Set Free

Set Free

Whom the Son Sets Free Is Free Indeed!!!

 Introduction

We hear it all the time in church, on the radio, and on preachers on TV… YOU ARE FREE, but what are we free from? In John 8:34-36 Jesus says that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. The word committeth here means to do, and the word sin means to miss the mark, err, wander from the path of righteousness, or to commit a violation of the divine law in thought and/or action. So he that committeth sin is referencing someone who is not actively following God’s will and commandments, missing the mark, or someone who is wandering from God’s path. In other words, this is someone who is habitually sinning because they have not come to Christ or it is a Christian that is living in a state of carnality. Next, it says he who habitually commits sin (as a part of their sinful nature) is also a servant to that sin. In the Greek the word servant means to be a slave or someone who gives himself up to another’s will. So when we are not born again we were are enslaved to sin, and if we are living in carnality we are also servants of sin. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). However, once we are born again our life patterns should begin to change to match our new nature. Paul writes “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” Ephesians 4:28. What Paul is saying is that he who “habitually committed” the sin of “stealing” should “habitually steal” no more. Even though it says stealing here, you can plug any sin into this scripture to include (but not limited to) greed, gambling, drugs, drinking, lust, lying, prostitution, homosexuality, pornography, masturbation, gossiping, adultery, fornication, or any other sin that you are doing. So back to the original question, what are we free from? Jesus came to set up free from HABITUAL SIN!!!!!

Jesus told us that if we habitually commit sin then are we a slave to that sin, and if we are tied to a sin then are we going back and forth with God? James tells us that a “double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8) so if we are going back and forth from sin to righteousness and then back to sin then we are an unstable Believer. However, Jesus still said “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you are free indeed”, so why aren’t we free? In this verse, the first word “free” is from the Greek word “eleuthero” which means to be set at liberty from the “dominion” of sin. The next word “free” comes from the Greek word “eleutheros”, which means to be “freeborn, one who is freed from slavery, or someone who is not bound by obligation” Are you seeing this? When Jesus sets you free or liberates you, then you no longer under the “dominion” of sin and you are free and not bound by any obligation to that sin. In other words, it cannot have dominion over you!! Such great news right because we are “new creatures in Christ; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). So if we are a new creature and free from sin then why do we still have issues with sin? Let’s find out…

Section I –Our Enemy – The Flesh

Introduction

As I discussed in the introduction, Jesus came to set up free from sin (John 8:34-36). He does not want us entangled with anything in this world, and even the Apostle Paul told us to “…lay aside every weight, AND the sin which doth so easily beset us …” (Hebrews 12:1). This is very important because there is nothing the devil wants more than Christians who are defeated by sin, or Christians that are carrying around huge weights. If we are in a defeated state, backslidden, or wavering then we are ineffectual in our service to the Lord and that’s what the devil wants because then he has one less Christian Warrior to worry about. So to understand our nature we must understand how we are made and we need to understand God’s nature.

The Holy Trinity is the very foundation of our Christian faith, and Jesus spoke of it many times while he was on the earth. The Trinity means that there is one God who has eternally existed as three distinctive persons with each having a different roles. The Godhead is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, which is also known as “The Holy Trinity”. In John 3:16 Jesus said that “God [the Father] so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son”. Here it is shows that “God the Father” gave “God the Son” to us for our sins, and this clearly shows that the Father and Son are not the same person. In Acts 5:3-4 it tells us that Ananias lied to the Holy Ghost (Verse 3), and then it says he lied to God (Verse 4) so we can see that the [God] the Holy Spirit is different from [God] the Father. Finally in John 16:10 Jesus said he was going to his Father [God the Father and God the Son], but in verse thirteen Jesus said that when “he”, which was the [God the] Spirit of Truth is come that “he” would guide them into all truth. This passage clearly defines the Holy Spirit as a completely different entity than God the Father and God the Son. A good analogy is the family unit. The Jones family has a father, mother, and a son. While they are known as the “Jones” family we know that they all have different functions in the family. To me this is easiest way to understand the Godhead because there are three persons, but they are all one just like a family.

