...But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:13 NAS
Trying to overcome sin, our inherited Adamic sin nature that leads to acts of sin, by policing our flesh with the law, is part of the deceitfulness of sin. Part of the sin’s deceit is to keep us focused on our outward acts of sin, the symptoms while ignoring the core problem. Pointing us to our flesh and the law, sin deceitfully uses the law to harden the heart as exemplified in the Pharisees. The hard heart of the law keeper has an impossible time loving as Jesus does. This hard heart prevents the believer from doing the one thing that fulfills God’s specific intent for writing the law, the one thing that fulfills the entire law, LOVE. Love is the Spirit of all of God’s laws – Rom 13:8-10. Specifically, the love of God, the love of Christ flowing through us. The love of Christ that can love even our enemies and those the world hates. The love of Christ who forgave those who put Him on the cross and stood there mocking Him.
The Bible is crystal clear, LOVE is the only thing that fulfills God's law - Gal 5:14, Rom 13:8-10. Jesus lived, walked, breathed, died and rose again fulfilling the intent, purpose and desire of God's written law, LOVE. The Pharisee's, on the other hand, focused on the letter of the law hardening their hearts to God's purpose for the law, unable to LOVE as Jesus loved, unable to even recognize God's love in the flesh. While starting out with a sincere heart to please God, the Pharisees fell prey to the deceitfulness of sin.
The answer to our sin problem is not in the law of Moses that arouses sin - Rom 7:5. The truth is, the flesh will never defeat the flesh, overcome sin and the lusts of the flesh through God's written law. This is why the written law is not for the righteous. Those who have placed their faith and trust in Christ are the righteous in this next verse.
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy 1 Tim 1:8-9a NAS
The answer to our sin problem is in the same verse that talks about the deceitfulness of sin. In Heb 3:13 it tells us how to not be overcome by the deceitfulness of sin, “encourage one another.” It means to encourage one another in the faith of God’s promises.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, Heb 3:12-14 NAS
It means to keep the faith in what God tells us is true and eternal but is still unseen to us from the beginning of our walk with Christ until the end. Eyes off the old temporal creation that God sees as crucified and dead on the cross with Christ. Eyes fixed on Jesus and the New Righteous Creation we are in Christ, an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, knowing the love of God and knowing for certain God keeps His promises and we have eternal life.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:16-18 NAS
God recently pointed out to me that going back to the law as a Christian indicates doubt, a lack of belief, unbelief in God’s promises. Promises like John 3:16 and many other verses that promise we are saved by grace through faith alone. Unbelief in God’s promises that we are fully righteous in Christ - Rom 5:19 -, that we are already sanctified - Heb 10:10, holy – Eph 1:4, perfected - Heb 10:14 and complete – Col 2:10 in our born-again Spirit. Unbelief that God is not counting the sins – Heb 10:17 - of our dead flesh and that God sees our flesh as crucified and dead on the cross with Jesus – Gal 2:20 - where sin was condemned in the flesh. Unbelief that we are totally forgiven - Eph 1:7 – that we are no longer under the law but under grace – Rom 6:14 - where sin is not counted – Rom 4:15. Faith in all of God’s promises is the answer to our sin problem from start to finish. We can trust our heavenly Father’s word.
Our Sin Nature is the Core Problem that Can Only be Overcome God’s Way
We were made sinners by Adams disobedience. We inherited Adams fallen sin nature. A sin nature leads to acts of sin that lead to death.
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Rom 5:19 NAS
Our outward acts of sin have been fully dealt with on the cross and they are not the core problem. The letter of the law of Moses cannot deal with the disease within us. The letter of the law is like taking an aspirin for the flu. It does nothing to heal the flu, it can only help deal with and cover up the symptoms so we think we are better.
