This is Part 1 of a 2 part post.
Like many Christians, I grew up believing I was an unworthy “sinner saved by grace,” and because I have a sin nature I’m destined to sin and fail God every day until I die, no matter how hard I try to obey His Laws.
I overflowed with hope every Sunday, but outside of church I was hopeless. On one hand I was told to quit sinning and to obey God’s laws, on the other I was told that I can never quit sinning because I have a sin nature.
I sang the songs and prayed the prayers, telling God I really wanted to be good and begging Jesus to “make me clean” and “purify my heart,” but subconsciously I never truly believed that would happen until I died and went to heaven (which led to the logical question, “what’s the point of continuing to be alive if I’m doomed to repeat this terrible cycle for my entire life?”).
As you can see, contrary to what modern critics of grace say, it wasn’t grace that gave me a license to sin, it was their teachings that I had a sin nature and I was prone to sin.
Everything changed when I learned how much I had been misinformed about sin, the sin nature, and what Jesus really accomplished on the cross. [tweetable alt=””]Discovering that I’m a saint not a sinner was the single biggest event in my life.[/tweetable] I love to bring that discovery to others, it’s the reason this site was made.
With all of that said, here are 10 Bible verses that prove you don’t have a sin nature.
1. I’m Not Controlled by the Sin Nature
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. (8) Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
(9) You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”
One of the most interesting things about this verse is it follows directly after Romans 7. Romans 7 is the world-famous chapter Christians use to justify their struggle against a sin nature.
All through Romans 7, Paul talks about a man held hostage to the law of sin and death. However when he gets to Romans 8 he gives us a happy ending, telling us that Jesus has (past-tense) freed us from that law.
In Romans 8 he briefly returns to talking about a mind governed by the flesh (“sin nature” in some translations). He talks about how the mind corrupted by the sin nature is hostile against God. No matter how much it tries, it can do no good, and those who are under the influence of the sin nature cannot please God (sound like the man in Romans 7?).
This is terrible news, because many Christians believe that they are under the influence of this sin nature (not just “the” sin nature, but “their” sin nature). In this mindset they believe they can do no good and can never please God, because they are ruled by the sin nature. It strips away all hope and reduces freedom to a thing we get when we die, rather than what Jesus gave us to enjoy in this life.
But look at verse 9! “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh (in other words, you’re not in a country where the sin nature has influence or holds power over you), but are in the realm of the Spirit (you’re in a country where the Spirit of God has power), if the Spirit of God lives in you.”
Does the Spirit of God live in you? Here are a few verses to help you decide: Gal. 4:6, 1 Cor. 6:17, Gal. 2:20, Col. 1:27.
Paul goes on to say that if you don’t have the Spirit of Christ, you don’t belong to Christ. So I ask again, do you have the Spirit of Christ? Good! So you belong to Christ? Good! So the verses about the man being controlled by the sin nature aren’t about you? Good!
That leads us to the next verse…
2. The Sin Nature Crucified
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sin nature to his cross and crucified them there.”
When I believed I had a sin nature, most of my prayers consisted of apologizing for sinful desires and lustful thoughts I didn’t want, but believed were being generated by my “wicked heart.” I didn’t know about the verse above that says if you belong to Christ you’ve crucified the sin nature along with its passions and desires.
What happens to those who are nailed to a cross and crucified? They die. It’s not a peaceful or private death either. It’s a long, excruciating, humiliating death. You’re put on display and shamed in front of the entire world (Col. 2:15)…
That’s what happened to your sin nature on the cross.
3. The Sin Nature Circumcised
“When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.“
As taboo as talking about the human anatomy is in much of the church, this is a really good illustration of what happened to your sin nature.
Most of you know what circumcision is (for those who don’t, it’s where someone who is hopefully a doctor cuts off an extra chunk of skin from the male penis, called a foreskin). I won’t go into that in detail. However I do want to help you connect the dots and show how this relates to the sin nature.
Those of you who have ever scraped a knee have probably noticed how as the wound is healing, skin will begin to peel off. That’s the dead skin that lost connection to the flow of blood in your body (which is its source of life). In the same way, when the foreskin is removed during circumcision, it’s disconnected from the source of life.
