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  • Writer's pictureVic Bernales

No Longer Slave To Sin

Sin is an enemy. A deceitful enemy. It is our old master that dwells in us. It wages war against us by enticing and luring us to satisfy our base and evil desires (James 1:14, 15). Even as Christians, we are not delivered from the presence of sin in our lives. We daily battle against it. It tempts us to be idolatrous, greedy, proud, anxious, sexually immoral, a liar, etc.

However, as Christians, are we still slaves to sin? No! Christ has set us free from its power and dominion. Sin is no longer our master! But are we still capable of sinning? Definitely. God has not removed our ability to sin when He saved us from its power and penalty.

But in Christ, and by the Spirit's power, God gave us the ability to overcome sin and to say "No!" to it (Titus 2:11, 12). So we are able to overcome sin in our lives by the grace of God.

This is an important truth that I've learned in life. I am aware of my daily battle against sin and temptation. I am painfully aware of my many failures in this conflict. I am constantly accused by my conscience when I yield to temptation. If not for the word of God and the pardon and cleansing that He grants to sinners like me, I would go crazy.

So thanks be to God! I am grateful to Him for His grace and mercy, setting me free from my guilt and condemnation, forgiving and cleansing me from all my sins, counting me righteous in Christ through faith in Him. No one and nothing can take away that status and privilege I have from the Lord.

No one can bring accusation of me before God that would make God change His verdict of me. Not even my sins and shortcomings. As Paul rhetorically asks, "Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?" (Rom. 8:33a)? The answer, of course, is no one.

The late Dr. J. I. Packer has quite an enlightening and edifying explanation of this point in his book "Knowing God." "First" he says, "Paul brings in a reminder of God's *grace in election*. 'Who shall bring any charge against *God's elect*?' Remember, says Paul, that those whom God justifies now were chosen from eternity for final salvation, and if their justification were at any stage revoked God's plan for them would be entirely overthrown. So loss of justification is inconceivable on that score.

"Second," Packer adds, "Paul brings in a reminder of God's *sovereignty in judgment*. "It is God who justifies; Who is to condemn?" If it is God, the Maker and Judge of all, who passes the justifying sentence - that is, who declares that you have been set right with his law and with himself, and are not now liable to death for your sins, but are accepted in Christ - and if God has passed this sentence in full view of all your shortcomings, justifying you on the explicit basis and understanding that you were not righteous, but ungodly (Rom. 4:5), then nobody can ever challenge the verdict, not even 'the accuser of the brethren' himself."

Dr. Packer continues saying, "Nobody can alter God's decision over his head - there is only one Judge - and nobody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind. For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open. He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus' sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final" ("Knowing God," 272-273).

This is great news! This, of course, does not make us passive or licentious in the Christian life. Rather it makes us active seeker and doer of God's rule and will in our lives, delighting in obeying His every law and commandment unto holiness and for His pleasure and delight.

Yes, sin is an enemy. But God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - is our ally, our helper and defender in times of trouble and temptation. He is able to keep us from falling and to present us holy and blameless in His sight. Praise the Lord!


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