You hear Christ’s words quoted all the time: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” But free from what exactly? People rarely go on and finish the quote. Christ did not stop expounding after that thought in John 8: 32.
The Pharisees retorted, We have never been in bondage to any man.
Then Christ spelled it out which bondage the truth would free a man from. “Whover commits sin is a slave of sin” (v. 34 NKJV). A slave of sin. If a man is committing sin, he is sin’s slave. He is bound to do sin’s bidding. These are heavy words.
Sin is a harsh slavemaster to the natural unregenerated man, which is old man Adam, the nature we inherited when we were born into our earthly existence. Without Christ’s Spirit coming into our hearts, mankind is prey to every whim of sin that the devil, the prince of the air, wants us to do.
Sin Is the Transgression of the Law
So just who is this slavemaster that Christ called Sin? Sin is a spiritual state of a human being that breaks the ten commandment law of God. And it is these ten laws that the evil one entices lost man to break. Lying, stealing and cheating, committing adultery, murder, having other gods before the One True God, idolizing anything or anyone–these are just some of the sins that man not only does but is in slavery to.
Sin enslaves people; it has them to a point that the sinner can’t fight it. The little demonic voice says, Take it, and the body obeys as the hand snatches something just that fast. The voice whispers, Go ahead and take her; your wife won’t find out.
Paul the apsotle described this bondage to sin. Describing that time in the past when he was a slave to sin, he wrote, “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature…” (Rom. 7: 5 NIV). The rest of the chapter describes how sin enslaves a person. Paul makes this experience immediate for his readers by shifting it into the present tense. This is a literary technique used by writers for centuries.
Yet, sadly, most preachers erroneously teach that Paul was a sinner and was a slave to sin. How utterly preposterous and ignorant these preachers are! Do they really know what they are saying? They are saying that Paul raised the dead and healed the sick one day and then lusted after another man’s wife the next; That he “spoke with the tongues of men and angels” and preached the everlasting gospel, and was transported to the third heaven one day, and then was capable of having other gods before Him the next? Please. It is impossible, for Christ settled the issue with this statement: “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit…By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7: 18, 20). Trust me. Paul was a good tree.
I pray that God will be merciful to these ignorant teachers, for I know that He has intense grief and misery in store for them that do not repent: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…” (Isa. 5: 20).
In Romans 7 Paul was making it immediate for his readers. “When we were in the flesh (the sinful nature)”–the “flesh” here in the KJV being the old sinful nature, not Paul’s earthly body.
When he had the old nature before his incredible conversion on the road to Damascus, he was a slave to sinning, doing things that broke the ten commandment law. In fact, he said that the bad things that he did not want to do, he did, and the good things he wanted to do, he could not do (Rom. 7: 19).
Who Will Deliver Me?
Recreating this lost state, Paul finally cries out to God. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (7: 24). Thus Paul completes the scene of this misery in a lost man’s life and gives the answer. It is the Lord through His sacrifice of Himself and His Resurrection.
We are freed from this slavery to sin when we submit to our own crucifixion of our sinful self. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Rom. 6: 6). The crucifixion with Christ, “who was made to be sin for us,” puts an end to the slavery to commit sin! We are free! “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (6: 7).
How do you actually do this? What’s the secret in walking in this? How do you conquer sin in your life? You’ve got to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6: 11). Reckon it so. Reckon it done. Count it as such. We might as well do it, for God has already done this. He has reckoned it done in our lives. He is just waiting with great patience for us to come on board. He is waiting on us to “get it.”
This is the truth! And you shall know this truth about getting rid of the old sinful nature, and it shall make you free from sin in your life!
What’s next? What comes after our deliverance from sin and sinning? “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (6: 18). We are enslaved now to another Master; we are now “slaves of God.”
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
[Some are saying to me right now, You keep talking about this sin question all the time. Yes, and I will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith, until His elect reach full maturity. For I know that we cannot come to spiritual maturity (perfection) until we get this foundation right: repentance of sin that brings physical death and faith toward God who delivers us from sin. I would like your thought and comments on this. KWH]