How can I get deliverance from the power of indwelling sin?


“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 2 Pet. 1:3
God has provided us with many things in His word to help us in our walk for Him. It is almost like a toolbox, where there is a tool for every job that we may need. If we faithfully read God’s word, we will have our toolbox full! We will make full use of “all things that pertain unto life and godliness”. He told us that the tools work, and also how they work. One of the most important tools is something we commonly refer to as “deliverance”. There are few subjects that bring more confusion and speculation than the means of Christian holiness. Some of the theories taught by well-meaning Christians are completely contrary to scripture. And yet, God has dedicated three full chapters in Romans, and a portion of Galatians to answering this subject of deliverance.
What is deliverance? One of the greatest struggles a Christian encounters with the flesh, or the old nature. Very often, this struggle is a surprise to young converts. When we first believe the gospel, we naturally expect that all of our spiritual problems are solved, and that, more or less, it will be easy to live a holy life for God. After all, we can’t imagine ourselves falling back into sinful habits after believing the gospel. However, experience proves otherwise. We sin again, and again, and again. We become frustrated with ourselves, and discouraged that we can’t manage to stop sinning.
A hopeless struggle? Many believers have concluded, whether from their own experience, or from bad teaching, that the struggle is hopeless. This is simply not true. Galatians 5:16-17 says “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall no way fulfil flesh’s lust. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these things are opposed one to the other, that ye should not do those things which ye desire”. There is a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. The only thing that can oppose the flesh is the Spirit. These verses show that the believer is NOT helpless against the flesh, and if we “walk in the Spirit” we are guaranteed to find deliverance from sin. There is hope!
Errors of thinking. Wrong notions about deliverance from sin come from two common errors: (1) underestimating God’s power, and (2) applying wrong methods. First, many think that, while God is able to save us from hell, that somehow He is unable to deliver us from sin. This is untrue! God is able. He has not left us here to be slaves to sin for the rest of our lives. He has provided a way for deliverance from sin. Second, deliverance often presented as something that can be achieved through works, or human methods. Deliverance from the power of sin in our lives is obtained in the same way that deliverance from the penalty of sins is obtained. That is, on the basis of simple faith. Law-keeping will only result in more sin and misery. Human methods to suppress the flesh will only work for a limited time. God has much more to offer through His Spirit.
Deliverance in Romans. The details of Romans 5:12 – 8:17 expound the subject of deliverance from sin. There are five major sections:
Firstly, the doctrine of deliverance, laid out in three basic points:
  1. The believer has been transferred from Adam’s race to Christ’s race (Rom. 5:12-21)
  2. By identification with Christ in death the believer is free from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6)
  3. By identification with Christ in death the believer is free from the Law (Rom. 7:1-6)
Secondly, the experience of deliverance:
  1. The experience of a quickened soul under law, leading to deliverance (Rom. 7:7-25).
Thirdly, the results of deliverance:
  1. The secret of the power needed for deliverance and the associated walk (Rom. 8:1-17).
After this, I recommend you read these chapters, and study them. The Spirit of God will teach you the meaning of these verses. Ask a brother or sister to explain it again, or read helpful commentary on the book of Romans. It is worth taking the time to understand what God has taken the time to explain.

Section 1: Two Heads and Two Races – Rom. 5:12-21

When we receive the gospel we are transferred into Christ’s race

  1. vv.15-17 There are two races in this world, and each race takes its characteristics from the head of that race. The two races are Adam’s race and Christ’s race.
  2. v.12 All in Adam’s race are helpless sinners, destined to die. Every human (except Christ) born into this world starts out in Adam’s race – witnessed by the fact that everyone is a sinner, and everyone dies.
  3. v.19 When we receive God’s free gift of justification, we are then transferred from Adam’s race to Christ’s race.
  4. v.18 All in Christ’s race have been given a new life that is righteous (justification of life) and will one day enjoy eternal life (in heaven).

Section 2: Two Masters – Rom. 6

Identification with Christ in His death frees us from sin’s power

What Christ did

  1. vv.3-4 We are identified with Christ in His death (pictured by baptism)
  2. v.10 “He died unto sin.” Death speaks of separation. Christ’s death separated Him from a “world” of sin, and His resurrection brought Him into a new “world” that sin can never touch.
  3. v.7 By identification with Him, we too have been removed from under sin’s dominion… sin is rendered powerless.

What we do

  1. v.11 We must “reckon” these facts (believe them to be true). This is the first point where people fail.
  2. v.13 We must “yield” our spirits, souls, and bodies to the Lord Jesus.
  3. v.14 God’s grace supplies the power for us to overcome the sin nature. He promises us (v.14) that sin will not overcome us if we do these things. He doesn’t tell us yet what this power is… that comes in Ch. 8.

Cautionary principles

  1. v.16 If you respond to the old nature, sin will become your master effectively.
  2. v.19 understand how good bondage and bad bondage work:
    • One righteousness after another, makes you grow increasingly separated to the Lord (practical sanctification).
    • One sin leads to another, before you know it you are addicted. You can be positionally free from sin, but practically still under its dominion.
…The following section is especially important for the Jews, who were under law…

Section 3: Two Husbands – Rom. 7:1-6

Identification with Christ in his death frees us from obligation to the Law

If I am a Jew, and deliverance is by grace not by law, is God okay with me ceasing to live in a legal way? I want this deliverance you speak of, but am I free to forget about the law and run to Christ? The answer is “Yes”.
  • v.1 Principle: Laws only apply to people before they die.
  • vv.2-3 Example: A woman is free to remarry only after her husband dies, not before.
  • vv.4-5 Application: The believer has died with Christ, which makes him free from the law’s dominion, and free to be espoused to Christ. The relationship with the new husband (love response) is far different from the relationship with the old (fear response).
To summarize, is God okay with a Jew getting away from the Law in his mind and running to Christ? The answer is “Yes, in fact, it is WRONG to stay under the law… you MUST leave it in your mind.”
—— — ——
At this point there is a break. Up to Rom. 7:6 we have been explaining how deliverance works. From v.7 to the end of Ch. 7 God gives us an experimental parenthesis….

