Yes we have all inherited a sinful nature from our
original parents and that nature will be with you till the day your body
dies. This nature will also continue to sin, because sin is all it can
do. So yes you are absolutely helpless and cannot please God or do
anything considered to be righteous with this nature.
But there is a way, and something that you need to do. I remember when I felt like you do now, and I can honestly say that the way is much easier than you think. I believed at the time, that his way would be impossible for me as I was not just a sinner, but a sinner of sinners. However I gave God a go anyway and to my surprise He made it a lot easier than I thought it would be. It really depends on what you want and who you choose to serve. God has made himself and your victory accessible. Yes God has done the hard work for you. But you still need to choose. Listen to what the scriptures say, and you will see how it is very possible to stop sinning and do righteousness.
First of all lets have a look at what Paul wrote in Romans 7:18.....
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Sounds familiar. Well this was written by the Apostle Paul and he pretty much has said what you have said. So how do we get the victory against such impossible odds. How are we converted then? How do we do acts of faith which please God.
Listen to what Jesus Christ said in John 3:3.......
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[ 3:3 Or born from above; also in verse 7] "
So what does it mean to be born again. Do we start life all over again as a child or perhaps we get a clean slate. But even if all our sins are forgiven from that moment, it is obvious that we will sin again and we will be back to where we started.
Let's have a look at this problem. First of all it is taken for granted in the scripture that Man is composed of body, soul and spirit. The body is the vessel that gives us access to the physical world or it is the 'physical conscious' part of us. We can see, hear, taste, smell and feel the physical environment around us. Our soul is the 'self conscious' part of us. We can think about the environment and also understand who we are. The soul is really who we are. Finally, the spirit is the 'God conscious' part of us. But naturally speaking our spirits are dead and the connection between God and us is severed by sin. So when we talk about being born again or born from above, we are talking about being given a new spirit from God that is untainted by sin.
Before the coming of the Christ, King David of Israel cries out for this new birth in Psalm 51:10......
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
See Ezekiel 36:26.....
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
and Titus 3:5.....
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
When we receive a new spirit from God, at this point we not only become aware of God, but our soul can now be guided by light instead of groping in the darkness. This light gives us understanding and we will also know who God wants us to to and be, because his light will light up our soul. At this point your Soul (you) is saved because God is living inside you, you are his temple, for God cannot dwell in sin.
See 1 Peter 1:9.....
for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Or James 5:20.....
Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
So what about your body? Well the truth is that God isn't interested in trying to save this sinful physical body, that is why it continues to degrade and eventually dies. Some religions try to subdue the sinful nature by torturing the body, or with intense practices of discipline. But these works are useless. Our sinful nature is just that, sin. Yes you can perhaps sin in smaller ways, but it is still sin, and sin separates us from God, regardless of the sin. Instead we are promised a new spiritual body when we die. See 2 Corinthians 5:1.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
And 1 Corinthians 15:42-45 ......
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
So how do we stop sinning.
Well it is much easier than you think. First of all I want you to look at the second part of Romans 14:23
............... and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
So everything of faith is pleasing to God and everything that is not is sin. Now if you have been born by the Spirit of God, then you have 2 natures living in you. So your soul can now choose to live by either nature. Yes sin is very strong and compelling, but so is righteousness from God. Both natures are strong and your soul not only has a choice, but also a fighting chance because you are now being compelled by 2 natures, not 1. Now if you choose to live by the Spirit you will have eternal life.
See Romans 8:13.....
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
See 2 Corinthians 4:12 ......
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you
Now each nature is in conflict.
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
But if we choose to live by the Spirit then we cannot sin. We cannot have faith and sin at the same time. We can do both in our lives, but not at the same time. So how do we stop sinning. We simply do what God wants us to do, and at that precise moment, we will not sin. Lets face it is impossible to do nothing at all, and if we just simply abstain then we are still being lead by the sinful nature. But when we live by the Spirit we cannot sin, for if we did sin, we were not being lead by the spirit in the first place.
See Galatians 5:16.....
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
In other words instead of abstaining from sin, which is impossible, we should supersede the sinful nature with the nature of the Spirit. It's a bit like the Law of Gravity. We can fight it and we can try to beat it, but it will always have it's way. But when we fly in a plane, the Law of Gravity is still there, but it is simply being superseded by another law, the law of Aerodynamics. Now see Romans 8:2
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
So the Law of the Spirit is superseding the Law of Sin. Now if we choose to follow the Law of sin, then Romans 8:8 tells us the following:
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
But we must choose to live by the Law of the Spirit if we want to belong to Christ. See Romans 8:9 .....