Finally, Paul in his goodbye to the church at Corinth gives us a definitive look at God’s triune nature. He ends the book with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Notice each distinctive part of God is mentioned, and it lists different attributes for each one. For Christ it is His grace (the merciful kindness by which God that exerts his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, strengthens, keeps, increases them in faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues), for the Father it is his love (agape = affection, good will, love, benevolence), and for the Holy Spirit its communion (intimacy and fellowship). So while the three are one and they make up the Godhead, they each have three very distinct roles that they conduct in our lives. In Genesis the first chapter there are three overlooked words that tell us about God’s trinity from the beginning of the world. Genesis 1:26 God says “Let “US” make man in “OUR” image, after “OUR” likeness? Notice that God uses the plurals US and OUR in this verse and He used the plural forms THREE TIMES, so God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are right there in Genesis chapter one. God is consistent in everything word He ever wrote us, and even in the last book of Revelation it speaks of the Trinity (Revelation 22).

We know that we were made in God’s image and since God is a triune being, so then are a triune being as well. However, even though we are a triune being we are built completely different than God because he created us with a spirit (eternal), a soul (mind), and a body (flesh). Also, even though we live in a fleshly body we must never forget we are an immortal being. The only difference in a believer and a nonbeliever is that one will spend eternity with God, and the other will spend eternity apart from God. Some people may think we are only spirit and body because the soul and the spirit seem to be interchangeable, however they are not. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul says that “…the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless [blameless, deserving no censure, free from fault or defect] unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Notice he mentions all three parts of our being (spirit, soul, and body). The word “wholly” used here comes from the Greek holotelēs” which means “perfect or complete in all respects”. In other words, Paul is saying we should be perfect or complete in our spirit, soul, and body. Another verse that shows us all three is Hebrews 4:12 where it states that “…the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of “soul” and “spirit”, and of the “joints and marrow” (flesh), and is a discerner of the thoughts (soul) and intents of the heart (spirit). Now that we know that we are made up of three parts, how does this relate to committing sin vs. when we commit a sin? EVERYTHING!

In 1 John 3:9 it says “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God”. So he that is born of God doth NOT commit sin, so now we are in BIG TROUBLE!! In the Amplified Bible it reads like this “No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God”. Do you see the difference? In the introduction we discovered that committing sin was in fact ‘habitually sinning’, and this type of sin was done by someone who was not born or someone who was born again but living in a carnal state. When we are born again, we are a new creature but that new creation is in our “spirit” so instead of being slaves to our flesh, we now have a new spirit that can overcome the flesh (and the mind). This does not mean that once you are born again that it will be all roses, but it does mean God has implanted the ability in our spirit to overcome any sin that our flesh is used to committing. Even Paul recognized the war in his sinful flesh because in Romans 7:17-20 he said that “However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [Fixed and operating in my soul]” (AMP). So even though our spirit is reborn, we still have to learn how to deal with the flesh.

Even though Paul recognized this internal war, he also spoke of overcoming the flesh and the good news is that we WILL be victorious once we understand the tools and weapons at our disposal. If Paul can overcome sin so can we because “…God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another] (Romans 2:11). In closing, does our flesh still want to sin? YES… Does our mind still want to sin? YES… Are you a new creature in your spirit? YES… So does your spirit commit sin? NO… Since the flesh and mind have not been regenerated, then it is up to our regenerated spirit to put the flesh and the mind in their place. So it is now time to learn how to BE FREE!!!

Chapter 1 – Called to Freedom

“For you, brethren, were [indeed] called [invited] to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another…But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)” (Galatians 5:13 & 16). We can see that we as Christians are invited to be free in Jesus, but that freedom is not so we can say or do whatever we want and God’s grace should never be an excuse to commit habitual sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1). God’s Grace and Love is the greatest gift we have as believers, and we must never use it to sin but we must use it to be free from sin. What we must remember as that there is no such thing as good truth or bad truth because truth simply is truth.

Establishing the Truth in our Hearts!

