On July 4th, 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote some of the most powerful words in all of history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
On that day in 1776, the founders declared America’s independence from Britain. Everybody knows this—but the fact we tend to gloss over is that the fight wasn’t finished right then and there. They kept fighting for that freedom until 1783—seven more years of struggle and sacrifice. In fact, “we the people” didn’t adopt our Constitution until 1787, more than 11 years after those 56 men gathered in a room and signed their names to a piece of parchment that said there’s a better way for men and women to live: in freedom.
There is a worse bondage than that of political dependence, one that is able to enslave the soul. Romans 5:12 says, “So death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We were all held in bondage as sin’s slaves, subject to its penalty. But because of Christ, His death, and His resurrection, we have freedom from the penalty of sin. You see, sin’s authority over people who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ has been completely removed. Our death to sin has freed us from sin so that it no longer rules over us. Sin once reigned and its reign resulted in death (Romans 5:21), but the penalty of sin’s reign has come to an end (Romans 6:12) for the believer.
But the struggle has just begun. While sin’s penalty no longer reigns over us, we struggle every day with its power. Sin pulls relentlessly at the hem of our garments, and leans against us slightly, yet persistently, until we bow under its enduring weight. This is the power of sin.
Again and again the New Testament encourages us to fight against sin, by:
- Presenting our members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6)
- No longer making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14)
- Putting off the old nature (Colossians 3)
- No longer walking according to the flesh (Romans 8:13)
- Not loving the things of the world (1 John 2:15)
So today, would you declare you dependence on Christ? Realize that by yielding to His Spirit and obeying His Word you can fight against the power of sin. But it will be a fight. Love for the things of the world will try to steal your love for God. So in order to fight against the power of sin you must decrease your love for the world and increase your love for God.
This is a struggle because many of the things that rob us of our freedom from sin’s power are morally neutral. They’re not inherently bad things. Facebook is not bad. I enjoy TV, but it doesn’t take long for me to begin to find humorous on TV what the Lord finds heartbreaking. Sports are not bad, but if I start watching sports, I begin to care too much. If what a 19-year-old kid does with a ball begins to ruin my day, that’s a problem.
These are the kinds of things that rob my love for Christ and set me back under the power of sin. Fill your life with things that stir your love for Him.