Section 4: Two Natures – Rom. 7:7-25

(The Experience of a soul under law leading to deliverance)

Important things to understand:
  • The narrator was not saved at the time of the experiment. He gets saved at the end of the chapter. You might say he is only “partially saved”, they have PSS (Partial Salvation Syndrome). Why?
  • He has a new nature (he calls it the “inner man”). We know it because this person has a desire to please God, which can’t come from the flesh, so they must have new life from God.
  • He doesn’t have the Spirit. We know this because he does NOT have power to live for God, and Rom. 8:2 tells us this power is the Spirit of God.
  • The reason he does not have the Spirit is because he has not received Christ as his Savior… which he does in v.25. We find in Eph. 1:13 that the sealing of the Spirit occurs AFTER receiving the gospel.
The Spirit isn’t mentioned once in Rom. 5:12 – 7:25, but is mentioned in 10 out of the first 17 verses in Rom. 8! Remember the difference:
  • Quickening – God gives a new nature… makes those who were spiritually dead alive!
  • Sealing – the Spirit indwells us after we believe the gospel!
The man in Rom. 7 is quickened but NOT sealed. There is no excuse for a sealed person to sin! The amount of time a person remains quickened but not sealed varies person to person. Often it is a very short period. This is why we need to preach a clear Christian gospel.
There may be very abnormal circumstances where a quickened person dies before hearing a clear gospel… but that is NOT the subject in Romans!
  • God “desires all men to be saved” (and “saved” means; get the full package).
  • Also, God does not specialize in half finished products… “He that has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ!” (Php. 1:4).
The experience unfolds as follows:
  • vv.7-13 Through experimentation with law, the person discovers that they have a sin nature.
  • vv.14-19 He struggles to overcome the sin nature, and begins to treat sin as an enemy… but finally concludes that he has no power within himself to overcome the sin nature.
  • vv.20-23 Upon further reflection, he realizes that he must have two natures; a new nature as well as an old nature. He learns to identify with the new nature, and treat the old nature as a foreign thing.
  • vv.24-25 He finally gives up on looking within for power, and instead looks to the Lord Jesus Christ (a person) and finds deliverance.
Upon receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, he is immediately sealed with the Spirit and gains the needed power to live a holy life for God.
  • Sealing is not an experience… it is a sovereign action from God. That’s why it isn’t recorded in Rom. 7, although we know it must have happened by Rom. 8:1.
  • This Rom. 7 experience is part of the natural progression, but it isn’t a “Christian” experience. If someone has put their trust in Christ but still feels like they are in Rom. 7, then they are really in Gal. 5.
  • The Gal. 5 conflict is of a sealed Christian who is NOT walking in the Spirit. They have the solution (indwelling Spirit) but they aren’t walking in the Spirit… the result is conflict between flesh and Spirit!

Section 5: Two Laws – Rom. 8:1-17

Results of full salvation: Enjoying the Christian position

Rom. 8:1-17 gives us the conclusion to the book of Romans up to this point. The first 7 chapters present “full salvation”, deliverance from the penalty of our sins and from the power of the sin nature. This section gives us the results of full salvation applied to:

  1. our standing (past) (v.1)
  2. our state (present) (vv.2-10)  <—– we will focus on this
  3. our bodies (future) (v.11)
  4. our communion (vv.12-13)
  5. our relationships (vv.14-17)
For the purposes of this article we will focus on vv.2-10 as
they pertain to deliverance.
  • v.2 The “saved” person has a new principle (life in the power of the Spirit, John 20:22) working inside them. The old principle is still there, but the new is more powerful.
  • v.3 Don’t try to use a legal approach to gain deliverance… it will blow up in your face! The law was “weak through the flesh”! If you try to live by a list of rules, it will put the flesh into overdrive.
  • v.4 We need to walk according to the Spirit, which means to give the Spirit full control of our life… occupy ourselves with the interests of Christ. We will automatically fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.
  • v.10 By walking in the Spirit, the flesh will not be active (the body is dead). Also, the new nature will be given liberty to act (the Spirit is life).
  • vv.14-17 If we walk in the Spirit, we will enjoy all the relationships we are brought into “in Christ”.
The Power for Deliverance. If the Spirit of God is such an important part of deliverance, why does the Spirit not come up in Rom. 5:12 – 6 while the doctrine of deliverance is being laid out? Romans 5-6 is the mechanics of deliverance… like learning the parts of a lawnmower and how to use it. But he holds off on telling us about the power behind the mower until we watch someone try to mow without gas (Rom. 7). Then he explains the power behind the mower (gasoline), as the Spirit is the power behind deliverance (Rom. 8).


So, what do you do when you are tempted to sin?
  • that you are free from the old master, “sin”.
    that you have a new master, “righteousness”.
  • that Sin wants you to still obey him even though he’s the old boss.
  • that you have the Spirit of God within you.
  • yourself dead to the old boss and alive to the new boss.
  • your members as available resources to the new boss.
  • do not yield… ignore the emails from your old boss.
  • walk in the Spirit (fill your time with Christ-centered activities).