There are many truths that we first have to come to grips with if we ever want to be free from sin, and some of these truths we may not want to hear. The first truth is that “sin feels good”. Does it not? Just because you spirit is born again doesn’t mean your mind and flesh is and guess what??? They still love to commit sin! Once we understand this, then and only then can we begin the process of being free. In time, we will begin to stop committing habitual sins however we may still from time to time commit a sin. Praise God, because if we do we have an advocate with the Father which is Jesus. 1 John 2:1 tells us that “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And ‘if’ any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. English is very important here because this verse has been misquoted many times. If I say to you “When I go to the store I will get you some coffee” or “When I go to the mall I will get your shoes” I have committed at that time to go to the store or the mall. However, if I say “If I go to the store I will get you some coffee” or “If I go to the mall I will get your shoes” I have not committed to anything. Let’s read this verse again to see how many have misused it. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And when you sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. Can you see the difference? When you say “when” you are in fact saying that you are going to sin, but if you use the word “if” then there is no predisposed intent to sin. This is a very simple but important concept because as believers our new nature should be moving from “when” we sin to “if” we sin. Once again this does not happen overnight, and Paul truly understood the struggle. So what do we do “if” we sin? We ask Jesus to forgive us, and then continue in the Lord’s work. As I said, we have to be honest and admit there are certain sins that we like to commit. For example, some people may be into drinking, drugs, sex, or gambling but whatever sin our flesh likes, we can rest assure that it does not want to quit. Why? Because it feels good and because it loves to sin, which means that even though we are born again in our spirit we must still learn to tame the flesh. Once we realize this truth then we can begin to operate in the promises of God because they are there to set us free. So honesty is the only way to start so we to start by telling your Father that this sin is one that we still like because he isn’t waiting to strike you with a lightning bolt. Actually, it is just the opposite! He is waiting to help you overcome it so one day you can help others with the same issue.

Next, we need to realize that we will never be 100% free from sin while we are in these earthly vessels to live 100% free from sin; however we can live 100% free from “habitual” sin. So if we think we will “never” commit “a sin” then we can stop right here and go watch TV, because we will without a doubt mess up from time to time. We need to remember that our flesh has gotten its own way for many years, and it feels nice and cozy committing sin and it will take time to put it down once and for all. Our flesh operates using the five senses of the body because that is all it knows. In addition, the flesh has a big ally called the mind. Our mind whether we realize it or not is constantly being bombarded with Satan’s darts. Some people however think the battle is only with our mind but as I said before our flesh has gotten used to so many things that it does not to admit it is dead. To stop committing habitual sins, we need to establish what truth is so we can walk in it. So what is truth? First, sin feels good. Second, we will always “commit” sin while we are on the earth. However, the third and most fantastic truth is God’s Word and the following 3 verses can set us on the road to complete freedom from habitual sin:

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (Amplified) – “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  • John 17:17 – “Sanctify (cleanse externally, “free from guilt of sin” and purify internally by the renewing of the mind) them through thy truth thy “Word” is “TRUTH”
  • John 8:32 – “And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free”

For us to be free, we have to know in our hearts three things about God’s Word. First, we need to establish that ALL scripture is inspired by God. Not just the Gospels, the Epistles, or even the New Testament but the entire Bible is God’s infallible Word. Also God’s Word was given to us for reproof, conviction of sin, correction, discipline, and for training in righteousness. Notice, each of these is dealing with the sin nature in a series. It starts with reproving us for what we are doing and then we are convicted of our sins. Next we receive correction and discipline, and finally we get training in righteousness. Can you say FREEDOM IS COMING MY WAY? The second thing we need to do is establish in our hearts that God’s Word is TRUTH. If the truth shall set us free, then we have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt His Word is TRUTH. Finally once we know His Word is infallible and the true and living Word of God then we have to believe that His Word will set us free. This is where many people lose it. They will say “yea I know His Word is Truth, but I have done this sin for SO many years that I will never be free”, and that’s where the devil has them stopped, dead in their tracks. You have to commit yourself to the fact that God’s Truth (His infallible Word) will work for YOU if YOU put the WORD into practice. This is where your faith mixed with the Word brings results, and there is no other way it will happen. You can’t hope you will change, and you can’t wish you would change, but you have to settle in your heart you WILL change once you put your faith in God’s Word and begin doing what it says for you to do. However, be forewarned it may not happen overnight (they do not call it walking by faith for nothing), but it will happen as you begin to put His Word into action in your life. In the Word is all the weapons that we will ever need to defeat the devil, our flesh, and our mind but only if we KNOW that it is God’s Infallible Word and it is TRUTH! So what is the flesh?

