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I would like to examine 3 different ways in which we can experience freedom from sin: 1) Freedom from the penalty of sin 2) Freedom from the power of sin 3 Freedom from the presence of sin Freedom from the penalty of sin As Psalm 51:5 says, every person is born in sin. This is called original sin, a fatal disease passed down from Adam & Eve. It is also referred to as our sinful human nature which enslaves us to sin (Tit 3:3) and afflicts everyone for all have sinned (Romans 3:23). The consequences of this sinful nature is both physical death and eternal punishment in hell (Rom 6:23). But the good news is that Jesus Christ became a human being, lived a perfect life, suffered and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin (Rom 5:8). Whenever a person hears this gospel message and chooses, as an act of the will, to believe then they are saved (Acts 16:30-32). At this moment of salvation several things happen in the spiritual world: 1) All our sins are forgiven - past, present and future (Acts 10:43), 2) our sinful human nature is crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6), 3) the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and breathes life into our divine nature (Acts 2:38-39). Because of this new nature our first inclination is to do what pleases God (2Cor 5:17). As Christians we can know total freedom from the penalty of sin. This is attested to by the peace of God in our hearts. Freedom from the power of sin Even though our sinful nature is gone, sin can still have power over us because of our flesh (Rom 8:5-13). Our flesh consists of the passionate desi res of our heart and the corrupt thought patterns of our minds that developed while our sinful nature was in control. That is why it is so important that children come to faith at a young age so there is not so much cleanup work to do. We destroy the power of this flesh by choosing to walk with the Holy Spirit every day. This is the process of sanctification which lasts an entire life time. As Christians we can experience partial freedom from the power of sin and this freedom will grow over time as we choose more and more to live holy lives. It is important as Christians that whenever we are aware of sin in our lives that we confess it to our Heavenly Father and to others if our sin has caused them harm. God promises to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). Confession is vital because it brings our sin into the light. Whenever evil is exposed it loses its power over us. Cleansing is vital also because it keeps our relationships, with God and others, both pure and holy. Freedom from the presence of sin There are at least 3 ways that sin is present in our lives: 1) the sins we commit against God or others 2) the sins committed against us by others 3) the sins committed in the world around us which affect us in some way, such as from wounded emotions, disturbing thoughts, etc The first 2 types of sin are dealt with through confession, cleansing and reconciliation. Hopefully our relationships with other Christians will be fully restored. However, our relationships with non believers may not always be restored if they won't admit to any wrongdoing. Our exposure to the presence of sin in the world around us is largely dependant on how we choose to spend our time and what we will allow to impact our thoughts and feelings. If we have close personal relationships with non believers and spend lots of time with them, it is inevitable we will pick up some of their sinful habits. If we spend many hours each day watching the mass media, it is inevitable that we will become fearful, worry about the future, and get angry with our politicians. Philippians 4:8 gives us good instructions to protect our minds and Col 3:12-14 gives us good advice that will protect the emotions of our heart. We need to look to the family of God for our deep personal friendships to limit the presence of sin in our lives. Seek all the freedom from sin that you can during this lifetime.
My understanding of being free from sin is that in the eyes of God we have been justified and made righteous because of the ultimate sin atoning sacrifice by Jesus...1 John 2:2, Rom 5:19, 1 Pet 3:18. This was done once and for all time, Heb 7:27. All of our sins were forgiven, the sins we committed before we believed and any "trespasses" we may commit thereafter. Sin no longer has a hold on us, Rom 6:14, therefore we have been freed from sin. We also have to see that because Christians are not under the law, sin can no longer be charged against us, Rom 5:13...i.e. you can't get a speeding ticket where there is no speed limit. Also John wrote, "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God" 1John 3:9 NKJV. Anyone born again belongs to God and can not sin. Those that continue to sin belong to the devil...1 John 3:8. Born again Christians don't sin because God/Holy Spirit is in us. Now of course while we are in the flesh we may commit "trespasses", but they do not make us unrighteous in the eyes of God. When John writes that we CAN NOT "SIN", he is speaking of the Greek term for sin "harmartia", the type of sin that condemns us. An example of another term that is also referred as "sin" is found in, Gal 6:1 NKJV Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any TRESPASS, you who [are] spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. The word trespass is translated from the Greek word "paraptoma" Which means, "to fall beside or near something, a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness, a misdeed". This type of sin/trespass/transgression does not condemn us. God knew we would commit them while still in the flesh and they were also atoned for by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. So having ALL of our sins forgiven, not having sin charged against us, not being able to sin and having the truth (John 8:32) truly FREES us from being condemned for our sins! All glory and praise to God!
To illustrate my answer I will use two worldly examples. The Bible tells us "the wages of sin is death"., which means because we have sinned we are living with a death sentence hanging over us. To be free from sin would then mean to have that judgement revoked. In our world then, it would be like a presidential or governor's pardon has been issued on our behalf and that sentence revoked! Jesus would be to us the attorney who advocated and won the pardon on our behalf from God the Father. He would also be our redeemer who paid all the cost of the process. The other simile would be like being a slave in our nation's past where sin would be like the plantation owner who owned slaves. Sin, the plantation owner, owned us, the slaves. Sometimes the slaves would be sold to a new owner and the new owner would set the slaves free. The new owner who paid the price for the slave could do as he wished with them. When we are freed from sin, Jesus is our new owner who paid our price to sin and then set us free.
We are only free from the penalty of sin, not our sin nature. Sin has no more power over us to send us to hell. Christ died for our sins. He paid the penalty for all our sin debt forever, and gave us His perfect righteousness. Romans 4:4-8 Salvation is now a free gift from God as He paid the penalty for all sin, so that any one who would believe it would be saved. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Since Jesus paid our sin debt in full, we can no longer be condemned. John 3:18. Of course, this brings up a question. Can we sin all we want and still go to heaven? Yes. Because our sin debt is paid in full. But along with the free gift comes the chastening of the Lord. First Corinthians 5:5 Turn such a one over to Satan to kill the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. This born again believer, Ephesians 1:13 was sleeping with his fathers wife. He was about to lose his life, and the rewards he could have had in heaven, but the man was still saved so as by fire. First Corinthians 3:15. After we have received the free gift of eternal life by believing John 6:40 or John 3:16 or John 6:29 or a host of other verses that tell us how to be saved, our rewards or lack of rewards are based on how we live and what we do. We could never do anything to save us. That is why Jesus had to die. If we could do one thing that would save us, then Jesus died in vain.
My opinion is that to be free from sin is recognize our sins, repent of them, and be free to serve the Lord without interruptions. Basically, that's what says the Bible: And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day. ” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel. (Judges 10:15 - 10:16 ESV)
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