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
We have a choice and in the end, that choice determines who we choose to follow. This choice is similar to the choice that God gave to Adam and Eve, when he put two trees in Paradise. Now we can no longer blame Adam and Eve for our sins, because we too have the same opportunity that they had. God's nature or the sinful nature and both are compelling.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
And Galatians 5:24 .....
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
It's really up to you. What do you desire the most. Eternal life with God, or temporal enjoyment of sin and then death. But realize this, that sin has lost it's sting and power. Now you have a fair choice. You do not have to be a slave to sin anymore.
1 Corinthians 15:56 .....
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
Romans 8:3 .....
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
Now if you truly love God, you will choose to live by his Spirit right? If you choose to live by his Spirit, then you are no longer condemned.
Romans 8:1 .....
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
If we choose to live by God's Spirit because we love him more than sin, then we will still sin from time to time, because we may not always have our minds fixed on him. We have 2 natures and at times we will live by the other nature. In these times we have a deal with God. See 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
And back to Paul, who said in Romans 7:18 .....
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
He concludes in verse 20 with.....
20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
It's up to you and ultimately you will live by the one you love the most, and herein lies your decision as to who you will follow.
How To Stop Sinning
( ....take 2 )
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
FIRST, BE CLEAR IN YOUR OWN MIND WHAT SIN IS
This will keep you free from false condemnation. God states clearly His own definition of sin in James 4:17: "Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." You sin, then, when you consciously and deliberately reject what you know is God's will and refuse to do it. Sin is conscious disobedience to the will of God; the conviction of the Holy Spirit and a true sense of guilt is felt only after conscious, intentional disobedience to God's will.
What Sin Is Not
There is an unscriptural definition of sin around that has created much false guilt. It's the philosophical idea that sin is any deviation from absolute right -- any lack of conformity to the perfect image of God -- whether we are aware of it or not! This would mean that we sin all the time in act, word and thought. There will be a hundred ways in which we fall short of God's perfection every day without knowing it.
If this is sin, then according to I John 3:8, we will all be children of the devil forever. But this is not the Biblical definition of sin; this is just a humble, creaturely consciousness that there must be much of our Creator's nature and will which He has not yet been able to reveal to us. If you label this sense of your humanity sin, then you will always be experiencing vague guilt feelings that are tied to no act or word in particular. This is false condemnation and is caused by Satan's obscuring the teaching of the Bible. When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, He points out clearly and precisely some act, word, or thought you knew at the time was contrary to God's will.
SECOND, DEAL WITH YOUR GUILT
If you tell a lie to cover up some missed assignment or commitment, the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, your conscience registers guilt, and Satan accuses you of rebellion against the Creator. If we argue with God about whether it was sin or not, we find ourselves trying to justify our own actions before Him. This is impossible as God has said in Romans 3:28 that "no man is justified by works of the law." This self-justification is itself sin and creates more guilt in our conscience. If we look to Satan and try to rationalize our actions, he simply points to our emotions which express the depression of our guilty conscience, and we become utterly demoralized. This guilt and sense of inadequacy drains a person of any dynamic desire to try again. That is why God has provided the answer for our guilt.
What Do You Do When You Have Sinned?
Admit it, be honest: call sin, sin. See sin for what it is -- a spear in Jesus' side: this is confession. Now pull the spear out of Jesus' side -- turn from the sin, resolve that it will have no place in your life again: this is repentance. Turn your eyes to the fact of Christ's death; see that He died the death that you should have died for your sin (Romans 5:8). Accept that we are "reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10). If you truly believe this and bend all your being towards keeping that spear out of Jesus' side, then your faith (belief plus obedience) will be "reckoned to you as righteousness" (Rom. 4:22), and God will accept you back again into fellowship with Himself.
Answer Satan in the same way. Do not be morbid and look at your emotions; simply point to the preciousness of the blood of Christ to God (I Peter 1:18-19) and remind Him that this is the only basis for God's accepting you at all. It is not your obedient life, for all our "righteousness is as filthy rags"; it is not your ability to live the victorious Christian life. It is simply your readiness to listen to the Holy Spirit that enables "the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse you from every sin" (I John 1:7). Then with your heart "sprinkled clean from an evil conscience" (Heb. 10:22), let Jesus take over your life again.
