“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22)
What amazing Truth is expressed by this one verse! In a single verse, the Apostle Paul declares that we have been liberated from the bondage of sin, even as we are now free to serve God; that thus we have the prospect of an abundant life of holiness, and eternal union with God. This is the blessedness of every child of God, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible…” (1 Peter 1:23). That is, free from sin.
Does this describe your personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ – free from sin? Your answer to this question says much about what you believe, as well as the nature of your walk with Christ. If you believe the only way you can cease from sinning is to obtain power over sin, your walk is through constant struggle and often failure. You go from trial to trial, never experiencing the Victory of your New Life in Christ.
Three times in Romans 6 (see Romans 6:7, 18, 22), the Apostle Paul speaks of being free from sin. Yet there is not a single verse of Scripture that speaks of having power over sin. Those who seek power over sin are looking for something never promised to them. Even worse are those who foolishly boast of having such power. No, friend – Jesus Christ did not die so that we could have power over sin, but that we could be “made free from sin.”
Liberty in Christ (yea, even Victory) is not based on our power over sin, but on our Freedom therefrom. If your Christian experience is based on freedom from the bondage of sin, then you have entered into the Rest promised to you by Christ (Matthew 11:28). Our Christian Life is not one of constant struggles with sin, but of overcoming sin as we are made free therefrom through the blessed redemption that is in Jesus Christ. It is not through our work; not through our power – only through Faith in Christ and His finished work.
Consider the illustration of a lion that has escaped captivity and made its way inside your home. If you are a lion-tamer, you will boast in you capabilities that give you ‘power over’ the lion. You may not fear the lion, relying upon ability to control the so-called king of the jungle. You trust in your knowledge of dangerous animals and your attentiveness to keep you within relative safety. You may even be able to pet the lion, or teach him tricks at your command. However, your power over the lion does not allow you to rest in its presence for fear that it will attack you.
Then consider that a lion-hunter comes boldly to your house and slays the lion. Now that the lion is dead, there is no fear to enter your home. The lion is dead and may be taken away. The lion-hunter does not give ‘power over’ the lion; rather he makes it possible to have rest from the lion. Though you now have peace, you realize this peace is not a result of taming the lion, but of killing the lion. You rejoice in the liberty granted to you by the lion-hunter.
In this illustration, the vicious, man-eating lion symbolizes the ravaging nature of sin. The proud lion-tamer represents the doctrines and traditions of man’s devising, which so many people trust in to give them ‘power over’ the deadly lion of sin. The lion-hunter is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). An individual may boast that he has power to control sin in his life; but his power is conditioned upon his not being devoured. He can have no rest as long as the lion of sin is alive.
What does it mean that we have been “made free from sin”? It means that Jesus Christ has slain the lion of sin rather than tame the beast through tradition or philosophy. “For what the Law (traditions, doctrines, philosophies) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Romans 8:3). That is, Christ has put sin to death, thus making us free therefrom.
To be free from sin means to be dead to sin. Yet there are so many Christians who scoff at being “free from sin.” They think it absurd to say one can live “free from sin.” To them, the Christian walk is an ongoing effort to control sin in their life. But to those who realize true liberty in Christ, the old man (the lion) of sin has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6) and has no more influence in a person’s life.
To the lion-tamer, being crucified with Christ is a lifetime of struggle against sin. Oftentimes, they view the cross to implicate a life of suffering various hardships ‘as unto the Lord.’ The Way for them grows dreary and their perpetual longing is for deliverance from their torment. “I am ready to be taken to heaven,” is their constant witness as they express their weariness of ‘serving the Lord.’ While they boast of having power and victory, their life is characterized by weakness and defeat.
Living a ‘crucified life’ has become popular teaching in recent years as emphasis is placed on Jesus’ command to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24-25). The cross is an instrument of death. When Jesus spoke those words, He was heading toward His own death at Calvary. Thus, we are commanded to follow Jesus to the place of our own death. “…For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him” (2 Timothy 2:11); that is, free from sin. The cross is the place of death unto the sin nature.
The cross is the end of everything. Old things have passed away and all things become New. There is no sin in the New Creation that we are Born-Again into (1 John 3:8-9). Yet the lion-tamers promote the cross as a tool for keeping sin in a manageable position; whereas we are told in Scripture that we are dead to sin, and need no power over that which we are free from. No, Friend, the Lord has not left us at the cross – that place of death – but bids us to follow Him.
“For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:10-11)
Yes, alive unto God; Born-Again free from sin, never to be plagued thereby. Why then do Christians sin? Because you want to. You must lay hold to the Truth of God’s Word and reckon that it is so. Many people think that, because they are tempted to sin, sin is still very much a part of the Christian journey. No, a thousand times no. This thinking causes them to rely on traditions and practices, or religion, to keep them from sinning instead of simply abstaining therefrom.
Child of God, you have been Born Again. Your New Life in Christ is the Life of Christ, wherein neither death nor sin may touch you. There are some who boast of power over sin while claiming to helpless when they yield to sin’s temptation. But you have been made free from sin. For you there is rest from your fear, as your reckon the lion of sin to have been slain by the Lord Jesus Christ. When faced with temptation, you don’t struggle for some power over sin. Rather, you yield to the Lordship of Christ who made you free indeed, yielding your members as servants of righteousness.