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Many years ago I accepted Jesus as my savior in a small Baptist church. Up until that time I had never felt any guilt over sinning. Since that day though I have a guilt feeling every time. Years ago in a sermon the preacher said that the old person was crucified with Christ when he died on the cross, because Jesus assumed all sin of everyone who accepted him, and gave their sin burden to him. At the time he quoted a scripture which said that we became a new creature when we accept salvation. I found the scripture some years later; it is:

note: All scripture is quoted from the King James translation.

2nd Corinthians 5:17 So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

For many years, especially; as a child, and throughout my teens; every time I messed up I always wondered If I was really saved, since I was sinning again just as I had before. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked Jesus to save me again.

Recently I used a new study lesson which has caused me some deep self examination, because of these scriptures:

Rom 7:18 through 20

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find. For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do. But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me.

So I went back and restudied this scripture:

John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Then the next verse jumped out at me:

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

At the end of the lesson was these verses:

Rom 7:24 & 25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Taking both John 17:3 and Romans 7:18 through 23, Did we begin our new eternal life at salvation, but will not be able to escape the sin nature we got from Adam and Eve gaining the knowledge of good and evil until physical death?

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First of all, it's good that you feel "guilty" when you sin, that means your conscience has become much more active upon receiving the Lord. However, there is no need to dwell upon the fact of your sin afterwards, as Christ has died for us already and His blood washes us of all sins

Heb. 7:27 Who does not have daily need, as the high priests do, to offer up sacrifices first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Heb. 9:12 And not through the blood of goats and calves but through His own blood, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, obtaining an eternal redemption.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Note that 1 John is an epistle written to believers, so that implies that though we have been saved, we may still sin from time to time. Therefore just apply the blood of Christ, you are doing it right! :)

However, we can overcome our flesh and sin, and the answer lies in the following verses:

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves;

Rom. 6:11 So also you, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but living to God in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 6:12 Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body so that you obey the body’s lusts;

Rom. 6:13 Neither present your members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as alive from the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness to God.

Rom. 6:14 For sin will not lord it over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.

Here it says that we need to know that our old man has been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6) as a divine fact, that is, we reckon by faith that we are dead to sin, which means that in the face of sin, we are dead. That verse mentions that the result of our old man being crucified is that our body of sin is annulled, literally meaning "unemployed, jobless, inactive". By standing upon this fact in faith, we overcome sin. The way to do it is presented in Romans 8:

Rom. 8:1 There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.

Rom. 8:3 For that which the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh,

Rom. 8:4 That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

Rom. 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Rom. 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.

Rom. 8:7 Because the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither can it be.

Rom. 8:8 And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Rom. 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Yet if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.

Rom. 8:10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rom. 8:11 And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

Rom. 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh;

Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.

Verse 13 is quite clear that the way to put the flesh to death is by the Spirit, and the prior verses in Rom. 8 gives in detail how that works.

From Romans 7 (which you quoted), we see that we still have the flesh, and even Paul himself struggled with his flesh, and that there is a "law" in his members, that is, in his flesh, which works against the law in his soul that wants to follow the righteous law of God. Note that we can interpret the "law" in his flesh and in his soul not as something to be followed, but as like a natural law, such as the law of gravity. Therefore as long as we are in our flesh, we will constantly fail to please God and overcome our sins (Rom. 8:3-8). However, we see that we as believers are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1), and that we have received the "law of the Spirit of life" upon our salvation, which is stronger than the law of sin in our flesh. The way to overcome, then, is to live according to our spirit (Rom. 8:4), set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6). The Spirit of God which dwells in our spirit is the factor that overcomes the sins in our flesh (Rom. 8:9). Practically speaking, when we set our mind on our spirit, we are victorious and will not sin because of the law of the Spirit and life. However, whenever we set our mind to our flesh, we will fail. Therefore to overcome the flesh and sin, we must exercise to set our mind on our spirit (1 Tim. 4:7-8, Acts 24:16).

