One of the great questions many people have of Christianity is the question of how to break free from sin. In this article I will answer that question from a biblical perspective.
We are going to begin in John 8. Jesus is having a discussion with the Jews and he had stated to them just a couple of verses earlier, that they would know the truth and the truth would make them free. And then, Jesus begins to talk about freedom. Now the Jews who were listening did not quite grasp the truth that Jesus was telling them. They said to him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, we have not been in bondage to anyone.” How can you speak of making us free? You see they were thinking of political freedom. That is an important freedom. But there is another freedom that has even more impact than political freedom. That is to be free from sin.
And that is what Jesus was referring to. John 8:34-36 “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
If the Son makes you free, you will be what? Free indeed. Completely free. Not partially free. Free. Many believers hear this and wonder how to break free from sin because it seems to be a constant struggle.
I believe that every person who has fully trusted in the shed blood of Jesus for their salvation needs to fully grasp and understand the incredible amazing powerful words of promise that Jesus gave here. If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. I want you to understand, that the greatest human need that any person on the planet has is derived from the fact that the human race is a fallen race. We live in a fallen world. According to the Bible, every human being on the planet was born into sin. We live in a world tainted by sin.
The scripture is very plain. Sin separates us from God. We are born into this world as sinners. There is absolutely not anything that we can do in and of our own selves to truly save ourselves. The scripture says it, “There is none that is righteous, not even one.” We needed someone to save us. That someone is Jesus. Jesus came to set us free from sin.
Contrary to what many people teach and preach today.
Jesus didn’t die for our negativity.
Jesus didn’t die for bad feelings.
Jesus didn’t die for our low self-esteem.
Jesus didn’t die for our poverty.
Jesus didn’t die for our hurts.
Is Jesus concerned about those things? Sure, he is concerned for every aspect of our lives. But the chief reason why Jesus came to die was to pay the penalty for our sin. Once that penalty was paid, he declared, “It is finished.” He was saying the price is paid-the wrath of God is satisfied. Jesus knew that His death on the cross, would satisfy the judgment of God against sin.
Now the good news is that we can have forgiveness of sin. “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But Jesus death did more than provide forgiveness. It also gave us the power to overcome sin. Jesus death broke the chains of the enemy. Jesus death provides freedom.
In the book of Luke 4, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah as he shared his mission.
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
I love the old hymn.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
This message is about the glorious good news not only of forgiveness but of freedom from sin.
To answer the question of how to break free from sin, there are three things we must understand.
Sin makes people its slave. John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
When you sin, you become a slave to sin. Now Satan is a liar, we know that. He tells people this lie, live however you want, do whatever you want, and will be free. You are free to live however you want. He tells the youth you are free to have sex with whoever you want to have sex with. He tells people, you don’t need marriage, just live with whoever. He tells men and women alike, you can have an affair, it won’t hurt you, you are free. And all the time, he is putting on the shackles, bringing them into bondage.
You don’t have to go far in our culture to find people who have become slaves to sin. The man who has to have a drink every day and drinks until he is drunk is a slave to sin. Alcohol is his master. It will ultimately ruin his life. Those who do illegal drugs or those who abuse prescription drugs will soon discover that sin gets control of them, and they do things they would not do. A man clicking pornography is a slave to sin. If you are filled with hate, it ultimately will control you. If you are filled with prejudice and hate, it will control you. Its easy for us to see that as we look at more vulgar sins.
But what about bitterness?
What about gossip?
What about envy?
What about cheating on your income tax?
What about taking the Lords name in vain?
What about lying?
What about shading the truth a little?
How many of you agree, that the person who sins becomes a slave to sin? Tell a modern person that sin makes them a slave, they will laugh and say these words: You have heard it. “I can stop any time I want.” Really? Then do it? And let me tell you this…that the longer you do something that is sinful, the more entrenched in bondage you become.
The second thing you need to realize
- The path to freedom is becoming a son or daughter of God.
John 8:35 Jesus said, “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” Our relationship with God is based on the faith we have in Jesus. It is by faith in Christ finished work on the cross and by grace can become children of God. John wrote in his gospel in John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:”
The moment you put your trust, your hope in what Jesus has done for you, and accept the sacrifice that he paid on the cross, and believe that Jesus died for you, that he was buried and raised again, and you receive Him as your personal Savior, something supernatural happens.