Flesh vs. Spirit

The flesh is the place that encapsulates our soul and our spirit. In addition, the flesh is where the five senses reside and where all physical action takes place (whether Godly or ungodly). People often think that their flesh can be renewed, however but that is not the case. The Bible only speaks of our mind being renewed, but nowhere does it say the “flesh” is being renewed. Paul made this clear when he said that in our flesh dwells “no good thing” (Romans 7:18). We also need to realize that our spirit and our flesh can never “be friends”. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh… For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17). The word contrary here means “be against, opposite, oppose, and to withstand”. While people may try and find a “compromise” that will satisfy both the Spirit and the flesh, they need to realize this “compromise” is a trap and could lead to their downfall. You know, a little sin here and there won’t hurt you but in that compromise is where we will meet failure. Paul tells us that “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9), so even a little sin can bring the person down. So when it comes to our flesh there can be NO COMPROMISE, and we have to settle this in our heart once and for all because if we do not then we are only setting ourselves up for failure.

So we must remember that the flesh is nothing more than a house for the real us, which is our spirit man. The body feels cold, pain, gets sick, and eventually it will die (Job 34:15), but it in of itself is NOT immortal. Also, as I said earlier it operates under the five senses, receives inputs from various sources, and it bases its actions on which inputs it chooses to follow. So why does such a short-lived item because so much trouble? It is because the flesh by its very nature lives to serve its own desires and lusts. The flesh is under the law of sin, and sin it will obey until tamed. “When we were living in the flesh [trapped by sin], the sinful passions, which were awakened by [that which] the Law [identifies as sin], were at work in our body to bear fruit for death [since the willingness to sin led to death and separation from God].” (Romans 7:5). The flesh without a regenerated spirit is like a madman running anywhere and everywhere it wants. Remember the saying, “If it feels good do it”? That is our flesh in a nutshell because if it feels good the flesh wants to do it and do it all the time.

A hard thing for Christians (old and new) to come to grips with is that the flesh over time will develop patterns and sin habits in our lives. We know habits can be good or bad, but when the sinful flesh is involved then they are nothing but bad news. We must understand that sometimes these habits can be generational and sometimes we acquire them on our own. Generational habits could be things like anger, drinking, or the need for new things all the time because that is what our parents put into us or taught us. There can also be acquired habits as we grow up. For instance, have you ever heard that preacher’s kids are the worse kids? So if the preacher is a Christian, and the kids are “bad” then it only stands to reason they “acquired” their habits on their own or from friends or other family members. It really doesn’t matter how sinful flesh habits are formed, but it is important that we know that they can because as I said earlier sometimes we “like these pet sins”. Some pet sins could be anger, bitterness, greed, sex, gambling, lying, drugs, masturbation, pride, gluttony, gossiping, pride, or any other sin that you may be love to do so we must be aware of our old ways so we can be on our guard.

The Flesh and God

We must always keep in mind that even though God loves us and His grace is always there for us we cannot EVER forget God Hates Sin! This is important because many times people will try and compromise with God, but there can never be compromise with sin in any form at any time. So are there list of “fleshly” activities that God says are bad? Oh yes, and there are many but I will just give a few verses so we can get a clear picture of the flesh man that God is NOT please with…

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 1:23-32 “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

As we can see, there are MANY things that God calls sin so we must realize that when we dabble in sin that it is not a joke with God. A good site to view the sins of the New Testament is “67 Deadly Sins” (See Link in the Appendix). I would suggest you do a word search on each sin so you REALLY know what God was trying to tell us about each of them. We can easily see now however that we can in NO way please our Heavenly Father in our flesh for “in our flesh dwells no good thing” (Roman 7:18). Also, we need to realize that even though we may try and “righteous” that our righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). While we are on this earth we will battle many things, but to be a true warrior for Christ we must be able to control our flesh or we will lose many battles. So we must make it clear that in our flesh is nothing good (Romans 8:8), and that we are only made righteousness because of the amazing sacrifice of Jesus and his shed blood.

Many people bash the flesh, but we must remember we are a triune being that God himself created which means our flesh does have natural God given needs. For instance we have a natural desire to eat, be successful, or have sex. The problem comes in when we inject illicit actions into God legitimate desires he gave us. For instance, we have a desire to eat (or yes we would die). However, when we interject gluttony into the equation then we have crossed the line from a legitimate need to an illegitimate action called “pigging out”. Also, we have a natural desire to procreate and have sex, but when we will allow pornography or masturbation to take over then we have taken God’s natural desire and debased it to an act of nothing more than sexual release. The payback for allowing these actions to take over God’s plan could be years of struggling with condemnation, weight, sexual issues, and separation from God’s prefect plan for us. We must remember that “he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8). Peter warns us to “… abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against out soul (1 Peter 2:11). Even Jesus told us to “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). The Apostle Paul was apparently all too familiar with this battle for he wrote about it on many occasions. Here is what he had to say on the issue:

Romans 7:14-24

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Paul knew the struggle, and I am sure he was not the “perfect Christian” that everyone portrays him to be, but I also know that he found the answer and became an “if” sinner and not a “when” sinner! So we now know our flesh is NOT our friend, so what are we going to do about it?

