Why Are Christians Not Experiencing Victory?
Mixing law and grace. Rom. 6:14; 7:6
Failure to understand the Sin Nature. Rom. 7:14-25
Failure to believe Christ lives in and through the believer. Gal. 2:20
Reliance on self instead of entirely abandoning self and totally depending on Christ. Gal.
3:3; 2 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 3:5.
Failure to understand or believe the deep meaning of the working of the cross as the
Spirit applies it to the believer for his sanctification and growth (1 Cor. 1:18).
FULL SALVATION BY FAITH FOR TRI-PARTITE MAN
Salvation in the Bible is mentioned in three tenses: past - every believer has been saved
from the guilt and penalty of sin (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 3:1 9J); present - every believer is being
saved daily from the power of sin (the sin nature) in his flesh (Phil. 1:19; Rom. 5:10; 1 Cor. 1:18);
future - every believer will be saved from the presence of sin in his body, so that in heaven he
will be without sin and become more like the Lord Jesus (Rom. 13:11).
So, to recap, we have:
Past - saved from penalty of sin; Justification (spirit salvation)
Present - saved from power of sin; Sanctification (soul salvation)
Future - saved from presence of sin; Glorification (body salvation).
See 1 Thes. 5:23.
For the born again Christian the breakdown is always in phase 2 - salvation from the
power of sin (sin nature). The sin nature cannot be overcome by human effort (Gal. 3:3 NIV) but
only through yielding to the life and power of Christ living in and through the believer’s heart.
Religion is man doing something for God to make himself right with God. Christianity is God
doing something first for man, then in man, and then through man. Jesus died for man in order to
give His life to man in order to live His life through man as man. You are the only Christ anyone
in this age will ever see.
To live in Christ. Phil. 1:21
Christ is our life. Col. 3:4
Beginning in Rom. 5:12, Paul begins to speak of Sin as a person instead of an act or
omission. In Chapters 5 through 8, Paul gives us the secret of victory over the sin nature. Unless
the believer understands Rom. 5, 6, 7, and 8 he will never, I repeat never, have habitual victory
over sin or experience all the spiritual riches, joy, peace, rest, fruit, etc. promised by God. These
chapters expose the enemy and the believer’s way to victory: the believer’s mystical participation
in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. You ask - how can the believer in 2006 participate in
experiences of Jesus which occurred over 2000 years ago? I’ll answer by asking you a question -
How did all your sins get forgiven 2000 years ago when you weren’t even alive? The Bible says
it. We must first know it, then reckon on it (believe it), then yield to the Holy Spirit who makes it
real in us and thru us. Christ’s death is still working today (2 Cor. 4:12). His resurrection is also
still working (Phil. 3:10).
The Gospel Given to Paul by the Risen Christ
Paul preached a unique gospel which he constantly referred to as “my gospel” or “the
gospel announced by me”, (Rom. 2:16; Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:6-12). Although the entire Bible is
vitally important, the fourteen epistles written by Paul contain God’s unique program for man
today. Failure to focus on what Paul has to say will inevitably result in confusion, dilution,
distraction and defeat.
The Sin Nature
John Knox gave a good definition of the sin nature in Vol. 9 p. 369 of the Interpreter’s
Bible Commentary. He wrote, “Sin is an outside demonic power, alien to man’s true created
nature which has gained entrance into man’s life, reduced him to bondage and made him a
transgressor.” George Williams wrote, “Sin has a venomous energy”, a “fertility,” and a
“reproductive energy.” Kurt Lundgard wrote a book on the sin nature entitled, The Enemy
Within, a great treatise on the subject.
Sin is not merely an omission or an action; it is a person who the Bible says can enter
(Rom. 5:12), reign (Rom. 5:2 1), lord it over people (Rom. 6:14), deceive and kill people (Rom.
7:11), and dwell in people and cause them to do things against their will (Rom. 7:17, 20). Sin is
alive (Rom. 7:9) and exceedingly active; therefore, I believe, it is an unholy spirit and the nature
of Satan who, having injected himself into man through Adam’s fall, has now become the very
sinful nature dwelling, acting, and working in and through fallen man. This indwelling
personified sinful nature is the root of all the outward sinful acts of both believers and
unbelievers. Paul refers to the sin nature as the “flesh” in good English translations.
The Sin Nature or Flesh is the devil’s playground in you and the root of all pride,
arrogance, self-righteousness, religious motive, lust, addictions, worry, covetousness, anxiety,
fear, depression, jealousy, anger, etc.
Romans chapter 6 contains four vitally important words in the fight against Sin.
1. KNOW (v. 3 and 6): We must first know that when the believer first trusts in Christ, the Holy
Spirit puts the believer into the death of Christ, buries him with Christ and raises him up in Christ
to walk “in newness of life.” Thus we learn of the beginning of the believer’s participation in the
cross and resurrection of our Lord. There is a co-death, co-burial, and co-resurrection with Christ
and a resulting union with Christ in His life and living today. The believer learns that he has been
transferred from one realm or sphere of living to a completely different domain, a positional
From the realm of sin into the realm of righteousness
From death to life (Jn. 5:24)
From darkness to light; (Col. 1:12, 13)
From earth to heaven (Eph. 2:6)
Out from Adam and into Christ (1 Cor. 1 5:22)
From the Old Man to the New Man (Co. 3:9, 10)
From Law to Grace (Rom. 6:14)
Essentially, the believer has been taken through a death door or gate leaving behind the realm of
Sin and entering into and being joined to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). The
believer is immediately a saint and has a completely new identity. He is accepted into the
Beloved (Eph. 1:6 KJV) which acceptance is not based on the believer’s performance but on faith
in Christ’s finished work on the cross. There has been a change in the believer’s position.
