Satan and Sin are two different nouns. They are not one in the same.
To understand Romans and much of the New Testament we must understand that in Romans the word “Sin” (266 - Hamartiais in the Greek) is a noun, 48 times. The verb “sin” is used only seven times in the book of Romans.. In the entire New Testament, Sin is a noun 177 times here and here, and a verb 43 times.
Sin the noun is talking about our inherited Sin nature from Adam. Just like a dog wags its tail by nature, your Sin nature sins by nature. The reason you need to be born again is so that you can escape this inherited nature and be an heir of Jesus instead of Adam. Those who stay under Adam inherit death. Those who are born again inherit eternal life.
Sin (noun)* is our inherited fallen nature from Adam that is addicted to sin (verb). In this study, I will use uppercase Sin to indicate our inherited Sin nature and sin to indicate the action of sinning.
We were made Sinners. If you were made a drug addict, you would use drugs. A person who is made a Sinner by nature, sins. Their drug of choice is sin. We were born with a nature that has an addiction to sin.
For as by the one man’s (Adam) disobedience the many were made sinners, Rom 5:19a
Satan’s job is to work overtime to tempt our inherited Sin nature to act out in sinful ways. If we let him, he then uses the law to condemn us for our sins.
Think of Satan as a drug dealer and your Sin nature as a drug user. Our inherited Sin nature is addicted to sin. It is like a drug addict that cannot get enough. Like a drug addict, when you command it to stop, it wants to do it all the more. I have heard addicts talk about the addict within them that is running their lives. I also experienced this truth personally years ago.
Addicts are trapped, held captive, in what today is called an “addiction cycle.” The temptation to feel better, use drug, ensuing guilt, shame fear, and condemnation. The temptation to feel better, use the drug again to escape guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation. The temptation to feel better, use the drug again to escape, more guilt shame, fear and condemnation……. and on and on.
Here, Paul talks about the addict Sin, that lives in him and is addicted to sin. If you have any experience with addicts or alcoholics, you will recognize it. With a few simple word changes, it could be a letter from your best friend who has a drug addiction problem.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but Sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but Sin that dwells within me. Rom 7:15-20 ESV
Paul is describing being trapped, held captive by his Sin nature: the temptation to feel better, sin, more guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation, temptation to feel better, sin again to escape, more guilt shame and fear……. and on and on.
A drug addict uses drugs initially due to the temptation to feel better. When Satan tempts our Sin nature, he always makes it seem attractive to lead us to sin. It will benefit you or make you feel better are lies he uses. He never says it leads to death.
The guilt, shame, fear and condemnation after sin, come from the conscious knowledge that sin is wrong before God. It comes from the law that brings judgment and condemnation. In Romans 7, Paul goes into detail about how the law aroused his Sin nature and led him to sin more.
But Sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, Sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, Sin came alive and I died. Rom 7:8-9 ESV
Paul writes more about the battle he was in with his Sin nature and how he could not escape on his own. Here he calls it the law of sin.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of Sin that dwells in my members. Rom 7:21-23
You can see your Sin nature in one simple question. What does it want to do when it sees a sign that states “Wet Paint Do Not Touch?” Your mind knows the law on the sign makes sense, but your Sin nature wants to touch it.
From the very beginning, God talks about Sin the noun, our inherited Sin nature, while talking to Cain just before he killed Able.
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Gen 4:7 ESV
Did you notice that God states that our Sin nature is contrary to us? That is exactly what Paul experienced in his battle when he stated: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."
Breaking the Addiction Cycle of Sin
To break and addiction cycle you need to remove the primary driver that is fueling the cycle. The driver of our Sin nature is the law. It arouses Sin and then kills and condemns us for our acts of sin. In the Bible, sin is defined as transgression of the law. Our Sin nature is a nature of rebellion against God. It survives on doing what it is told not to do, sin.
For while we were living in the flesh, our Sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Rom 7:5 ESV
But Sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Rom 7:8
The temptation to sin comes with the lie that it will benefit us in some way and we insanely believe the lie, again and again, continuing in the cycle over and over, hoping for a different result. We struggle and battle just like Paul, in our minds we know the law is good but our Sin nature desires to transgress the law. The only way to stop the arousal of our Sin nature, kill our Sin nature if you will, is to remove the law that condemns, and this is exactly what Romans 7 is all about.
For apart from the law, Sin lies dead. Rom 7:8b ESV
Released from the Law
Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Rom 7:1-6 ESV
If You Are Born Again, Christ Has Already Released You from the Law
There can be no condemnation or death for those who are in Jesus because you are free from the ministry of condemnation and death, the law.
For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 2 Cor 3:9 ESV
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 2 Cor 2:7 ESV
In Christ, you are under grace and not the law that condemns and leads to death.
For Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 ESV
Paul learned that the only way escape the law and break his addiction cycle was to trust in Jesus and trust God’s way to defeat Sin, to believe God that he was free from the law and under grace in Christ.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom 7:24 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Rom 8:1-4 ESV
I Do Believe in Jesus, Why Does My Life Still Look Like Sin Has Dominion? I Want to Be Free From Sin
According to God’s word, you do not believe that you are no longer under the law. Instead, you believe Satan’s lie that you will dive deep into sin if you fully trust God and believe His word that you are set free from the law. Therefore, in your mind and thoughts, you are under the law and sin continues to have dominion.
God’s ways are not our ways and to the man of flesh more grace seems like a license to sin. Man’s way is to preach more law. But that is the lifeblood of our Sin nature and will arouse it even more. The flesh can never be overcome by the flesh.
“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col 2:21-23
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Gal 3:1-6 ESV
God’s way is an abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness in Christ that leads a believer to reign, have dominion over Sin in this life.
For if, because of one man’s trespass (Adam), death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 5:17 ESV
When the Bible tells us to make no provision for, and crucify our flesh, some actually hang themselves on a cross, but most impose the law upon themselves and others in a goodwill attempt to stop sin by the flesh and please God. But the Bible teaches we are already crucified with Christ; this means we are dead to the law, and that is the point.
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ Rom 7:4a ESV
Freedom from the law is death to our Sin nature.
If you are not free from the law in your mind, this is not something unique to you. Most believers are in the exact same place. Unfortunately, this is the fault of far too many believers, believing and preaching a mixture of the Old Covenant law and New Covenant grace. Stop following your read the Bible in one year plan that mixes the Old with the New like they are one, and study the New Covenant exclusively for a year, renewing your mind to God’s truth, and your life will be transformed. Jesus shed His blood for the New Covenant of grace not the Old Covenant of law.
You must also realize that your flesh will never be perfected, this is why it must die. So show yourself grace as you will never cease sinning completely. If you try and force yourself to comply using your flesh, you are setting down a law that will arouse your Sin nature. I strongly suggest you keep your Sin nature apart from the law and dead.
So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of Sin. Rom 7:24
Keep the truth in mind that law arouses our sinful nature as you interact with your kids and spouse too. Placing them under your law will surely activate their inherited sin nature and will create a cold distance that can ruin relationships. Instead, use grace and God’s wisdom to build a close relationship where there is openness and love and not fear of openly discussing things.
You are born again of the Spirit and perfect in God’s eyes when you trust Jesus. Once you realize how much God really loves you and that you have been totally forgiven of past, present and future sins, you will love much - Luke 7:47. Love is the only thing that fulfills the law, and it does so by default, without even thinking about it. Gal 5:14, Rom 13:8-10.
Focus on the solution in Jesus, not the problem, and it will change your life. First, study and seek His righteousness Matt 6:33. Click the link below for several studies on His righteousness.
Many New Covenant Studies HERE.