Chapter 2 – Knowledge is Key

We “Were” Slaves

Now that we know what the flesh is and that we are to be free from it, what do we have to do? Once again, we need to realize that overcoming the flesh isn’t going to happen overnight. I have heard preachers over the years (and still do) that when they were born again “everything sin fell away”, and back in the day I believed it. However, it was a lie and all that teaching did was heap loads of condemnation on lots of people who weren’t “changed immediately” like them. So the bottom line is that no one who is born again is 100% changed right then and there so do not buy into that lie of the devil. However, the good news is that we can be free from habitual sin and do not let anyone tell you otherwise! If God is for us then I ask this, is there anything on this planet that can be against us?

 Paul gives us a scripture in Romans 6 that should make us SHOUT. He tells us that” …God be thanked, that ye àwereß the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart (Our spirit) that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then àmade freeß from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Notice it says you “were” servants (a slave) of sin, but now you “are” servants (giving yourself wholly to one’s service) of righteousness (integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting). Since it says we are free (no longer under the dominion) of sin (missing the mark, erring, wandering from the path of righteousness, or committing a violation of the divine law in thought and/or action) then we can now give ourselves wholly to Christ’s service!! (Remember His Word is TRUTH!!) When you think about this, it is totally amazing because now we know that sin can no longer have dominion over us. Also, if anyone EVER tells us that we cannot be free from sin we know that statement is a lie because God’s Word clearly says we can! If not, then did Christ lied when said “whom the Son sets free is free indeed”? Does Jesus lie? The answer is absolutely and unequivocally NO JESUS NEVER LIES. So now that we know that the Word says we do not have to be a slave to sin and that we are free then we need to find out how walk in freedom.

Stop Holding On

Many Christians (me included) start down the road to freedom and because it isn’t happening fast enough for us or because of others (judgmental religious people) crucifying us with their tongues we simply quit. This is EXACTLY what the devil wants. You may say “but I keep failing” so maybe everyone is right about me, and I can truly say I do understand that. However, the Word says “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16). Everyone stumbles, but “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). Once again, we see that even though we stumble or fall it is the Lord who will hold us up and in some cases he has to pick us up. Learning to walk in freedom takes time and while we are learning the Lord is always there with us to hold us up. A good example of this is when a child begins to learn how to skate. When they start children try as hard as they can to hold their parents hands, but most of the time they eventually lose their grip and fall. However, when they let the parents hold their hand then even though they may stumble their parents never let them fall! One important thing to remember is that once we are born again we (our spirit) can never sin, EVER. The problem is we have a mind and a flesh to deal with, and even though we (our spirit) is no longer a slave to sin our flesh will try and have its way (like a toddler who was told they can’t have their toy). So how do we deal with the flesh? Let’s see what God’s Word tells us…

The Choice

Before we were regenerated we had no choice but to sin because this was the nature passed onto us by Adam. However, once you are born again you are no longer a sinner, a sinner saved by grace, a slave to sin, and you do not have to habitually commit sin unless you chose to. Once the Holy Spirit resides within us we are powerful children of God, however the problem is that many new (and sometimes older Christians) do not know how to walk in the freedom that Christ paid for. This can lead to Christians getting discouraged and buying into the devils lie that they could not have “possibly” been saved. However, were we saved? Of course we are if we truly repented, however we did not have the knowledge of the Word to know how to walk in our freedom. Lack of knowledge is dangerous, and Hosea wrote that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Not only can we fall away on our own for having no knowledge, but we can also fall away because of the lack of knowledge by others. There were several types of thinking going on at my church when I was first saved that left me totally confused and feeling completely lost. One as I stated earlier was that once you are saved, everything in you changes and all sin issues are gone. The second was that if you got saved and had sin issues that you were “playing games with God”. A third was that if you were saved and had sin issues then you must have a demon. A fourth was that we had to work hard to overcome sin, and finally some said that if you had sin issues that God would give you over to a reprobate mind. Talk about confusion!! I was one confused teenager and when I was told that there was no hope and God was done with me, I said fine and left the church. Unfortunately for me I did not know that I could overcome sin and spent 30+ years in the desert learning many lessons and Praise God that He is FAITHFUL even when all others wrote me off!  However, I also believe in personal responsibility and once we are born again the choice is now ours to make because God gives all of us the tools to win but we need to know what tools we have. So even though others can influence us, it is our lack of knowledge at the end of the day that will cause us to be slaves of sin or victorious over it. Paul makes it plain in Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Praise God because thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus we now have the choice to (A) serve sin or we can (B) SERVE GOD, and if we choose (B) he gives us the tools to do so! So what do we need to do to live free? We have to choose…