And finally, we have

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

The result of being in our spirit is that our being crucified with Christ becomes a reality. It is no longer us that try to be good and follow the law, but that Christ in us (in our spirit) would work out all things. We cannot overcome sin, but Christ can. Just allow Him to be the overcoming One in us

  • I do not disagree with anything you say, and I was aware of all you said. Unfortunately you did not answer my question. As I read your answer you are saying that I just do not have enough Christ in me, or am I misreading you? – BYE Mar 8 '14 at 20:10
  • well none of us have enough Christ in us right? Any way what I'm saying is that our old man has indeed been crucified with Christ on the cross as a divine fact, but we need to make it real in our experience through faith and by setting our mind on the spirit – Ruolin Mar 8 '14 at 20:58
  • @Ru, i would say: "Wrong". fiddling around with "enough Christ in us" is just another "goodness" or "works" measure made by mortals. it's really about grace. any of us who accepted Jesus are living in grace (sometimes we say "living by grace"). we have enough Christ in us, just as the vineyard laborers get the same pay, despite how much of the day they worked. realizing that this is a central question of the faith (the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection), i wouldn't dwell so much on any "substitionary death" explanation and just chalk it up as God's attitude toward death. – robert bristow-johnson Mar 9 '14 at 5:34
  • @robertbristow When I say "enough Christ in us", I'm referring to the maturity in life. Of course, we all have received this Christ and He is living in our spirit, but how much are you allowing Him to be the Lord in your soul (Col. 3:15)? In Eph. 3:17, Paul prayed that Christ would make home in the saints' heart. This means that Christ has not fully made His home in their heart yet, but is in the process of doing it. In 1 Pet. 2:2, Peter likened the newer believers to newborn babes who needs growth through the milk in the word unto salvation. This growth is the growth of the divine life. – Ruolin Mar 9 '14 at 16:50
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The categories you ask us to choose between are not the only ones. Here are two ways in which the eternal life of the gospel should be understood:

  • It is initially only a spiritual life. Before accepting Christ we are all spiritually dead. When the spirit indwells a Christian he will never again leave them, giving them permanent spiritual life. We will have a permanent physical life, but that will only begin at the resurrection (unless you're alive when Jesus returns again.)
  • We are seen by God to have legally died on the cross. This is the idea of federal headship, and is discussed in Romans 5. In short, before the cross we are seen to be a part of Adam and his judgement. After the cross we are seen to be a part of Jesus, so that we share his sinlessness, his righteousness and his new eternal resurrection life.
  • I do not disagree your ideas, but there are some aspects which I cannot align with some other understanding of scriptures, that I have, for instance I cannot align the concept of a permanent physical life with other Scriptures. I am not saying you are wrong I am only saying perhaps I do not yet fully understand all scripture, and may one day agree with you completely. – BYE Mar 9 '14 at 15:13
  • It's worth its own question, but the physicality of the resurrection is dealt with in the most detail in 1 Corinthians 15. If you do ask another question I'll be sure to take a look! – curiousdannii Mar 9 '14 at 22:23
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Protestantism - Justification by faith alone.

Did we begin our new eternal life at salvation, but will not be able to escape the sin nature we got from Adam and Eve gaining the knowledge of good and evil until physical death?

No. John 17:3 and Romans 7:18 through 23 gives 'the actual assumption (or hope) of a new Eternal life.'


But about what you said about sin/guilt, we all feel that. It is about taking care of the flock.

Remember the question "When are we forgiven ? Parable of the unforgiving debtor [on hold]". Someone gave us a good insight about the difference between being saved and being forgiven. Unfortunately, his answer got erased. I wish I had copied it.

The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21) thought he was saved. Thinking he had a scapegoat he did not forgive his fellow servant. But the Master found out and got punished. Not so forgiven nor saved after all.

If I'm forgiven or saved, it does not give me a scapegoat or license to sin. More like it's time to keep an eye on for my own sins and make disciples.

I got to keep on repenting. The Prayer of Faith James 5:13

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

After all, judgment and salvation happens at Rev 20:11. Then the Eternal life.

I think that is why Paul kept on being more and more like Christ (Philippians 3:1-14), no confidence in the flesh. That is why in Romans we see it is a curse to count on the flesh.

Happy Repenting and making Disciples of Christ Jesus.

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Did we begin our new eternal life at salvation, but will not be able to escape the sin nature we got from Adam and Eve gaining the knowledge of good and evil until physical death?

I think it helps to realize that we're all engaged a lifelong inner war between good and evil - namely, our new man's "the mind of the Spirit" versus our old man's sin nature, "the mind of the Flesh" (Rom 8:6) and Paul's exhortation for us to "put to death the misdeeds of the body" so as to "live" (Rom 8:13) is echoing Jesus command that we "take up our cross daily" (Luke 9:23), denying oneself and losing one's own life so as to find life i.e. eternal life (Mark 8:34-38).