What happens? The cutoff skin shrivels up and dies.
That skin doesn’t wait around looking for an opportunity to reattach itself. Once it’s disconnected from the body, it’s dead and it can’t come back.
Now when Paul says that you received a spiritual circumcision from Christ, “the cutting away of your sin nature,” he’s saying that Christ removed the sin nature so far from you, it’s like flesh that has been cut off, shriveled up and died; it has no source of life in you.
It’s not still alive in the shadows, conspiring against you, trying to trip you up. It’s dead for good!
If you’re curious about what is tripping you up, this post goes into more detail about that, and I’ll touch on that in part 2 as well.
4. The Rebirth
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.“
This is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible! The implications here are huge, and they don’t just apply to the subject of the sin nature.
In Romans 5, Paul makes a comparison between Adam and Christ, saying that humanity died through its connection to Adam, but through its connection to Christ those who died will live.
Why did humanity die in Adam? Because he’s mankind’s physical father. Every human is a descendent of Adam, and through Adam’s sin all of humanity inherited the sin nature (the same way a baby contracts HIV through the blood of the parent).
So was Jesus born into sin? Did He have a sin nature like all of the other humans who were born? No. Why not? Because like Adam, Christ isn’t a descendent of another man, He descended directly from God.
The same way God breathed into the dirt and formed Adam, God breathed onto the womb of Mary, and Jesus was conceived. Both Adam and Jesus have that in common: although both had the ability to sin, neither was born with a sin nature.
So where do you fit into all of this? Well, the verse above says that those who received Jesus were given the right to become children of God. They were reborn.
This second birth wasn’t like the first where they were birthed through human will, becoming natural descendants of Adam and inheriting the sin nature. This time they were born of God, the same way Adam was in the beginning, and the same way Jesus was in the womb of Mary–through His Spirit.
Where do we see an example of this? John 20:22, when Jesus breathed on the disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Although they didn’t turn into physical babies, they received the Spirit of God and were born again.
In the same way, you have the Spirit of God and are no longer descendants of Adam (the man through which you inherited a sin nature), but now you are descendants of God (through whom you inherit the nature of God).
Let’s look at that a little deeper…
5. The New Species
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Cor. 5:17
This verse has one of the most exciting conclusions in all of scripture, especially concerning the sin nature.
What are the real implications of being a new creation? Does it mean we just received a second chance? A redo at life and trying to please God? God wiped us down with grace and rinsed us off with the blood of Jesus? No.
It’s far better than a spiritual sponge bath!
The word new here in the Greek is “kainos.” It’s not “new” as in “I bought some turtle wax and shined up my car to look brand new!” It’s new as in, imagine you’ve spent you’re entire life riding around on a horse, and then somebody drives by in an Italian supercar.
To be more specific, the Greek meaning is that what is “new” has never been seen before. It’s not like a new model iPhone (an upgrade with a few new features and minor tweaks), it’s a new thing altogether.
In the context of living beings, it’s an entirely new species.
We call ourselves sons of God by spiritual relation to God, but the implications here are much larger. “Sons of God” isn’t only a description of children in relation to their Father, but a description of an entirely new species of beings.
God didn’t only clean up our old sinful selves–the old you wasn’t upgraded, it was destroyed.
“I have been crucified with Christ…”, “You are dead to sin…”, over and over throughout scripture Jesus and Paul keep returning to the point, “When you die you will become new.”
So this “new” you is entirely new, like the day God breathed into the dust and a new being rose out of the dirt. Before that day, “man” didn’t exist, and when you became a “new creation,” you became a being that had never been seen or comprehended before Jesus (He’s “the firstborn of many brothers,” according to Romans 8:29).
In Christ you became like Christ (1 John 4:17): a hybrid of God and Man. Since this new man was created brand new–not just an old man repaired and restored–he was created without the sin nature that plagued the old man. He was created to be influenced and empowered by the Spirit of God, not the sin nature.
What do you think? Is this good news? This is only the beginning! Are you ready for Part 2?