Without Christ, humanity’s only option is to try and deal with the symptoms through the law God has given us. This is part of God’s purpose for the law, to protect each other from the fallen nature we all house. But our world and jails are filled with clear evidence of how the law cannot solve the core problem of mankind’s inherited sin nature. The power of the law corrupts even those who profess to be law keepers. It shows their inherited sin nature still at work in their flesh through abuse of the law and its power. After years of enforcing the law God had given the Jews, the hard-hearted Pharisees could not even recognize the love of God in Jesus the Messiah. Thinking they were right with God on their own through the law, the deceitfulness of their sin nature had them consumed by the outward sins of pride, judgment, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. The letter of the law will do this to anyone if handled improperly. It will always lead to being burdened, feeling judged and judging others. This is why believers are qualified and called to minister by the Spirit that brings life and not the letter that brings death – 2 Cor 3:6.
The core problem is that we were all made sinners as Romans 5:19 states. We inherited a fallen sin nature from Adam that remains in the flesh of every person, even believers, until the day the flesh dies. You have this nature in your flesh and so do I. How we deal with it is key to our victory or struggle in this life as a Christian. Will it master us or will we master it. This truth God gave to Cain still applies today.
"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Gen 4:7
God did not, and we cannot rid ourselves of the inherited sin nature that still dwells in our flesh. Instead, to overcome this nature, God calls believers to see things as He does in the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit by faith and no longer in the flesh by sight.
For we walk by faith, not by sight-- 2 Cor 5:7 NAS
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:18 NIV
He calls us to see our flesh as crucified and dead on the cross with Christ and our perfection in the Spirit in Christ. Part of sins deceitfulness is to keep a believer dealing with the outward symptoms like the Pharisee’s, just as we did before we came to Christ while ignoring the core problem that can only be healed God’s way. Part of Satan’s deception to keep a believer in the flesh where he can attack them and out of the Spirit where believers walk in victory.
God’s way is the way of faith walking in the Spirit by faith, the law is not of faith and offers no hope to fix the sin nature that lies within.
However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM." Gal 3:12 NAS
It is only faith in God’s promises that works; it is faith that pleases God.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Heb 11:6 NAS
Faith in God’s promises is what Jesus is looking for in us.
"I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
The written law was given as a stop-gap measure, not a permanent solution. The law was given only until Christ would come and we could be justified, made righteous by faith.
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified (made righteous) by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Gal 3:23-26 NAS (emphasis mine- the Greek word used for justified is the same Greek word used for righteous, made righteous)
It is only faith in God’s promise that we are righteous in Christ, that Jesus is our righteousness, that overcomes the core problem, our inherited sin nature’s dominion in this life. When we believe the truth, our flesh is crucified and dead and we are righteous in Christ, as righteous as we can be in the Spirit, complete and perfected, we will then let go of the law that has nothing to do with faith. Believing what God says is true and eternal about us, but we cannot see yet, is how we walk by faith led by the Spirit.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Gal 5:18 NAS
To keep us under the law of Moses in our thoughts and minds is a goal of Satan. Walking under the law is walking by sight and not by faith. Scripture tells us that sin, our inherited sin nature, gets its power from the law. This is why Satan wants you to doubt God’s word and believe you are still under the law. The power of sin, the law, can only bring condemnation, guilt, fear, worry and death.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 1 Cor 15:56 NAS
The Bible promises that those who believe have eternal life and there is no condemnation for them - John 3:18, Rom 8:1. This is because we are no longer under the Old Covenant law of Moses that brings condemnation and death. Instead, we have inherited eternal life in Christ, a done deal in God's eyes.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1: 3-5 NAS
Trying to continually be right with God by the law when we are already right with God in Christ, is part of the deceitfulness of sin. Scripture clearly states we are no longer under the law of Moses, we are under grace – Rom 6:14. We are called and qualified to minister by the Spirit, love, that brings life and not the letter that brings death.
