant Christian life that is pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 1:10).

If you are struggling in your Christian life, the problem could be that you’ve never been born again.

If you have the assurance that you have been born again, the problem could be that you have run back to or developed ungodly habits that are more reflective of the “old man” than the “new creature.”

The word for “old” is a term used in Greek to describe a garment that was stained or spoiled. It makes a powerful illustration of unbelievers and carnal Christians: the stain of worldly sins has made you dirty, but the Lord desires to wash you clean from your sin (I John 1:9).

Many Christians will say, “The Christian life is just too hard to live.” Whether you are saved or not, life is challenging. Christians face the same problems that non-believers face: cancer, job loss, financial restraints, angry bosses, hurtful people, discouragement – just to name a few. Many Christians become crushed by these problems because they never CHOOSE to realize the power of God that can destroy these struggles. It is possible for the “body of sin” to be “destroyed,” but the phrasing indicates that this destruction is contingent upon a decision – YOUR DECISION. The power of sin “might” be destroyed. If that choice were solely up to God, it is evident that He would choose for sin to cease (Romans 6:1; I John 2:1). However, God leaves the choice up to us. Like the Apostle Paul, we must choose to say, “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” (Galatians 2:20) . You must cause sin to cease, to pass away, to be done away, to be severed, and to terminate; all interaction with sin must come to a screeching halt! As our verse states, you must “no longer serve sin.” Stated directly, if you are serving sin, you are not serving God (Romans 6:16).

What stops us from making the right decision to stop serving sin? Sin is very appealing, and we each have our own unique “lust” (desire) that tempts us to depart from God (James 1:14-15). Picture it this way: Jesus Christ is the vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5). When we abide in Him, we bring forth godly fruit; when we stray from Him, we lose our connection to godliness and do things contrary to the Lord’s will.

What can detach us from the vine? To continue the illustration, the detachment comes from “little foxes.” I know what you’re thinking – what on earth does that mean? In the Song of Solomon, the illustration of little foxes is used to picture the effects of sin. The little foxes spoil the vine which means they destroy or ruin the vine. The same is true of sin: even sins that we think are insignificant can lead to destruction in our lives. The wise and prudent gardener will ensure that his vines are protected against the fiendish foxes; the foolish gardener will pay no attention and will end up with a ruined vine. Similarly, the Christian who pays no attention to protecting their spiritual life will depart from God and serve sin instead (Proverbs 4:23; Romans 6:16). What fruit of godliness can result from those ungodly things? Nothing. In fact, only shame will result (Romans 6:21).

Why must I abide in this knowledge that the “old man” is crucified? Because if you aren’t living for God then you’re living for sin. We are often alive to sin but dead to God. If you are dead to sin because of the new birth, then how shall you live any longer in habitual sin? To live in sin means that you spiritually yield yourself to sinful habits and practices. Why do we yield our lives, pass life away on the unfruitful works of darkness? Why do we allow our life to become conformed to this dark image of sin? What possible good can come out of such sinful conduct? The answer, of course, is that no good will result from sin. We must be dead to sin. We must be separated from its power. If you keep an abiding knowledge that your sins have been crucified by His death, then you will become completely estranged from your old corrupt lifestyle.

Have you ever been to a funeral?  If you have, you understand that it is a special time to say good-bye to a loved one.  While those who are living have the opportunity to express their sincere feelings to or about that person, the sad thing is that the one who has died cannot respond in any way.  The person who is deceased is incapable of responding.  Just like a person who has died, the Lord wants you to be dead to sin.  The key concept for breaking the bondage of sin is that you must no longer respond to sin.  When it calls to you, you must remain still.  When it appeals to you, you must abstain.  When sin threatens you, you must pay it no attention.  If you are dead to sin then you are one who no longer responds to sin.  Yet, this response is always a choice.  The habitual sins of your life might be destroyed IF and WHEN you make the choice to become dead to sin.

Will you choose to let Christ live in you that you might be freed from the power of sin? This teaching targets your desires. The will of God is clear: that we no longer serve sin. Don’t you want to be freed from sinful habits (Romans 6:7)? What is your answer to Paul’s question – Shall we continue in sin? Like Paul, I hope you will say, “God forbid.”

I challenge you to identify the sinful habits you’ve developed and make a commitment to specifically overcoming them.  Today, choose to confess and forsake your sin (Proverbs 28:13).  If you do, you’ll be on your way to breaking the bondage of sin and living a victorious Christian life!

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6 thoughts on “Your New Christian Life: Three Truths for Breaking the Bondage of Sin (Part 1)

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