"If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:5-7)
Through Christ's death and resurrection on the cross we have been freed from the things that held us captive in the past. Things like sin and death. However, the problem with being set free, is that it only works if we know we are free. A canary, use to his cage, could be oblivious to an open door and the chance at freedom if he doesn't recognize the opportunity to fly clear of his captivity. The same is true for born again believers, if you don't know you've been freed from these things, then chances are you are not going to experience any freedom from them.
Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" ( Hosea 4:6 ) Meaning a lack of knowing these truths will keep you from realizing who and what you are in Christ Jesus. Satan will continue to keep you subjected to his domain if you don't know that you are freed of it. Even though we have been freed from our sin nature and are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, it is our knowledge or perception of truths that control our physical emotions and experiences. So even though this is true in our born again spirit, we will not see evidence of it in our soulish realm unless we renew our mind to these truths.
For instance, in today's passage, Paul tells us that our old self, or sin nature was crucified with Christ so that it could be completely done away with. Meaning it was completely destroyed in the process of our rebirth and we were freed from that old nature permanently. However, you will hear Christians says things like, ‘I am constantly dying to self', or ‘I am struggling with my sin nature' when in fact this is not in accordance with what the scripture teaches. The Bible says that we have died to the old sin nature. Their comments come from observation of the flesh. They are assuming that their sin nature is driving them to sin, but Paul said we have died to it. So in reality the reason that Christians tend to sin is not because of their old nature, but because of an unrenewed mind. We have to reprogram our mind to the Word of God to change our behavior otherwise we will continue to operate in the nature of this world even after we have died to it.
Our dead sin nature left behind it's remnants upon our unrenewed mind. Just as a body is left when a person dies, even though the spirit and soul do not remain with the body. Only the physical body remains. In the same way, our sin nature has died and is gone, but it left behind remains in our thoughts and emotions. The only way to remove these traces is to renew your mind. Romans 12: 2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will..." ( Romans 12:2 ) The traces of this old nature will be cleaned out and removed the more you renew your mind to the truth. And the more you know the true, the more freedom you will experience.
The Bible truly offers effortless change because it opens our eyes to what has been accomplished through Jesus. He has done it all and there is nothing left for us to do. We don't have to master sin, Jesus did it and as a gift freed us from it as well. The difference comes about when you know that you are free. It is truly liberating to know that it is not in my nature to sin, I chose to do so. Therefore, change will come once I start renewing of my mind to who I truly am in Christ Jesus. Amen!