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Why A Born Again Believer Still Sins and How They Can Have Victory

by Michael Edwards  
3/03/2018 / Bible Studies


When a person is born-again, their Spirit is born-again of God. Their flesh is not born-again, within it, the fallen Sin nature from Adam still resides – Rom 5:19. This is why we still sin and why the flesh must die before our redemption is complete.

For as through the one man's (Adam) disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus) the many will be made righteous. Rom 5:19 NAS

The majority of references to Sin in this study, refer to our inherited fallen Sin nature from Adam that leads us to commit acts of sin. In the New Testament, roughly 45 times the word sin is a verb talking about our actions. Over 175 times it is a noun, talking about our inherited Sin nature from Adam. The distinction is imperative for understanding.

The flesh we dwell in must die, it will not be redeemed.

The only way we defeat our flesh, our fallen Sin nature inherited from Adam is by walking by faith in the Spirit and not by sight. We focus on what is unseen in the Spirit, not what is seen in the flesh.

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:18 NAS

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6 NAS

We believe who God says we are in the Spirit and no longer regard ourselves as in the flesh. When we see the difference, that we are not our flesh that must die, this temporary tent that is still in bondage to sin, we will be able to walk in the Spirit, in victory. God has given every born-again person the Spirit as His pledge, a guarantee of our inheritance, as the first fruits of our redemption. Our redemption will not be complete until in the twinkling of an eye; we will have our new glorified body free from a fallen sin nature, our transformation and redemption complete.

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.2 Cor 5:1-5 NAS

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Rom 8:23-25 NAS

A Christians Sin nature inherited from Adam - Rom 5:19, dwells in their flesh until we die.

This is the old man, old self, that is referenced in scripture. The flesh has NOT been made holy, sanctified, righteous and perfected like our Spirit and cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Our flesh will never be righteous, holy, sanctified or perfected. This is why it must die and we will receive a new glorified body. This will be the final act of our redemption. You will not need to try and control a fallen Sin nature in your new glorified body because there will not be a fallen Sin nature dwelling in it. Until then though, we must deal with our old flesh that knows it will die. Knowing death is imminent, our flesh is desperate and wants to live and run the show. It will lie to you and tell you that you are missing out on all the fun, this is the only life it has to live.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 2 Cor 4:16 NAS

Our flesh is in bondage desiring to serve the law of sin until the day it dies, at odds with our Spirit. Paul talks of this struggle in Romans 7. The flesh is always at odds with the Spirit, wanting to do just the opposite. This is the struggle you are living.

So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Rom 7:25b NAS

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.  So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Rom 7:14-17 NAS

Nothing good dwells in the flesh, this body of death, it is in bondage to Sin and will pay the ultimate price of death.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Rom 7:18-20 NAS

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom 7:24 ESV

Our flesh remains a prisoner of the law of Sin that is in our members until the day it dies.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Rom 7:21-23 NAS

Our sinful flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God. While it is still alive today, it is as good as dead. 

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.  “O DEATHWHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor 15:50-58 NAS

Paul tells us that to try and live in the flesh to be right with God by law-keeping, nullifies the grace of God. We are to by faith, crucify the flesh, and trust 100% in the grace of God, Jesus. We burn all other bridges and leave ourselves no other escape than total and complete reliance on the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Gal 2:19-21 NAS

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Gal 5:4 NAS

We cannot perfect the flesh by the flesh by obeying the letter of the law and self-imposed rules. These are of no value against fleshly indulgence. The flesh must die. We can only reign in this life by doing things God’s way, not man’s way. Trying to do it in our own strength is man's way. 

You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Gal 3:1-5 NAS

We do not crucify our flesh by laws, self-imposed rules, self-abasement, asceticism or severe treatment of the body. By faith, we believe our flesh is already crucified with Christ and daily we remind ourselves of this never trusting in our dead flesh and only trusting in Christ's finished work.

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Col 2:20-23 NAS

To have victory while still living in this body of death, before the final act of our redemption where we receive a new glorified body, we are to by faith see our old flesh as already crucified with Christ. Receiving and resting in God's abundance of grace and free gift of righteousness is God's way.

Our freedom comes in this life when we consider our flesh dead and walk by the Spirit in Christ and not in the flesh. To walk by the Spirit takes faith. We must believe what God says about who we are in the Spirit, who we are in Christ, even though we look in the mirror and see our flesh. We are not our flesh.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Gal 5:24 ESV

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom 6:6 ESV

When God said Adam would die, He was speaking prophetically of what he could see in the future. When God says something it is as good as done even though we do not see it yet. God views our flesh as dead right now and we are to agree with Him to walk in the Spirit in victory.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh 2 Cor 4:7-11 NAS

Think about it; you know that you are more than just your flesh. Have you ever viewed a dead body? Isn’t it obvious that there is more to a person than their flesh? When you have viewed the body of a deceased friend or family member, you know that is not really who they are, just a hollow shell of the person. Their Spirit has been set free from their temporary tent, their flesh.

