In Part 1 of this series, we learned that every person is born with a sin nature as a result of the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. We also learned that the only way to break free from being a servant to the sin nature is to become born again (i.e. repent from our sins and put our faith exclusively in Jesus Christ and Him crucified).
The next thing we need to know if we are to live in victory over the sin nature is that our sin nature is not removed when we become born again. There are sects which teach that because born again believers are new creations in Christ, we no longer have a sin nature. That is simply not true. It is true that while the sin nature once ruled like a monarch on the throne of our hearts, it was dethroned the moment we were born again. However, it still has the potential to reign if we do not understand God's plan of victory.
Beginning in Romans 5:21 and continuing until the end of Romans Chapter 6, the Apostle Paul deals with the subject of the sin nature. He begins by saying that while "sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign..." (Rom 5:21). The word sin, as it is used here, does not refer to acts of sin. Sin is used as a noun here. It is even personified as something that can rule and reign. What Paul is addressing here is the sin nature. But notice that he says grace MIGHT reign. The idea is, that if we do no learn how to live under grace, the sin nature will continue to reign. That's why Paul tells us in verse 14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace." Grace breaks the dominion of the sin nature, but if we continue to live under law, the sin nature will continue to reign.
From Romans 5:21 to Romans 6:23, every time the word sin is used, it is referring to the sin nature. The only exception is verse 15, which refers to acts of sin. The greek word that is translated sin is "hamartia," which is a singular noun. As well, in all but two instances, the word sin is preceded by the definite article, meaning the literal translation is "the sin." This can be seen in Young's Literal Translation. The idea, once again, is that the subject is not acts of sin, but the principle or presence of sin within the human being that is the source of acts of sin (i.e. the sin nature, the Adamic nature, the old man dominated by sin, etc.).
If you are one that doesn't care for alternate translations or Greek definitions, just look at how the word sin is used from Romans 5:21 through Romans 6:23. Sin is something that can reign (5:21, 6:12), something we are told not to obey (6:12), something that can have dominion (control) over us (6:14), and something we were once servants to (6:17, 6:20). Once again, the subject of Romans 6 is not acts of sin, but rather the sin factory that exists in our flesh known as the sin nature. I highly recommend you go read Romans 6 again with this in mind. It will be most clear in a word-for-word translation, especially in the KJV.
In response to the false claim that a born again believer no longer has a sin nature, I have 4 quick points.
1. If you don't have a sin nature, why are you still sinning? Don't you still live in the same body that has has been corrupted by the sin nature we inherited from Adam? While we can live free from the dominion of the sin nature in this life, it will not be taken away until we receive a new body in the Resurrection.
2. If we don't have a sin nature, why does Paul say "let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."? (Rom 6:12). If we no longer had sin in our mortal bodies, we wouldn't need to be told not to let it reign.
3. If you believe that our body sins, but our spirit does not, why does the Bible say, "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh AND SPIRIT, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."? (2 Cor 7:1).
4. According to 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:10 addresses those who falsely claimed they have not sinned, referring to acts of sin, but here in verse 8, John addresses the false claims of those who say they have no sin nature. Just as in Romans 6, the greek word translated "sin" in 1 John 1:8 is "hamartia," which is a noun. He's addressing those who say they no longer have the indwelling presence of sin.
Beginning in the next part to this series, we will start to learn how to live in victory over the sin nature. We cannot attain perfection, but we can see real change and experience real victory. However, if one is living in denial of the truth that born again Christians still have a sin nature, victory will be unattainable.