Sin No Longer “Living” In Us- Romans 7:20

In our previous post, we examined the importance of the issue of identity, as well as the fact that our identities are derived from someone else, that we would have no identity apart from a relationship with others. We will now demonstrate biblically why this is true, then examine the implications which this has in the lives of believers. We now turn to Genesis 2 for further insight into all of this. In Genesis 2:7, we find that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul”. We first note the use of the word “man” here, which is the Hebrew word “Adam”. The man receives his identity (his name) from God. We then find that God breathes the “breath of life” into Adam and he becomes a “living soul”. Adam also receives his very life from God. Life in the Bible is defined in reference to God, who is the source of life. To be alive is to be united to God, and to be dead is to be separated from Him. Adam is a living soul because he is a soul united with God, and he “dies” when his sin brings separation between he and God. Adam receives both his identity and his life from God. We see then, in verse 19, that Adam names each of the animals, and, in verse 23, that Adam gives Eve her name. So we see here that every one of us receive our identity from others, we look to others to define ourselves, we have no identity apart from a relationship with others. So what does this have to do with Romans 7:20? Remember that in this verse Paul tells us that he does what he does not want to do, and that sin causes him to do so. In Acts 17:28, Paul tells us that “in Him we live and move and have our being”. The words “live and move” are in the passive voice, while the word “have our being” (literally “are”) is in the active voice. What this tells us is that our being compels our living and moving, that what we do (behavior) flows from what we are (identity). What Paul tells us in Romans 7, then, is that it is “sin” which causes us to act contrary to what we are. We are saints, but sin causes us to act in some very “unsaintly” ways, which is what Paul was lamenting in Romans 7. So what is Paul’s solution to this dilemma, how do we go about living out our true identity? We find his recommendation in Romans 12:2, where he tells us “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. As we have seen, how we see ourselves will heavily influence our behavior, and Paul tells us here that we need to learn to see ourselves as God does (renew our minds), to look to God to tell us who we are, rather than letting the world do so. As we do so, as our minds are renewed, our behavior will then begin to line up more with our true identity, we will less and less find ourselves doing what we do not want to do, the less place we give for “sin living in us” to do it.

No Comments Christianity  //  Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  Growing In Grace  //  Transformation

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