Chapter 3 – The Real Truth About Our Flesh

The Flesh Has No Benefit

We must first realize that once we are born again the devil is NOT happy, and he will send waves of things to “tempt” our flesh. It is almost like a “remember when” fest at times. “Jake don’t you remember when you did this or Jake do you remember doing that wasn’t it fun?” So when this happens, we must use God’s word to overcome! Next we need to realize that following the flesh will never lead to anything good. Our flesh (with its ally the mind) will lead us into traps so that we will fail and live in defeat. The mind and the flesh are in this together and their goal is always going to be to make us fail, and true failure comes when we let our flesh lead us and not the Spirit! So let’s see who our real enemy is shall we? John 6:63 “It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life” (AMP). Do you feel that you are not living, and there is no life in you even though you are born again? Well be of good cheer you are NOT alone because millions and millions of Christians have been in the same place, but thanks be to God there is a way out. The flesh is a death trap, and every work of the flesh has no benefit! If the works of the flesh have no benefit then why are we constantly fighting this sin or that sin? It is because we have not realized that once we are born again that we can be free from sin’s dominion. Remember earlier when we had choice (A) and (B), do you remember what they were? {Thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus we now have the choice to (A) serve sin or we can (B) SERVE GOD, and if we choose (B) he gives us the tools to do so} Remember it now? One thing we always need to be is honest with ourselves understand that God gave US the choice. Once we choose NOT to follow the flesh we can then use His Word to overcome any sin that comes our way. However, if we waver back and forth saying “I don’t like this sin” but “I like that sin” then we are double-minded and we never obtain victor. So do we have pet sins that we like? If so, we need to start to view them as the Word portrays them, and understand in our spirit that we cannot do them because God hates them! “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). Once we realize that there can be no compromise in our lives we then need to commit in our heart that there will be no more compromise, and we need to stop making excuses for sinning! Only after this can we start being free.

The Flesh is Dead

Most people err at this point for they think the battle is with their flesh, and while it is to a certain degree we need to see what the Word really says about it the battle. In Romans 6:6-7 Paul tells us that “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin”. The Amplified says it like this “We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin”. Are you seeing this? The Word DECLARES that our OLD SELF was NAILED to the CROSS with JESUS, and that is PAST TENSE. As was stated earlier, God’s people are DESTROYED for lack of knowledge and Satan who comes to kill, steal, and DESTROY knows this. You see in reality, our flesh once we are born again is DEAD, but it wants to resurrect itself if it can. However, it can only do that if we help it. I heard Bob Hamp put it this way. Our flesh is like someone who is an amputee. While after a limb is gone it may have “sensations” in reality it’s just false signals being sent to the brain. In the same way, our flesh is dead according to Roman 6 so we need to start thinking differently. Now this does not mean we can sit around because being a Christian is a pro-active life. Galatians 5:24-25 tells us that “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. As you can see our part is simple really for if we are walking in the Spirit then we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). So it would seem we have a contradiction because why do have to walk in the Spirit to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh if the flesh is dead? Well because most people do not know it is DEAD, and with the help of the mind it tries to resurrect itself. A good verse to memorize is “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When your old desires try to resurrect themselves say “I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST” as loud as you can, and bring the flesh into subjection to the Spirit of God in you.