Your name gets written in heaven, in the Lambs book of life. You become a brand new person, the old is passed away, all things become new. You repent of your sins, and obey the gospel. You confess your sins and they are forgiven. Most people understand that. Your status changes from slave of sin, to Son or daughter of God. I like that part that says, a son abides in the house forever. The first step to how to break free from sin is becoming a son or daughter of God.
But something else happens when you give your life to Christ.
- The moment you believe in Christ, you now have the ability to live free.
You may not know it or walk in it or understand it. But the Word says in John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be free. I don’t want sin to be able to yank my chain. I don’t want the devil to control me. I don’t want my flesh to control me either. I want to be free.
Many years ago, January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The nation was approaching its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Once the South had been defeated, the news spread, all slaves are free.
How many of you think, that all of them immediately started to live free, act free, walk free, talk free? Probably not. Maybe some of them. But most probably did not do that. Do you know why? After a lifetime and even generations of slavery. It was hard for them to actually believe they were free. The same is true for you and I, in this day and age. There are people who come to Jesus, and sin has been their master for many years. Even though they have accepted Christ, their mind is just programmed by the enemy. Do they immediately act free? Walk free? Talk free? It is doubtful.
But that does not negate the powerful words that Jesus said, He said, If the Son makes you free, you will be just a little free. Is that what he said? No. Did he say, If the son makes you free, you will be free except for the most besetting of sins? No! He said, who the Son sets free is free indeed. Free indeed.
That means that the enemy has no claim on you. Sin has no claim on you. Fear has no right to dominate your life. Depression has no right to be in your life. Addiction has no right to dominate your life. You may think that I as the author of this article believe in instantaneous sanctification. No, I believe that we will grow more Christlike as we mature in him. But I do believe that we need to get ahold of this word and chose to walk and live free.
There are some churches that will tell you that how you live is not important. If you believe in Jesus, all is well. Live how you want. That is not found in the Bible. I will tell you that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot just live any old way that we want. We have to align our lives up with this Word. We must be careful to guard the liberty we have in Christ. Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” So, the question becomes, how do we move from where we are to a greater degree of personal freedom and victory over sin? How to find ourselves living a life of freedom from bondage is the question. How can we align our life up with this powerful promise?
Let me give you this morning, five powerful strategic on how to live out your freedom.
- Accept the historical facts of our spiritual unity with Christ.
Before I read a passage from Romans 6, let me first explain it. We are united with Christ. The scripture refers to us as “in Christ.” There is a spiritual unity we have with Christ. Paul gives that spiritual unity as a historical fact. When a person is baptized in water, it symbolizes the spiritual unity we have with Christ.
- We were crucified with him
(our old man was crucified with Him)
(being buried with him is symbolized by water baptism)
- We were raised to walk in newness of life
(just like Jesus was raised from the dead, his same power is in us)
Why? Because we are united with him. Romans 6:2-10 “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”
Paul gives the theological facts of our unity with Christ. We are united with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. You must be convinced of your spiritual unity with Jesus. John Gregory Mantle wrote, “There is a great difference between realizing, ‘On that Cross He was crucified for me,’ and ‘On that Cross I am crucified with Him.’ The one aspect brings us deliverance from sin’s condemnation, the other from sin’s power.” That is the first key to living free.
The second strategic key on how to break free from sin and live in freedom is that you must…
- Believe the Promise of freedom and reckon ourselves dead to sin.
Paul goes on here in Romans 6 and this is what he says because of your unity to Christ. Jesus Christ is dead to sin and alive to God. Paul gives us this counsel: Romans 6:11 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now the word reckon is not really a word we use much in the English language. But it is a powerful word. We are to reckon ourselves as dead to sin.
Let me tell you what it doesn’t mean. Back in the 1800’s there was a French psychiatrist who had a therapy she espoused, in which people endeavor to persuade themselves that something is true of them which is not actually true of them. They would tell themselves, I am not afraid of dogs over and over again. Even though they actually were afraid of dogs in an attempt to change that aspect of their lives. This is not what this about. It is not telling yourself I am dead to sin, when really you are alive to sin in an attempt convince yourself. That is not what this is saying. This is saying:
On the basis of my unity with Jesus.
On the basis of the fact that I am crucified with Christ.
On the basis of the fact that my old man died with Christ.
On the basis of the fact that I am united in his death, burial and resurrection, I will reckon that I am dead.
The word reckon means ‘to consider’. The Apostle is saying, ‘Consider, and keep before you’ Consider, and keep constantly before you, this truth about yourself.’ To reckon, means to consider and come to a conclusion about something. We are to consider that because of our unity with Jesus we are dead to sin. Believe it. Accept it.
