If Christ died for my sin so that I could be declared righteous why do I still sin?
I have heard this question asked by Christians and there never seemed to be an answer that quite hit the mark. This subject is tackled in Romans 7 and it comes as a relief to many of to know that the great apostle Paul who spread the gospel to the Gentile world, planted churches, groomed leaders and wrote a large chunk of the New Testament was human and flawed just like the rest of us.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do … when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Taken from Romans 7: 15-24)
Surely if Christ died to take away my sin, I shouldn’t sin any more. It is certainly true that when someone becomes a Christian they become different – they are a ‘new creation’ as 2 Cor 5:17 puts it. We have a new ‘want to’. When we do sin, we don’t do it comfortably, but why do we do it at all?
I recently heard an analogy given by John Bevere whose teaching I really love. This helped me understand this whole idea much better. He said that an unbeliever can be compared to a country who is ruled by an evil leader, but when they become a Christian it’s as though a good king came overthrew the evil ruler and established a new kingdom. However there are still fortresses in the kingdom owned by the former king. It is our job to enforce the law of the new king and overthrow these strongholds.
Think of Germany after the 2nd world war. During the Nazi period Hitler was in charge and there was nothing that anyone could do because they made the law of the land. Once Hitler was defeated in 1945 and the allied forces took control, then everything changed because he was no longer in charge. Imagine, though, if there had still been pockets of resistance in Germany that were still loyal to Nazism? They were still in operation, but now they were there illegally. Then those who were in charge now have the authority to arrest them and put them in prison.
Satan operates in our lives illegally because he has no business being there! We, as believers in Christ, have been given God’s power and authority to remove Satan from working in our lives.
Those the Son has set free are free indeed (John 8:36)