Dr. Couch, do we still have the tug of the sin nature in the Christian life?
ANSWER: There is a lot of confusion on this issue. While POSITIONALLY the old man was crucified with Christ we still wrestle with sin in the life. Romans 7:14, 17, 20, 21 are good verses that tell us we have a struggle even as Christians with sin. Paul writes: "I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin" and "sin which indwells in me," "sin which dwells in me" and "evil is present in me." This is not about our past position, it is about the present Christian and spiritual walk.
We read in Romans 6:6 that the "old self (old man) was crucified with Him." This is positionally truth. But then Paul adds that in our walk we should "no longer be slaves to sin" (6:6). Positionally, "we died with Christ (v. 8) and we now are "to live to God" (v. 10).
Therefore, in the walk we are "to consider, reckon" ourselves "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (v. 11). With a Present Imperative we are to "not allow sin to reign, rule in our mortal body that we should obey its lusts," again, in the walk. "We are not to be presenting the members of our body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but (instead) be presenting ourselves to God as those alive from the dead and our members as instruments of righteousness to God" (v. 13).
Those who have problems with the differences between POSITIONAL and EXPERIENTIAL truth get all of this confused. It really is very simply. For example, Paul says we are now "in the heavenlies" ("heavenly places") in God's viewpoint, that is, POSITIONALLY, we are there, in glory! (Because God is not bound by time!) But in our time-walk, in the daily experience, we are still living out the Christian life on earth.
May this help in our understanding in the struggle in the Christian life.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)