Born again – Part 10
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practise; but what I hate, that I do.” (Rom 7:15).
This is more than the cry of one desperate man— it describes the experience of any Christian struggling against sin or trying to please God by keeping rules and laws without the Spirit’s help. We must never underestimate the power of sin. We must never attempt to fight it in our strength. Satan is a crafty tempter, and we have an amazing ability to make excuses. Instead of trying to overcome sin with human willpower, we must take hold of the tremendous power of Christ that is available to us. This is God’s provision for victory over sin— He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us and give us power. And when we fall, He lovingly reaches out to help us up.
What is sin?
Actions by which humans rebel against God, miss His purpose for their life, and surrender to the power of evil rather than to God. Sin is an attitude of rebellion against God. Sin is universal— we all sin. Since Adam and Eve rebelled against the clear command of God, sin has infected humanity like a dreaded malignancy.
Some passages, such as Ps 51:5 and Eph 2:3, could be interpreted to mean that this sinful nature is inherited. Other passages seem to affirm that sin is due to human choice (Ezek 18:4, 19-20; Rom 1:18-20; 5:12). Humanity both inherits a sinful nature and every person is, indeed, responsible for his/her choice of sin.
Sin was brought into the human race through Adam (Rom 5:12), affects everyone (Rom 5:12), results in divine judgment (Rom 1:18), brings physical and spiritual death (Rom 6:23; Gen 2:17), and can be nullified as a power only by faith in Christ and His redemptive work (Rom 5:8-11; Gal 3:13; Eph 4:20-24; 1 Jn 1:9; Rev 1:5).
The teaching that little infants come into the world guilty and worthy of eternal damnation is not found in Scripture.
Read Rom 7:7-25
“I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” (Rom 7:9)
In verses 7-12, Paul describes the stage of innocence until people reach an “age of accountability” they are “alive” (v9), i.e., without guilt and spiritual accountability, until they volitionally sin against the law of God, written externally or in their hearts (cf 2:14-15; 7:7,9,11)
I was alive…once Paul’s statements that “I was alive” and that “sin…slew me” (v.11) support the view that a child is innocent until he or she wilfully sins against the law of God from the heart (Rom 2:14-15). The teaching that little infants come into the world guilty and worthy of eternal damnation is not found in the Scripture.
Why do we sin?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)
“The heart is deceitful.” The heart is the inner being of a person and includes one’s desires, feeling and thoughts. Above all, it is desperately evil and corrupt. As a result, people turn to selfishness and evil rather than to God’s way of righteousness. The corrupt human heart is beyond cure and cannot be changed by itself. The only remedy is to experience God’s grace, be born again through faith in Christ and receive a new heart—none that hates evil and delights in doing God’s Will (cf. 24:7; Ezek 11:19-20; Mat 5:8).
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