The inclination to sin never dies of old age. No matter how long we serve God, our weaknesses are always crouching at the doors of our lives. That which is the opposite of God’s will and plan for us is waiting to spring through any unwatched open door or window. Try as we might, we will never completely overcome every urge to sin on purpose. While we are walking on this earth, we will also never arrive at the place where we are immune to the sin that affects creation.
However, through Christ we can stand in righteousness. We can relish God’s grace and mercy. We can have the hope that as we mature spiritually, sin will have less and less power over our lives.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life* because you have been made right with God.11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,* you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,* you will live.14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children* of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.* Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”*16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:5-17)
There is a partnership between God and his children, those who have repented of their sin and committed to a life lived for him. We have a choice to serve God or serve our own purposes. As believers, we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the temptations that attempt to overwhelm us. The Holy Spirit is the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.The Spirit offers life and peace. We are no longer under obligation to sin or our old sin nature.
By contrast, those who are not redeemed and secure in Christ are slaves to their sinful nature. Sin is the definition of their existence. The Holy Spirit does not protect or empower them. As they live by the dictates of their sinful nature, their ultimate destination is eternal death.
As believers, we must cling to the promises of God and put to death the sinful nature that still resides in us. We must let the Spirit control us as we reject temptation and focus on the things of God. We cannot forget that Christ purchased our salvation and that God has plans for us in his kingdom.
We will always be inclined toward sinful pursuits to some extent. Sin will always be crouching at the door. We do not have to be slaves of sin. As we trust in God and join in the partnership he offers, we can resist. We can overcome. We can enjoy life and peace here on earth while awaiting the eternal hope that God has set before those who are his.