So. when sin presents itself, we say, I am united with Jesus, therefore, I am dead to sin and alive to God. Memorize John 8:36 and say, If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed. Tell yourself what you have concluded by your reckoning.
I am indeed free.
I am dead to sin.
I am alive to God.
- Set our mind on the things of the Spirit
I want to teach this today, because this is essential to the Christian life. Romans tells us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Just because you have become a Christian, that doesn’t mean that all of the past things that have went into your mind are automatically erased. We need to have our mind renewed. This is a process.
Scientist have studied the way the mind works. If you have thought a particular thought, what happens is that literally that thought produces almost a superhighway in your mind. If you have thought a certain way for many years, those thoughts will not just disappear overnight, your mind has to be retrained, reprogrammed, renewed.
The did a recent study where people just simply tapped their fingers for a few minutes a day. After several weeks the part of the mind that did that expanded. You see, you have the unique ability to set your mind. It is almost as though you can change the channel of your mind. You can put your mind on the things that your flesh wants. Your flesh is that part of you that part of you that is your sinful nature. It wants what it wants. So, if you set your mind to that channel. You will think that way. This is how Paul put it.
Romans 8:5-6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Someone said, well I can’t help what I think. A thought just flashes through your mind. Someone wiser than I, many years ago said, you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop a bird from building a nest in your hair. That is the difference. You take thoughts captive and say, No, I am not thinking about that.
What I have found to be the most helpful to me is that in the morning hours, I put my mind on the things of God. I do that in a variety of ways.
I may listen to a sermon on YouTube.
I may read the word.
I may enjoy some praise and worship.
I may spend time in prayer.
But what I am doing is that I am programming my mind and consequently my heart, my will, my emotions on Christ. I am setting all of those things on the things of the Spirit.
What is God saying to me?
What is God doing that I need to be a part of?
It is an essential part of living a Christian life.
I am talking about our connected-ness to the things of God. Here is the key…once I have set my mind on Christ and on the things of the Spirit, I can be free to do all the things of life. I get gas. I go to Wal Mart. I have to do my yard work. But if in the morning, I have set my mind. I am stronger.
But if someone sets their mind on the things of the flesh and the world, it is not going to produce life, only death according to the word. Let’s set our mind on God. Do you know you can be on the job and sense his presence? You can be in the midst of the meeting and know he is there with you.
It is not always just the bible. You can fill your mind with all kinds of good things. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I want to say something as well, a good clean movie that portrays beautiful values is able to produce in you life and peace. Over a lifetime of commitment to God’s Word, you gain new wisdom to replace old foolishness and godly desires to replace satanic longings. The sins that once fueled your imagination and motivated your actions begin to lose their power and are displaced by virtues that motivate good to others and bring glory to God. Your eyes stop their lusting because your mind is now filled with love; your mouth stops its cursing because your mind is now filled with joy; your hands stop their stealing because you are convinced you can be as content with little as with much. Such transformed lives begin with transformed minds, for your body always obeys your brain.
The next strategic key of how to break free from sin and live out our freedom in Christ is when we
- Use the members of our body to serve God
There is not a person reading this article who before you knew Christ, you took the members of your body:
And you used those members of your body to serve sin. Sure, we all did. We were slaves to sin, if we believe the word. And God knows that it is not just enough to set us free, he needs for us to be active in using the members of our body to serve God.
Romans 6:12-13 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
Get up in the morning and tell the Lord, My life is yours and my body is yours! These hands are your hands. These feet are your feet. And what you are doing is presenting yourself to God and saying. I am alive from the dead. And I am ready to serve. Paul goes on a few verses later and says in Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”
Here is the point, it is hard to take the members of your body and go and do sinful things, when you are busy serving God. The members of our body become slaves of righteousness for holiness.
The final key of how to break free from sin is that we should…
- Make no provision for the flesh.
In other words, don’t give the devil a stick to hit you with! If you know you are weak in a certain area and you walk into temptation in that area, you’re being a fool. You’re walking into an ambush. Get yourself out of harm’s way.
Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
On the TV show “Hee Haw,” Doc Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm in two places. The doc replies, “Well then, stay out of them places!” He may have something there. We cannot regularly put ourselves in the face of temptation and not be affected. When faced with the problem of temptation, we need to take the good doctor’s advice and “stay out of them places.”
In others words, don’t make any provision for the flesh. I hope this article has helped you in some way. If so, please leave a comment in the section below.