Wasn't Jesus Himself actually taking up His cross daily living His whole life saying to the Father, "not my will, but thine be done"?

There are key differences been his cross and ours, however. His whole life he perfectly and fully took up his cross without ever putting it down; we do it hesitatingly and very imperfectly. His activity was primary; ours is secondary - contingent to his. Christ in us is actually the One mortifying our flesh: It's "by the Spirit" [His Spirit] that we "put to death the misdeeds of the body" (Rom 8:13); and it's in His Spirit that we "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

If Jesus whole life was a passion story it seems to me that neither can our own dying "with Him," our "crucifying the flesh and its passions," be confined to a particular conversion moment unless we are talking about the symbolic sacramental death-resurrection of water baptism alluded to in Romans 6.

Incidentally, should we think that to deny oneself and lose one's own life so as to truly live was something new that Jesus invented in the first century? I'd say it was already the way of experiencing the life that's "in Him" for thousands of years before Calvary. Every disciple who has ever lived has instinctively been doing it every day inasmuch as he or she is shunning evil in order to walk in the Light.

As I see it, our eternal life has already partly begun, but since we're imperfectly crucifying the flesh and its passions none of us is ever fully putting off our mortality, our "old man" with his "deceitful desires" (Eph 4:22) until after we leave this world, and neither are we fully experiencing yet the eternal life of the new man we're putting on.

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To understand the verses quoted in the question from Romans 7, the first few verses of the chapter are very important.

“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Romans 7:1–3, KJV 1900)

Now, to answer the question, who are the husband and wife of Romans 7:1-3:

"For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." (Romans 7:5, KJV)

Here he says, in the past we were in the flesh - So the husband and wife of Romans 7:1-3 are the flesh and the mind. This is made even clearer in the following verse:

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25, KJV 1900)

So, what is the problem with being married to the flesh? (mind being attached to the body is natural after all is it not?)

“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 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.” (Romans 7:17–18, KJV 1900)

The answer: Sin dwells in the flesh, and by being married to the flesh, we are married to the sin that dwells in it, for husband and wife is one flesh.

So what if we are married to sin?

The God said:

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:16, KJV 1900)

And the law says:

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14, KJV 1900)

And further:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.” (Deuteronomy 22:22, KJV 1900)

Now the full problem statement: Because we are married to sin, and God had said the wife shall submit to the husband, we are legally bound to obey sin which is in the body. If we say, I will obey Christ, we are committing adultery - when the old husband is alive, going after another man is essentially adultery.

This brings us to a dreadful point:

  1. If we sin - by breaking any of the 10 commandments (for ex: Thou shalt not steal) - we are worthy of death because we directly broke the law

  2. If we do not do sin - by obeying the 10 commandments (for ex: Not stealing when we have a desire to steal - or when our flesh clamors for some stolen goods), we are still committing sin - How? By disobeying our husband (sin) who is alive and going after another man (Jesus Christ)

This is why Righteousness by works is an oxymoron - it is not possible. By obeying the law we are actually committing sin.

This is why Paul says:

“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:22–24, KJV 1900)

What is the solution?

The law says the wife can remarry if the husband dies. The solution is not "Doing away with the law" as some Christians think, but rather dying in Christ, that we can be married to Jesus. When we accept the death of Jesus as our own, the old man is crucified (symbolically) and is therefore dead (symbolically). Now because the mind is free to remarry, we can be married to Christ. Now because we are married to Christ and God has said the husband shall rule over the wife, we should yield ourselves as servants of Jesus (Righteousness - Romans 6:19).

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4, KJV 1900)

Paul beautifully says this in Galatians 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.” (Galatians 2:20, KJV 1900)

Now, because the flesh is only symbolically dead and not literally, the desires of the flesh will still exist in us - the law of sin in the flesh will not die till flesh dies literally (i.e. our death). This is why Paul says:

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25, KJV 1900)

With the mind we are serving God as we have been married to Christ, but with the flesh we still serve the law of sin - our old desires and lusts still exist. These have to be overcome by the grace of God and hence not committing any sin. Simply put, we still have temptations but we resist them and do not commit sin.

When will this change:

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23, KJV 1900)

We are waiting for adoption which happens at the second coming - now the sin in the flesh will be done away with as we receive new flesh where dwelleth no sin

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 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.” (Philippians 3:20–21, KJV 1900)

Hope this helps!

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