Saved from the Power of Sin
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have tremendous blessings that the world does not understand.
Last week we looked at the account of a Philippian jailer, who came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. When an earthquake caused all the doors of the jail to spring open, and all the chains fell off the prisoners, the jailer thought his life was over. He fell trembling before Paul and Silas and asked, "What must I do to be saved?"
What does it mean to be saved? What are we talking about when we talk about salvation? According to Google, the English word salvation means, "preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss."
When we as Christians speak about salvation, this meaning of the word is certainly part of what we are talking about. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and according to Romans 6:23, the consequence of this sin is death. Our deliverance from this ruin or loss is called salvation.
However, there is much more to salvation than this simple explanation covers. I like the explanation that we are saved from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and when we get to heaven, we will be saved from the presence of sin.
Today we are looking at Romans 8:9-17. In this passage, the apostle Paul explains some of what it means to be saved from the power of sin. It shows us some of the tremendous riches that we enjoy through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first blessing we enjoy is that the Spirit of Christ lives in us. Romans 9:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you."
This truth is a source of hope, comfort and power.
First, Hope. Verse 9 says, "But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you." Being controlled by the Spirit does not mean that we do not sin anymore. Romans chapter 7 explains how there remains a struggle with the flesh. 1 John 1:8 is clear that if we say we no longer sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. However, Romans 8:12 tells us that we have no obligation to do what our sinful nature urges us to do. We know from John chapter 16 that the work of the Holy Spirit is involved in the conviction of sin. John 16:8 tells us, "And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment." In our lives as Christians, we experience this ministry of the Holy Spirit as he convicts us of our sin. A sign of the Holy Spirit's work is a consistent life of conviction and repentance. I am not talking about some sort of neurosis where we feel globally responsible for all that is wrong around us. Rather, there is a continual growth towards holiness as we are progressively freed from the power of sin.
The Spirit of God living within us is also a source of power. Romans 8:10 says, "And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God." This points to the fact that we will be raised from the dead, but it is not limited to this meaning. Ephesians 2: 4-5 says, "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead."
He gave us life.
We were dead in trespasses and sins, but he gave us life.
This new spiritual life shows itself in our ability to discern spiritual truth. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means."
This hope and power resulting from the Spirit of God living within us is also a great source of comfort. In John 16, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Romans 8:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
“He will give life to your mortal bodies.”
We have this treasure, God's Holy Spirit, living within us. The apostle Paul expresses it this way, "We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) This great truth of the hope and power living within us gives us the confidence that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.
This truth of the Spirit of God living within us is part of our salvation.
If we do not have the Spirit of God, we are not saved. Romans 8:9 tells us that if we do not have the Spirit of God we are not his. However, when we have the Spirit of God, we are children of God. This is the second great treasure that is part of our salvation that I want to look at today. Romans 8:14 says, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."
The fact that we are children of God is a great source of freedom.
We have already mentioned verse 12 where it says, "You have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do." Romans 6 explains that at one time we were slaves to sin. Romans 8:13 says, "For if you live by its dictates…” “Living by its dictates” implies slavery. The natural man without the Spirit of God has no choice. Before we were children of God, we were slaves to sin. We were subject to the desires of our flesh. Rebelling, fighting or revolting is of no use against the sinful nature. There is only one source of freedom from this slavery, and that is salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. It comes as a result of being made children of God by the power of the Holy Spirit living within.
Romans 8:13 says, "For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live."
We are free to choose life.
We are set free from the deeds of the sinful nature. However, this verse says, "If through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature." Not one of us lives without sin. Therefore, what is it talking about when it says we are to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature?
Although we have no obligation to live according to the flesh, we still can choose to live according to the flesh. The Spirit of God gives us the power to put aside sin, but it takes our determination, our will, our strength to choose to live godly in Christ Jesus. This strength, determination and will power do not come from ourselves they are a gift of the Holy Spirit. Through faith, we rely completely on the Holy Spirit, but we strive to work out our salvation with all the strength God gives us. We love God with all our heart, soul and strength. We present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. We yield to the Holy Spirit, and seek to live in obedience to him. We have the freedom to do this because we belong to him.
We are no longer slaves.
This leads us to the third treasure that is ours because of salvation. "Together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory." This truth is a source of great confidence.
When we were slaves to sin, we were controlled by a spirit of great fear. The god of this world, Satan, the enemy of our souls, held us captive to the fear of death and subject to the weak passions of our mortal bodies. However, Romans 8:15 tells us that God adopted us as his own children.
We are not slaves.
We are his children, and as his children, we are his heirs.
Romans 8:15 also says that we now call him "Abba, Father." Psalm 25:4 says, "The LORD is a friend to those who fear him." Proverbs 3:32 says, “He offers his friendship to the godly.” That we should have such an intimate relationship with God is truly our greatest treasure. I love what Romans 8:31 says. "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"
This then is the confidence that we have because of our salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. "His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children." Ephesians 1:14 says, "The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people." God’s Spirit gives us confidence that we are saved. God’s Spirit gives us confidence that we are God's children. Do you experience the conviction of sin? Do you love the Word of God and feel nourished and encouraged by it? Do you desire to please God? Not one of these things is possible without the Spirit of God.
It is possible to fool people. In Matthew 7:15, Jesus says, "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves."
In Galatians 2:4, we have an account of false brothers sneaking into a body of believers. That passage says, "Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there--false ones, really--who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus."
Because of these wolves in sheep's clothing, we must be vigilant. We have been given a great treasure that was purchased with the blood of Christ, a price beyond measure. There is a battle raging for souls. Our enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. False doctrines and bending of the truth are evidence of his working. This is why the Bible commands us to work hard to show ourselves approved unto God a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) 1 John 4:3 says, “But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.”
This is my caution in regards to the confidence we have as believers. Any teaching or spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God is not of God. Here is a summary of what we believe about Jesus:
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
It is faith in this person, Jesus Christ, that gives us salvation. The hope, power, comfort, freedom and confidence that we have are all part of the great treasure we have received in salvation.
Do you have the Spirit of God living within you?
Make sure of this today.
[i] Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Steam, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.