Let us look at the example of the amputee again. Let’s say the amputee is in a hospital bed because he was in a bad car crash. He cannot move so he cannot see that his leg is gone, but to his mind the leg is still there because it itches so since he has not been told yet that it is gone then in his mind it is still there. This is us when we are “battling” the flesh over and over again. It itches, so we scratch it. Our mind is telling us we still like to drink, do drugs, or whatever other sins we used to love to do. Am I hitting home? Okay NOW the next day the doctor comes in and tells the person the leg is gone. The man is SHOCKED! He tells the doctor it itches, but the doctor says that the sensation is nothing but a “phantom limb” because it is in fact gone. This is exactly how it is with our flesh because until we realize it was “crucified on the cross with Jesus” we will continue to have “phantom sensations” of sin. Many people are thinking that they will never be free, but I tell you that you can be free from habitually sin once you realize the truth for truth will set you free. Jesus didn’t die so we could remain in bondage, but he died so we could be free to serve him fully. Even though we may commit “sins” singular until his return, we can be free from the bondage of sin! In Romans 5:1 it says “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” which means because of our faith in Jesus we are justified (we are declared righteous), and we have peace with God THROUGH our Lord Jesus. I believe Paul was setting the stage in Chapters 6-7 which deal with the “flesh battle” so that he could declare to us in Chapter 8:1 that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. All I can say is WOW there is hope for all of us! So let’s look at some things that will help us keep that OLD SELF nailed to the cross.

There Is a War

In Roman 5 & 6 Paul clearly stated there is a war going on so I believe that at this point he was working out what Jesus had done for us on the cross. However, in Chapter 8 he begins so show us the light at the end of the tunnel. Romans 8:13 tells that “For if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever”. In other words if we are letting the flesh constantly rule then our life is really not a life, but if we let the power of the Holy Spirit rule then we can have real life. Christians who are not taught any of this will either give up because the enemy will tell them they are not saved, or that living in sin and defeat is normal. However, if we can educate that this is a normal growing process we will be able to help them obtain 100% victory over habitual sins. One scripture that I held on to for years when I was away was “He who began a good work in us will complete it at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Even though I had no clue how I would make it back I did know that God was faithful even though many times we are not. Paul realized that we would never be these perfect robot Christians while in this body of flesh, but he also knew that we should strive for it. He wrote this “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). To me this says that we are to strive for the prize and that we will not be perfect until he returns, but we are to be warriors and not let our FLESH rule over us. Once again 1 John 2:1 says “If we sin”, not when we sin. So what part do we play in this, and what part does God play?

Chapter 4

The Weapons Of Our Warfare Are…

Our weapons are so powerful that we may wonder why people have sin issues, however we must remember that many things in God’s Word are not taught in today’s Churches anymore. Instead of preaching about holiness more and more preachers sound like motivational speakers. God through his great love has provided us with so many ways to conquer sin that all we need to do is learn how to utilize them. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10: 1-6 that “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”. The biggest thing we must remember is that our flesh was NAILED on the cross, which means that we move from an earthly battle to a heavenly one. Paul says clearly that we do NOT war after the flesh, so this means we need to shift our focus. So what are we fighting against? Ephesians 6:11- 12 tells us to “Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. The Amplified breaks it out this way “Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places” (Amplified). From this we see that even though we are in the flesh our true battleground is not our flesh, but the enemy will try to deceive us and our flesh will try and resurrect it against us. Unfortunately, sometimes we are our worst enemy. In James 1:13 the Bible says “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”. If we are having flesh issues then we have a twofold problem. First we must realize that if there is a sin we are having a problem with then there is a chance that we probably enjoy doing it. Secondly, our enemy KNOWS that we like doing it and this is how he tempts us into sinning. However, even if we do enjoy it in the flesh our spirit man still hates it if we are truly born again. How many times have we sinned a particular sin we enjoy, but when it is over we feel like garbage or that we betrayed Jesus? That is the inner man letting us know that what we did is not right. So what are our weapons were for?

They are for the “pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and for bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. The first thing the mighty weapons are for is to pull down strongholds. The word strongholds here has the meaning of a castle or fortress. In life there will be times when we think we will NEVER get victory, and the areas we are fighting seem to be like a mighty fortress however the weapons of God dictate that we can pull them down. Next God gave us the weapons so that we can cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The word imaginations give the meaning of any reasoning that is hostile to the Christian faith. Also it tells us that we can cast down anything that exalts itself about even the knowledge of God!! (Are you starting to see the power we really have?) Finally, we have the power to bring some thoughts into the obedience to Christ. WHAT? NO!! We can bring ALL thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. If Christ is truly in us, we can conquer any thought that our mind or the devil can throw at us. As a side note Saints, we need Christians to get ahold of this today because Christianity is under such vicious attack for all angles and they are trying to battle with carnal weapons (voting, boycotting, and demonstrating). So who is the flesh’s main ally?

To be continued…