And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:5 BSB
Believing we are righteous in Christ by faith, is the doorway to walking in the Spirit by faith, the key to defeating the lusts of the flesh the law cannot overcome. When we focus on who we are in the Spirit, in Christ, our born-again righteous and perfected Spirit and its fruits dominate our life.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Gal 5:16-18 NAS
The firm, established belief that we are righteous in Christ, fully right with God the Father, allows us to let go of the law, the power of sin – 1 Cor 15:56, and trust Jesus 1,000 percent. Believing we are righteous in Christ and under grace and no longer under the law is specifically what scripture states removes us from under the dominion of our inherited sin nature in this life. If you do not want the inherited sin nature that still dwells in your flesh as a believer to have dominion over you, pay attention to what this verse is saying.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 ESV
Trusting Jesus 1,000 percent allows us to walk in the Spirit making Jesus the master of our life and removes our old master, our inherited sin nature from the throne.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 NAS
Romans 6:14 is telling us, if we still think we are under the law, our inherited sin nature will continue to be our master, will continue to have dominion over our lives. This is talking about the flesh and the works of the flesh being dominant in our life, having dominion over our lives. God wants us walking in the Spirit, our born-again Spirit to be dominant in our life where the fruits of the Spirit are supernaturally produced and prevail over the lusts of the flesh.
According to scripture, walking in/by the Spirit is the only thing that defeats the lusts of the flesh, our inherited sin nature and its acts of sin. Those who walk in the Spirit, walk by the Spirit naturally.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal 5:16 NAS
Doing things Gods way addresses the core problem of our inherited sin nature. You must always remember that even though a believer is born again in the Spirit, the fallen sin nature still dwells in our flesh. You will always have your sin infected flesh to deal with in this life. Paul talks intimately about his battle as a believer in Romans 7:14-25 with this fallen nature. He discovered something very important to remember, the flesh will never defeat the flesh, never defeat itself, by the law or any other means. He also discovered how to overcome and defeat the flesh by walking in Christ, in the Spirit.
The Conflict of Two Natures
14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Next, Paul talks about how he experienced victory over his inherited sin nature, the sin that he realized dwelt in his flesh. He understood to have victory over our fallen flesh, we must set our minds on and walk in the Spirit by faith. This gives our perfected Spirit dominion in our life.
Deliverance from Bondage
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:1-7 NAS
To have victory over the sin nature that still dwells in our flesh, we must walk in the Spirit by faith. This is done by fixing our eyes on what is unseen and God tells us is true. We fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and His finished work that has made us righteous, sanctified, holy, perfected and complete in the Spirit, in what is eternal. We renew our mind to who we are in Christ, believing God we are a New Righteous Creation in Christ. In Christ, a person is born again, a New Creation in the Spirit. Our born-again Spirit is circumcised from our flesh. Righteous, set apart, sanctified, made holy and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Whatever we focus on will have dominion in our life. We can focus on the old creation, our crucified and dead flesh trying to resurrect it, or we can focus on the New Born-Again Righteous Creation we are in the Spirit, in Christ. The one we choose to focus on will have dominion, be the master in our life.
We can only overcome the lusts of the flesh God’s way as Paul did. If you want to overcome the lusts of the flesh, study the New Covenant Jesus death and resurrection brought us. I have written several studies on how to walk in the Spirit by faith and they go into more depth. Some are listed at the bottom of this study.
More New Covenant Studies that Apply:
Walking by the Spirit is Gods Will for Your Life, Guaranteed
How to Walk by The Spirit
How to Walk in the Spirit Instead of the Flesh
Look Through the Eyes of God and Walk in the Spirit
Stop the Adam Struggle by Walking in the Spirit
I Am a New Creation IN CHRIST
Why Don't I look Like a New Creation in Christ in the Mirror?
Your Flesh is Dead Christian, Not in School
If Your Faith is in Christ, Your Flesh Has Been Circumcised, Cut Off
How Does Jesus Set Us Free from Our Body of Death?
How is the Flesh Crucified?
Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross.
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20