We are to by faith believe God’s Word and see ourselves as born again of the Spirit.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8 NAS

We are to no longer recognize, regard anyone according to the dead flesh,especially ourselves. We are to see ourselves as the new creation we have been made in Christ. We have been reconciled to God and placed under grace where God is not counting our sins against us. We need to take our eyes off our flesh and fix them on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, look forward to the coming glory, letting go of all that is old. We are, right now, a new creation in Christ totally due to the finished work of Jesus.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor 16-19 NAS

If we believe a lie is a truth, we will live as though it is the truth, even though it is a lie. You must believe the truth God reveals, what is unseen but eternal, to be set free.

If you still see yourself in the flesh as the old creation, this life will be lived in the pain and struggle of the old man. If you by faith, see the truth, you will reign in this life. In other words, if you believe a lie is the truth, you will live accordingly even though it is a lie. On the other hand, if you believe God’s truth, as God desires, you will be free and reign in this life. As you believe be it unto you.

"It shall be done to you according to your faith." Matt 9:29 NAS

God placed us under grace where the law does not arouse our rebellious flesh and where sin is not counted against us. This is why we die with Christ to the law and are placed under grace where our inherited Sin nature has no dominion. 

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Rom 7:4-6 NAS

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 NAS

We believe God’s word that we are no longer under the law and our sins are not being imputed, counted by God. Apart from the law is the only place our inherited Sin nature lies dead. 

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; Rom 2:12 NAS

sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:13b NAS

for apart from the Law sin is dead. Rom 7:8b NAS

Therefore, not being under the letter of the law, our rebellious flesh that is always aroused by the letter of the law and desires to do just the opposite of what it is told, will calm down to a certain extent. This is how grace defeats Sin and disarms Satan, it has us walk by the Spirit of the law and not the letter of the law.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Gal: 5:16-18 NAS

Since the law is Spiritual as Paul states, we now walk by the Spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that arouses the fallen flesh to sin.  The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. There is no condemnation in the Spirit in Christ.

For we know that the Law is spiritual, Rom 7:14a NAS

who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 NAS (letter refers to the letter of the law, Spirit refers to Spirit of the law)

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Rom 8:1-2 NAS

The letter of God’s law, is all the written laws of God, especially the Ten Commandments. The Spirit of all of God’s laws is the intent, the reason God wrote the law in the first place.  The intent, reason God wrote all of His laws is Love. Therefore, Love is the only thing that truly fulfills God’s law, including the Ten Commandments.  These verses reveal the Spirit, intent, reason of the letter of God's law is love.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Rom 13:8-10 NAS

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Gal: 5:13-14 NAS

In Romans 8, Paul reveals the only solution to the struggle with the fallen flesh is found in Christ. To see ourselves crucified with Jesus and now alive and redeemed in the Spirit with the final act of our redemption, our new glorified body already a done deal in God's eyes.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Rom 8:1-12 ESV

Heirs with Christ

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation, but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. Rom 8:12-17 BSB

We see ourselves as the Father sees Jesus, righteous, sanctified, holy, perfected in the Spirit.

The Greek word used in the New Testament for holy is the same word used for sanctified. If it says you’re holy, it means you’re sanctified and vice versa too. Hagiazó - Short Definition: I make holy, sanctify

And by that will, we have been made holy/sanctified through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:10 NIV 

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified/made holy, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:11 NASB 

For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified/holy are all from one [Father]; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren Heb 2:11 NASB 

And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified/holy. Acts 20:32 NASB

that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified/made holy by faith in Me.' Acts 26:18b NASB

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified/holy. Heb 10:14 NASB

Paul even calls the Corinthians who were caught up in sexual sin, sanctified/holy. Like us, I bet that is not what they saw when they looked in the mirror or at the flesh of their brothers and sisters in Christ. He also called them Saints. 

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their [Lord] and ours: 1 Cor 1:2 NASB

Jesus did not die to see if our fallen flesh can qualify for eternal life, now obey God so we can get into heaven. Our fallen flesh will never be able to keep God's standard. Jesus fully qualified us to partake in the inheritance of the saints. Stop looking at your flesh in the mirror and make a commitment to see yourself in the Spirit as God sees you. You are qualified for redemption and eternal life in Christ alone.

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Col 1:12 NAS

And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 BSB

Take heart and do not be too hard on yourself. God is for you and not against you. He knows that our old flesh remains and of our struggle, the fear and the trembling we experience as we work out our salvation in this life. He also knows that our old flesh will die and our complete redemption and transformation will take place when our old flesh dies and in the twinkling of an eye we will receive our new glorified and perfected body, free from a fallen Sin nature. This is when the inner struggle between Spirit and flesh will finally end, our redemption will be complete and we will be completely free from this body of death.

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Cor 15:52 NAS

Until then, never forget that the solution is not going back to the law to stop your inherited Sin nature from acting out. This only arouses Sin as the Bible teaches. We reign in this life, overcome the inherited Sin nature that still dwells in our flesh, by receiving God’s abundance of grace that disarms Satan and defeats Sin and God’s free gift of righteousness. While we do not want to sin, our old flesh still will, but our flesh cannot out sin God’s abundant grace and free gift of righteousness.

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 5:17 ESV

Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross. 

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20

New Covenant Bible Studies

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