How to Have Daily Victory Over Willful Sin Understanding Who I am in Christ Part I
Scripture: Romans 6:1-10
When you become a Christian, you receive a new identity. You are not the same person you were before you were born again. You are now “in” Christ—you are united with Christ. This gives you a new position, new power, and new privileges.
Your new identity is due to your new position
At the new birth, you change loyalties and locations. You are delivered from the kingdom of darkness and the influence of the king of darkness, Satan. You are placed into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, and now you pledge your loyalty to King Jesus (Col. 1:13).
Further, God adopts you into His own family (Rom. 8:15; Eph. 1:5). You are not simply a servant of God; rather, you are now a member of His family and one of His children.
Your new identity brings with it new power
You are fully forgiven for all past sins, and through the indwelling Holy Spirit are given the power to over come all willful sin. Now, in Christ, you do not have to continue to think, say, or do things that you know are unbiblical, and therefore sinful. Do not confuse freedom from willful sin with spiritual maturity or becoming like Jesus in every aspect of your personality (Eph. 4:13).
There is no instant maturity; it’s a process. But you can be set free instantly from the shackles of known, willful disobedience. Because many Christians do not understand who they are in Christ and what spiritual resources are at their disposal, they do not know how to defeat Satan.
They do not know how to say “No!” consistently when tremendously strong temptations from the enemy come their way. The good news of the Gospel is, “You plus Christ equals freedom from willful sin.” Yes, Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” in your life (1 John 3:8).
In order to be a victorious Christian, you need to learn and believe that Satan has no authority over you. You now belong to Jesus and are spiritually united with Christ.
Because you are now “in Christ,” you have been set free from the power of sin.
The Devil does not want you to know this. He will try to deceive you into believing that he still has a grip on you.
Your new identity brings with it new privileges
When you are born again spiritually, you are made spiritually alive in Christ and are spiritually elevated to a place of power and authority. It is your privilege to be seated with Christ in His throne in heavenly places (Eph. 2:5-6), just as He is seated at the Father’s right hand in His throne.
Because you are seated with Christ in His throne, you are elevated with Christ far above all the spiritual opposition, whether it is opposition from spiritual principalities, powers, might, or dominion (Eph. 1:21).
Further, Jesus gives to you authority to “trample on snakes and scorpions (symbols of demonic foes), and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
Thus, new position, power, and privileges in Christ, and the resultant authority that Christ delegates, enable you to have power over Satan. It’s part of your new spiritual identity. Understanding who you are in Christ is crucial to your success at living a victorious Christian life. No one consistently behaves in a way that is inconsistent with the way he or she perceives himself.
For example, if you view yourself as a failure, you will expect failure and accept it as inevitable. And if you believe that a Christian must continue to commit willful sin after he is saved, then that is how you will live.
But if you see yourself as a child of God, made powerfully alive in Christ, having all the resources of the Holy Spirit available to you, you’ll learn that you can live daily in victory and freedom from willful sin. Next to knowing who God is, knowing who you are in Christ is the most important truth you can possess.
New life in Christ gives you a new title.
You should not think of yourself as a “sinner” saved by grace. That is not what the Bible says about you. The Bible does not call children of God “sinners.” God calls His children “saints,” a term that literally means “holy ones.” If you think of yourself as a sinner, you will live like a sinner.
But if you learn to view yourself as God views you, and learn to think and speak of yourself in biblical terms, you’ll learn that God says, “Sin is not to have dominion [power or authority] over you” (Rom. 6:14). New life in Christ gives you a new title. You should not think of yourself as a “sinner” saved by grace. The Bible does not call children of God “sinners.”
God calls His children “saints.” Romans 6:1-10 gives eight facts for your faith—truths that need to be understood and fully embraced. You must learn to say about yourself what God says about you. Let me encourage you to repeat these statements aloud and thank God for each one daily.
Eight Facts For Your Faith
1. I must not continue in sin!!!! (Rom. 6:1-2a)
“What shall we say then?
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means!”
Paul’s answer is an emphatic “No!” His negation is so strong in the Greek that it could be translated, “Absolutely Not!” or “Never!”
2. Sin has no power over me because I am dead to sin! (Rom. 6:2)
“How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
To be “dead to sin” means that it no longer has any dominion or ruling power in your life.
Consequently, when Paul says that Christians cannot continue in sin because they have died to sin, he is not merely saying that a Christian should not continue to live in the realm and dimension of sin; he is saying that they cannot!
3. Sins’s power over me is destroyed because I am united with Jesus in His death to sin and in His burial through baptism! (Rom. 6:3-4a)
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death.”
In agreement with Paul, the Apostle John declares, “No one who is born of God practices sin because His [God’s] seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).
Both Paul and John, when they speak of the believer’s on-going relationship to sin, are speaking about willful acts of disobedience to the known Law of God.
4. I am united with Jesus, and through His resurrection I am empowered to walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:4b-5)
“In order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
5. The person I was before I was saved is crucified [has been put to death] with Christ. (Rom. 6:6a)
“We know that our old self [the person I was before I was saved] was crucified with him.”
6. Sin’s control over my body has been broken! (Rom. 6:6b)
“That the body of sin might be destroyed.”
The phrase, “the body of sin,” denotes sin’s control over our physical body. Sin no longer has any control over a Christian’s body.
7. I am liberated in Christ from sin’s power and I do not have to commit willful sin! (Rom. 6:6c)
“That we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
8. I am freed from the power of sin because I am dead with Christ! (6:7-10)
“For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over Him.
For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.
In summary, you must not continue in sin! Its power over you is destroyed because you are united with Jesus in His death to sin and in His burial through baptism. Through His resurrection you are empowered to walk in newness of life.
Dr. Allan P. Brown teaches such courses as Christian Beliefs, Doctrine of Holiness, Wisdom Literature, Hebrew, Preaching Holiness, Romans and Galatians, and Letters to the Hebrews.
He has been on faculty at GBSC since 1996 and is the author of several books and articles.
Dr. Brown also speaks at churches, camp meetings, revivals and more.