Doug Dodd on Stopping Sin

Below is my all-time favorite article by Pastor Doug Dodd, who graduated to be with the Lord a few years ago. This beautiful piece of writing helped me to realize that, yes, Joel, Paul is telling you in Romans 6 that you’ve literally been freed from the power and bondage of sin. PTL! Some of Doug’s other articles can be found here. Enjoy! -j

Stopping Sin in The Age of Grace

The train is coming down the track. You think you can beat it. You are in a hurry. You have things to do. You decide to make a run for it. Just as you get astride the tracks the train hits you.

It is a very familiar story. It happens every week. You cannot play with railroad crossings.

When I was young, about 40 years ago, I was told to be careful around railroad crossings. I was instructed to STOP – LOOK & LISTEN before I crossed. School bus drivers even today have the same instructions when crossing railroad tracks.

Sin for the believer is like that big locomotive roaring down the tracks. You cannot play around with it. If you get in its path it will have its way with you.

The opportunity to sin crosses our path many times each day. We are tempted to cut corners. To allow others to determine our state of mind. To lie in order to maintain order, relationships or just out of convenience. If you are saved and are living then sin is going to be a problem.

In this study we want to help you to understand that as a believer sin is no longer a dominating force in your life. We are going to Stop – Look & Listen to what the Word Of God has to say on Stopping Sin In The Age Of Grace.

FIRST of all lets STOP – LOOK – & LISTEN as we examine some of the facts concerning you, salvation and sin. These benefits are for saved people not unbelievers. If you are lost, not saved, have never put your trust in the finished work of Christ then this information does not apply to you and will not work for you. If you are not sure you are saved go to the portion of this study titled “Know So Salvation” and then come back here.

If you are saved the following statements are true of you. You many never have put them into operation, you may never have know of them or you may not have believed them, nevertheless they are true.

FACT: YOU ARE DEAD TO SIN

FACT: WE ARE ALIVE IN CHRIST

FACT: SIN RESIDES IN YOUR FLESH NOT IN YOUR SPIRIT OR SOUL

FACT: YOU HAVE BEEN SPIRITUALLY CIRCUMCISED

FACT: YOU ARE FULLY EQUIPPED RIGHT NOW – YOU LACK NOTHING

FACT: SIN DOES NOT CAUSE YOU TO DO ANYTHING

NOW lets look at each of these in turn.

FACT: YOU ARE DEAD TO SIN

VERSES:

Rom 6:2 … How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rom 6:6 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. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

COMMENTS: The verses are very plain. We, as believers, are said to be dead to sin and freed from sin. We have been crucified with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is “positional” body truth with a practical application. Rom 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

When Christ died we died with him. When he put to flight death and its power we were there with him. When he died unto sin once we were there with him. Does death have power over Christ? NO! Does sin have power over Christ? NO! Does death have power over us? NO! Does sin have power over us? NO! Why? Because we are “IN CHRIST”. What he has we share in.

This information has to be:

Believed – 1 Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Applied – Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Word Of God will effectually work in the believer. Do you believe it? If you do the next step is to apply the truth to your soul by “counting it to be so” that is to RECKON it.

The power to stop sin in your life comes from understanding that you are already free from it and then you begin to act like you are.

In a little bit we will get into more of the mechanics of how this can be but for right now you must take God at his word. That’s what faith is, taking God at his word. Simply believing what he says is true. God says clearly and plainly that we are freed from sin, we are dead to sin, we have been crucified with Christ. The question is: “Do you believe it?”

YOU do not stop sin by:

Confessing your sin

Praying for forgiveness

Feeling guilty

Trying to do better

YOU STOP SIN by the application of sound doctrine. Notice what Paul says: Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Conclusion: From God’s point of view you are “in Christ” When he sees you he sees his son. His son cannot die again, his son cannot sin. You are part of a total victory program “in Christ”. But practically this only takes effect as you believe the doctrine and then apply the doctrine.

FACT: WE ARE ALIVE IN CHRIST

VERSES:

Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

COMMENTS: God knows that we have infirmity, “The state of being weak in health or body”, “in” the flesh. He has taken measures to insure that while we are in the body we can have victory over sin. Paul says: ” 2 Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

This weakened state is overcome by our willingly yielding ourselves to do righteousness. This is possible only because we are “alive in Christ”. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind. Gal 2:20 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.

Again we are down to a choice. Do we cross the tracks without stopping – looking – or listening?

The choice we have is to live in Christ or live in the flesh. Again the Holy Spirit through Paul teaches us: Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

And again: Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

CONCLUSION: We are part of a total victory program over sin. This victory takes place on spiritual ground. When we choose to yield ourselves to God to do righteousness the power of God activates in the believer. Romans 8:11 is key to understanding this truth. The “quicken your mortal bodies” of this verse is not future but the present. It takes place now when we choose to apply sound doctrine.

When we STOP to think about what we are about to do. Look at who we are in Christ. And Listen to the Word of God the power of God that is already resident in our souls is available for our victory over sin.

FACT: SIN RESIDES IN YOUR FLESH NOT IN YOUR SPIRIT OR SOUL

VERSES:

Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 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 {in the flesh}. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. – (emphasis mine).

COMMENTS: It is clear from these verses and others we will consider under a different heading that sin resides in the flesh of the believer.

