Sinful Thoughts, and Victory over Them!
Prepared by Hermano Cisco, BABYLONFALLS.ORG
(Taken from Lifetime Guarantee, by Bill Gillham, Appendix D.)
The Bible teaches that the believer battles against an inner power called sin: "But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:23). Notice this power is not in the believer's mind where his thoughts are generated, but in his body. The verse says your mind wars against this power.
This power called sin entered the world at the fall (Romans 5:12). You inherited it through your dad, originally from Adam, not Eve. (You'll notice that Jesus had no earthly dad because if He had, sin would have indwelt Him. He is the only person in Scripture spoken of as "seed of woman.")
Every war must have at least two opponents. In your inner battle, the power of sin sides with Satan. Since Romans 7:23 says your mind fights against this power, whose side does your mind have to support? God's, else there would be no inner war. Your mind fights the power of sin because you have the law of God written on your mind (see Hebrews 10:16). God says, "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances" (Ezekiel 36:27, emphasis added). That describes you, brother and sister. You have a deep inner longing to obey God. That's God's law which is written on your heart.
However, perhaps you have believed that your war within is a civil war. If so, you interpret verses which speak of your inner struggle as an "evil you" warring against a "good you." Small wonder you lose so many battles. You fire your weapons at the wrong enemy.
Years ago, God showed me that the power of sin uses two techniques to "war against" your mind. One: It presents thoughts to your mind using first person singular pronouns (I, me, my, myself, etc.). Second: It uses your old flesh patterns as a channel through which to present thoughts to your mind. Is this biblical? Let's check it out.
A Ph.D. from a well-known evangelical seminary once said to me, "Bill, you are personifying sin by stating that the believer has a foreign power in his body which gives thoughts to him, seeking to influence him to do evil. To my knowledge, this has never been taught by the church." I tactfully responded that Paul taught it to the church, but because many ceased to teach it we now see defeated, impotent believers-a far cry from the first-century church.
W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains that the Greek word hamartia (which translates to the English "sin") is a noun, while hamartano (also translated "sin") is a verb. In Roman 6:14 where Paul writes, "Sin shall not be master over you," sin is a noun; while in verse 15, "Shall we sin?" it is a verb. In Romans chapters 5-8 the word sin appears 41 times, once as a verb, forty times as a noun! Why the emphasis? Because if you interpret the word sin in Romans 5-8 as a verb, you will never understand these chapters, and they are vital to walking in victory. We have been conditioned to perceive the word sin as an action word. Thus, when we read it in the Bible we think, Yep, that's when I stole the hubcaps.
In Romans 5:21; 6:12,14,17; 7:11,14,17,20,23,25; 8:2; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Hebrews 3:13; 11:25; 12:4; James 1:15b, Vine states of the noun hamartia, "This GOVERNING principle is PERSONIFIED" (represented as a person). It governs (controls) and it has a persona (the characteristics of a person). So what? Here's what. The power of sin presents thoughts to your godly mind for consideration by making them seem like they're your own thoughts! Misinterpreting sin as a verb is kind of like being a student who never learns his locker combination. Instead of growing to maturity, you'll stand outside the classroom spinning the dial.
As you experience the thoughts which sin (the persona) feeds up to your mind with first-person pronouns (I, me, my), you'd swear on a stack of Bibles that the old man has been resurrected. You'll think a monologue is going on in your mind (a conversation with yourself), when in fact it is a dialogue (a conversation with sin) (see Romans 7:17,20). This explains why many Christians teach that the old man is still alive. They cite isolated verses attempting to explain their experience. This is called "proof texting" and is not legitimate biblical interpretation. No one can accurately interpret chapters 5-8 of Romans, verse by verse, and prove the old man lives. It states categorically that he died in Romans 6:2,4,5,6,7,11,13 et al. Since only Christ has resurrection power, the old man has not been resurrected. We must, therefore, search the Word to see what God identifies as our opponent in our inner battle. Romans 5-8 says it is a power called sin (the noun).
Second Corinthians 10:5 says, "We are [to take] every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (emphasis added). There are three sources for the thoughts you experience: your mind, the Holy Spirit, and the power of sin. The thoughts from the Holy Spirit and your mind are godly (1 Corinthians 2:16b). Your mind no longer generates sinful thoughts (1 John 3:9; 5:18); it receives sinful thoughts from the power of sin and your will puts them into action. To prevent this, you must "take [sin's] thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) *by acting like you are dead to them but "alive to God" (Romans 6:11). By employing this battle tactic, "sin [the persona] shall not be master over you" (Romans 6:14).
Sin is a persona. It has intelligence. It obeys its master, Satan. It can put thoughts into your mind. It seeks to control you. But, by Christ's life through you, you do no have to give in to sin's urgings: "For sin [the persona] shall not be master over you" (Romans 6:14); "He who has died is freed from sin [the persona]" (Romans 6:7, emphasis added); "So consider yourselves to be dead to sin [the persona], but alive to God" (Romans 6:11). It is only in following the imperative of these verses that you can realize consistent victory over sinning (the verb).
*"by acting like you are dead to them"
Regarding "acting", Bill Gillham elsewhere states:
God's Definition of a Hypocrite:
Pretending to Be What You Are Not
Satan's Definition of a Hypocrite:
Acting Contrary to How You Feel
The devil's definition of a phony is based totally on the condition of our emotions. If you buy into it, you will never be able to walk in your true identity in Christ!
Try to act in a manner contrary to how you feel and Satan will accuse you in your mind of being a phony. He is "the accuser of the brethren" (see Revelation 12:10). It will seem like a self-accusation, however, because again, the thoughts will be presented to your mind by the power of sin with first person singular pronouns: "Why, I can't tell my wife that I love her and that I'm thankful for what she does for me when I don't feel like it. That would make me a hypocrite!"
What if you act (by faith) as if Christ were using your arms to reach out in love by giving them a hug or a pat on the back? You would be acting as if Christ actually were your life. You would be acting like something is true that is true, wouldn't you? Would you be a hypocrite, or would you be acting like what you are? (Lifetime Guarantee, pp. 135-136.)
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