He Breaks the Power of Cancelled Sin
The human race is infected with sin. Scripture traces it back to the original sin of Adam and Eve, when they ate the fruit from the Tree of Life that God had forbidden. Every human being since, including you and me, is born with this sin nature that is bent toward disobedience.
Exhibit A: every child born into every family who defies every parent with "no!" and takes a toy away from their playmate with a resounding "mine!"
The typical response to becoming aware of this sin nature is to try harder to overcome it -- to work at being good. That brings us limited success. We can improve our lives through sheer effort, but none of us can be perfectly good. We all suffer from the innate selfishness of this sin nature. Even sacrificial acts of love can have a secret motivation to get something back or to be seen as better people than we are.
The Bible is clear: we cannot save ourselves. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)
When we come to the Living God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and receive the gift of forgiveness and new life, our sin is forgiven! We are reconciled to God and begin a right relationship with Him. But the sin nature still lingers. It still battles for our minds and hearts. And so we sin again. And again. And again.
Is there no hope of ever overcoming the sin nature and living in freedom and victory? Why yes, there is!
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14 NIV - emphasis added)
Sin is no longer our master when we count ourselves dead to it and live in grace! The same act of redemption on the Cross that forgives our past sets us free for our future. The transforming work of God that not only counts us not guilty and forgives past sin also imparts righteousness into our lives so the chains of our sin nature are broken and we can live in the freedom of holy love.
Charles Wesley put it this way in the hymn that is pretty much the national anthem of us Methodists, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing:
He breaks the power of cancelled sin
He sets the prisoner free
His blood can make the foulest clean
His blood availed for me
Empowered by the Holy Spirit and infused with the holy love of God, a follower of Jesus can be set free from the chains of addiction to selfishness and sin. Counting ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ, we can love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
The holy love of God fills us with the desire for holy living. The very orientation of our inner life can move from "What can I get from you?" to "How can I love you well?" And our outward behavior flows from the inner orientation of our heart.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. I am dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus. Take that, old habits! Your power is broken, sin nature. I can and I will live a different kind of life in Christ. And the love of Jesus will be to source of it all.