Experiential change now must follow. It begins with reckoning.
2. RECKON (Rom. 6:11), The believer must consider these truths to be true. Reckon means to
count on it. It is to have faith in the fact that you died with Christ (Rom. 6:6) and are now a new
creation. Old things have gone and new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17). As you reckon, the Holy
Spirit actualizes or makes more and more real in you the new creation (Gal. 6:15), the new man
(Eph. 4:22-24). You realize you have been killed then made alive. You are more and more set
apart from sin and its power. Your old self-centered ego is dead and Christ is now living through
you in a way you’ve never known before. The believer’s new inner man (Christ) begins to control
him and the old outer man is put into subjection.
3. YIELD (Rom. 6:1 3). After knowing and reckoning, you then yield your entire being as a
living sacrifice unto God and your mind slowly, more and more, becomes transformed and
renewed from the old you into the new you (the mind of Christ), (Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 2:16b).
Yieldedness means complete surrender of your new life to Christ and total dependence on Him
for everything - physical, mental, spiritual or circumstantial.
4. OBEY (Rom. 6:16, 17). Obedience is not done through human effort (Gal.
3:3 NIV) but is rather a spontaneous outflow or byproduct of steps one through three above.
Frank Friedman said, “self-effort is the mortal enemy of the gospel.” I agree. Paul’s problem in
Romans 7 was that he was trying to live for God in his own effort with flesh as his power source.
When he finally realized “in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing”, he yielded to the
Spirit of Christ’s life in him and was set free from the power of the sin nature. Rom. 8:2.
Romans chapter 7 flatly declares that the believer who has passed through the Romans 6
death-gate into Christ is no longer under the law. I love the Amplified version rendering of Rom.
But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it,
having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under
[obedience] to the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the
promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].
One big reason so many Christians are not experiencing victory is that they are trying
hard to live for God through their own self-effort instead of dying to self and yielding to Christ
within them. 2 Cor. 15:14, 15. The Excellency of the power is from Christ and not from self (2
Cor. 4:7; 2 Cor. 3:5).
The Mosaic Law
One truth that astounded me is that the law does not curb sin but rather stirs up, revives
and strengthens sin. (Rom. 7:5, 9, 13; 1 Cor. 15:56). Only in Paul’s writings do we read that the
law was nailed to the cross with Christ (Col. 2:14) and that Christ is the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom. 10:4).
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”.
But look at what else this verse implies, “Sin will dominate your life if you remain under
law.” This punctuates the need to relate to God only by participating in Christ and Him crucified
(1. Cor. 2:2) and no longer through rules. In the Old Testament, the gospels and most of the book
of Acts, God’s people related to Him by faith plus works and rule keeping by self-effort. Under
God’s program given in Paul’s epistles, it’s faith plus nothing. Faith alone, by grace alone, in
Christ alone. As God grows your inner man through faith (Eph. 3:16), good works and law
keeping become a byproduct or result of Christ living through the believer. There is a daily death,
burial, resurrection and ascension taking the believer increasingly deeper and higher than he was
before (1 Cor. 15:31-36). To die is to gain (Phil. 1:21).
Through the impact of affliction, suffering, testing, discipline, and our daily wrestling
with the evil principalities and powers working through people (Eph. 2:2; 6:12), our outer man
slowly perishes and our inner man is released and manifested thereby giving glory to God (2 Cor.
4:8-18). Suffering is understood and appreciated as a catalyst to break down the outer man and
increase spiritual growth of the inner man. We can rejoice in our weaknesses, infirmities, and
persecutions (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
Let us summarize and conclude with Gal. 2:19-21 which recaps all I have said in this paper:
For I through the law have died to law that I might live to God. I am crucified with Christ;
and it is no longer I who lives but is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in
the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I
do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness is through law, then Christ has died for
It’s no longer I, but Christ. His Highness has now replaced your “I” ness through your
continued participation in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. You are
experientially being lifted to a higher plane. You become experientially what you already are
positionally. Your experience (what you feel and do) is now lining up more and more with who
you are in Christ (your position).
Only when you yield the throne in your heart to the King will you begin to experience
consistent joy, peace, rest, fruits of the Spirit, spiritual riches, and the overcoming victory that
God intends for you to have. On the other hand, if your “I” ness remains on the throne you may
be born again and going to heaven but you will live a disappointing, defeated, carnal, double-
minded, lukewarm life on this earth and bear plastic fruit. So, it’s time to completely surrender.
Victory is gained only by the admission of defeat. Say, “I can’t do it but He can.” Only by being
killed in self can you become a conqueror in Christ (Rom. 8:36-37).