The old adage that says:…

We have been saved from the penalty of sin

We are saved from the power of sin

We will be saved from the presence of sin ( in the world and in our bodies)

… is applicable here. When we trusted Christ we were, past tense, saved from the penalty of sin which is spiritual death in the lake of fire. We are right now, present tense, saved from the power of sin, so that we can do what we could never do before – serve God. We will be, future tense, saved from the presence of sin. At the catching away of the believer, better known to some as the rapture of the church, we will be plucked out of this world of sin into a sinless environment. It is at this time that we will receive our new bodies which will be without sin. Phil 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 1 Corinthians 15 also teaches this truth.

We got a new spirit when we were saved. Our soul was redeemed so that we can say we are a new man or new creation, again “in Christ”. But sin lives in our flesh and tries to draw us away from the path of rectitude with the promise of physical delight or seduction. God, however, has so designed us that we can say no to the flesh. Certainly our spirit and soul can become corrupted by the flesh but sin can be removed from them while it cannot be removed from the flesh. The last part of our redemption has to do with getting a new body. Rom 8:23 … even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

CONCLUSION: Right now you and I have sin resident with us. It is carried about in our body, in our flesh. When we do sin it is because we have set aside, avoided, abstained from the application of sound doctrine. We have stopped thinking and started reacting – on purpose. It is not possible for a believer to engage in known sinful activity without choosing to do so.

The way we stop sin is to recognize that sin inhabits our bodies but does not have control over our will.

FACT: YOU HAVE BEEN SPIRITUALLY CIRCUMCISED

VERSES: Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

1 Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

COMMENTS: Here is a test for you. Walk up to anyone and say: “According to the bible we are made up of 3 parts, what are those parts?” Nine out of ten, if not higher, will respond with:

Body, soul and spirit. And they will put them in that order. It is very interesting to me that God puts the order in the reverse of that as the verse in 1 Thess. 5:23 says.

Why do people respond that way? I have asked literally thousands of people that question and the NATURAL answer is body first. We should not be surprised! Even unfallen Eve in the garden in Eden responded the same way. We are body oriented. We feed it, we clothe it, we wash it, we exercise it etc., etc., etc.. But God reverses the order. It is spirit then soul then body. Spiritual circumcision is something that took place the moment you trusted Christ. You did not sense it but it happened. Spiritual circumcision cuts the flesh of your body away from your spirit and soul so that you are no longer in bondage to the flesh.

Let me illustrate it for you like this:

In your minds eye draw three circles on a horizontal line and let the edges overlap a bit. It would look something like the Olympic symbol but with 3 rings not 5.

Label the first circle spirit, the second soul and the third body.

This is the condition of a lost man.

The dominate circle is the body. In simple terms it demands and we supply.

Now draw 3 more circles but do not overlap the 3rd one, the body but leave a gap.

In the gap draw a sword.

This is the condition of the saved man.

His flesh has been circumcised away from his spirit and soul according to the Word Of God.

Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

This is the mechanics of our victory over sin! When Christ was cut off we were cut off with him “in Christ”. The result was that he dies no more, the real and practical result for us is the “putting off of the body of sins”. Our spirit is no longer in bondage to the flesh and the sin that resides there. Our soul is no longer in bondage to the flesh and the sin that resides there. Our body, now through the application of sound, Pauline doctrine is to become submissive to our regenerated spirit and soul. That is, it takes on the function that it was meant to have the tabernacle of God.

1 Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

2 Cor 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This makes one want to say with Paul… Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

CONCLUSION: God has spiritually circumcised the believer so that he can function as he should. But sanctification still remains a choice. We have to believe the doctrine and apply the doctrine. We now have two natures. The old sin nature that resides in our flesh and the new man that resides in our spirit and soul. Before regeneration the OSN dominated the spirit and soul. But now “in Christ” the spirit and soul direct the body. And now you understand Romans 12:1 & 2.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The living sacrifice as the verse indicates is YOUR BODY!! And, by the way, it is not unreasonable.

FACT: YOU ARE FULLY EQUIPPED RIGHT NOW – YOU LACK NOTHING

VERSE:

Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

COMMENT: You already have all of the Holy Spirit you will get this side of glory.

You already have all the grace you are going to get. You have a completed revelation of the Word Of God. You have a part of a total victory program. You are complete “in Christ” and there you lack nothing.

CONCLUSION: God has made you complete in him, “in Christ” . Once you decide that this is true, once you exercise faith, once you choose to put down your thinking and accept who you are “in Christ” you will discover that sin can be stopped in the life of the believer.

FACT: SIN DOES NOT CAUSE YOU TO DO ANYTHING

VERSES:

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

COMMENTS: In Rom 5:14 the phrase “after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” doesn’t have anything to do with what Adam did but HOW he did it which was by choice. Adam did not have to sin. There were other options. He chose to do what he did and so sin passed upon all men. Adam in his “not yet fallen” state had to make a choice. You and I today, in our redemptive state have to make a choice. When we sin we have to choose to do so in the face of God’s complete and total victory program.

In 1 Cor.10:13 is the promise from God that we cannot be tempted above what we are able to bear. There is a way of escape. That way of escape is the application of sound doctrine in the heart (soul) of the believer.

CONCLUSION:

Sin does not MAKE us do anything. For a believer to sin in the dispensation of grace he has choose to do so in the light of all that God is free to do for us because of Calvary.

Victory over sin is accomplished through the application of sound doctrine, knowing what God has done for us and knowing who he has made us “in Christ” .

Final Conclusion

Based upon this study, victory over sin is not only possible it is part of the Pauline design for the edification of the believer. God truly has made us a part of a total victory program “in Christ” “. Why not begin today building sound doctrine into your soul through the Word Of God. Read through Romans chapter 6 several times. Meditate on its truths and apply them to your life.

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