In our limited space, we will look at scriptures which teach that: 1) The old, sinful nature was judged by God on the cross; 2) The old nature is still in the believer and thus they have the POTENTIAL TO SIN; and 3) Christ’s death has provided the believer with the POTENTIAL NOT TO SIN.

  1. Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH” (NKJV). In the book of Romans we learn that Christ not only died for our SINS (i.e. what we DID), but He also died for our SIN (i.e. what we ARE). We were all “born in sin,” as David teaches us in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” This means that we all inherited SIN (the OLD NATURE) from our parents. In Romans 8:3 the old nature is called “SIN in the flesh.” God knew that the old nature couldn’t be improved upon or made better, so He CONDEMNED it. So, God not only judged our SINS in the death of His Son, but He judged the SIN nature that produces the sins that we commit. When Jesus died as our Divine Substitute, God saw every believer being judged as well. This is the truth of Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that OUR OLD MAN WAS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM.” This means that JUDICIALLY God no longer sees the believer as possessing the old nature; in fact, in His sight we are a New Creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. This is our blessed POSITION IN CHRIST!
  2. Romans 7:17-18 reads, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but SIN THAT DWELLS IN ME. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Paul is speaking here as a believer, so these verses teach us that as far as our actual EXPERIENCE goes, the old nature is still present. The presence of the old nature means, as we have said, that we still have the POTENTIAL TO SIN. Some have taught that the old nature has been eradicated, but that clearly contradicts what Paul teaches in Romans 7:13-25. We see this same truth in 1st John 1:8, “If we say that we have NO SIN (no “old nature”), we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
  3. Romans 8:2 declares, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” In Romans 7 we see the struggle between the old nature and the new nature, and how the old nature will always win out if the believer is trying to gain the victory over sin in his own strength. In Romans 8 we are introduced to the One (the Holy Spirit) who can and will give us the victory over sin if we allow Him to. He is the POWER within us that will enable us to live a holy life by occupying us with the life that we have in Christ Jesus! But I must stress the fact that we MUST YIELD OUR LIVES to the indwelling Spirit in order for us to experience this victory over sin. Ephesians 5:18 states, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.” In Galatians 5:16 we have this blessed promise, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” So, even though the old nature is still in us, the Holy Spirit is also in us to empower us for holiness. Thus, through Christ’s death and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the believer has the POTENTIAL NOT TO SIN. (311.3) (DO)