THIRD, DEAL WITH THE POWER OF SIN
You have received Jesus as your Savior: then you are a child of God (John 1:12); therefore, there will grow in you a desire to please your Father, to stop crucifying Jesus in your life by further sins, and to allow Him to be your Lord. Many have seen the promise in the Bible that Jesus would not only save them in their sin but from their sins (Romans 6:7, 12-14; Colossians 3:5-10; I John 2:3-6; 3:4-10, 24; 5:2-5,18). However, they may try to do it by their own willpower, by the method of gradual growth, by trying hard. This simply leads to despair and defeat. There is another way!
As we are freed from the guilt of sin by faith in the effect of the blood of Christ, so we are freed from the power of sin by faith in the effect of the cross of Christ. Just as Christ's own death for us came as a revelation that constituted a new experience, so Christ's death in us comes as a revelation that constitutes a new experience. As we exercise a daily faith in the ability of Christ's blood to take away the guilt of our sin, so we exercise a daily faith in Christ's cross to take away the power of sin. The power of sin can only be lessened by our own "trying hard"; it can be broken by faith in what happened to us on the cross.
The reason we tell a lie about a missed assignment is that we believe deep down in our innermost being that we have every right to behave in whatever way will be to our advantage. It is this inner attitude that relentlessly forces us to manipulate people and God's commandments. It is this inward sin, this unsurrendered "I", this feeling that I am God, this right I have to myself and my own way, that makes me reject God's will, disobey His commandments, harden my heart, and sear my conscience. All of this was crucified with Christ 1900 years ago (Romans 6:6): all of this is simply self -- the real you.
This is a fact -- this has happened to you positionally in Christ in the first century. Now will you allow the Holy Spirit to bring it about actually in the twentieth century? Christ's blood will pay for your sins as long as your heart is soft enough to repent and believe, but you can live above conscious disobedience to God's will by faith in your common funeral with Christ (Romans 6:1-4) and submission to His Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
Are you in despair about overcoming sin in your life? Have you come to the end of yourself? Then let the Holy Spirit reveal to you that when Christ died with all His rights, you died with all your rights. He died to His future, you died to your future; when He died to Himself as a private person, you died to yourself as a private person; when He died to doing anything more on earth for God, you died to yourself doing anything more on earth for God. Now, will you allow the Holy Spirit to make this real in your life? It is not enough to know it intellectually: the Holy Spirit alone can make it effectual in you now and every day in your life, as you set your mind on the past fact of your death with Christ and submit your will to the present fact of the Holy Spirit in your life.
FOURTH, GROW IN GRACE
The deepest part of you has been cleansed by faith (Acts 15:9). This means that your spirit is pure and free from that rebellious desire to have your own way. However, though your intentions are now wholly directed to God's glory, yet they have to express themselves through a soul that still shares the effects of the fall of man. Thus your mind is impaired and mars the expression of your perfect love for God by its mistakes and its ignorance. Your emotions are unbalanced and will inadequately express your settled contentment with God's will for you by unintentional deviations from Christ-like peace. Your body is weakened and will at times adversely affect the ability of your mind and emotions to express your spirit's true desire.
Moreover, we live in an anti-Christ, pro-self world infested with spirits of evil, so we are never free from temptation that expresses itself in thoughts and feelings of evil. These become evil thoughts and evil feelings the moment we decide from our spirits to think of them a second time or to feel them a second moment. All of these are sins only if they express the real attitude of our spirits; that is, if they come from without -- from the prince of this world --and we reject them as alien and unnatural to our spirits; we do not sin.
Nevertheless, God wants us to purify our souls (I Peter 1:22): growth in grace is simply allowing the purity of our spirit to spread throughout our mind, our emotions, and body so that they are integrated and fully fitted to express the will of the Holy Spirit in our spirits. The purity in our spirit comes by faith; maturity in our souls comes by growth in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This grace comes through the Spirit's revelation and the breaking experiences of life.
Finally, only the Holy Spirit can tell if a person has sinned. Only He knows if it was a conscious disobedience of God's will by the person's spirit. If a man does not defend his own sins and is open to the Holy Spirit's light, then God's promise is "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). But what if a person in an emergency does sin? Then as John says: "My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (I John 2:1)