by Kenneth Copeland
Far too many believers are struggling with sin these days—and it’s time for us to end that struggle. The Lord Jesus Christ did not live His life on earth, shed His precious blood, defeat the devil in the pit of hell and rise again in glorious victory so that you and I could spend the rest of our natural lives struggling against (and falling into) sin.
Jesus whipped sin once and for all so that we wouldn’t have to. Hebrews 9:26 says that through His work of redemption “now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
To struggle and fight with sin is like getting back into a boxing ring with an opponent who has already been defeated. Sin has already been knocked down and out by the Lord Jesus Himself. The count is over and we’ve been declared the victor in Him. The fight with sin is finished. So we might as well stop struggling and enjoy the victory.
“Oh, Brother Copeland,” you might say, “are you getting soft on sin? Are you suggesting I just give up and give in to it?”
Absolutely not! On the contrary, I’m suggesting you rise up by faith in the Word of God and put sin under your feet where it belongs. Start acting like the Bible is true. Start believing that God meant it when He said, “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).
Sin Stops the Anointing
No real Christian should ever be soft on sin. It is an absolutely horrible thing. It blocks the blessings of God from coming into our lives. In fact, sin is a manifestation of the antichrist. Here’s why I say that. The word Christ is the Greek word for anointing. The anointing is God’s burden-removing, yoke-destroying power that came to mankind through Jesus. It is still flowing on the earth today through His Body which is the Church.
The devil is anti-Christ. He is in the business of putting people in bondage so he is against that anointing. He would like to stop its operation in the earth because it sets people free. Obviously, he can’t stop the anointing at the Head because Jesus is beyond the devil’s reach. He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. So the devil focuses his attacks on us.
After all, we are the Body of the Anointing. We represent Jesus in the earth and we are where His burden-removing power resides. So if the devil is going to stop that power, somehow he has to keep it from flowing through us.
That’s why the devil works so hard to get believers into sin. He doesn’t really care that much about the good or bad things we do. His goal is to stop the anointing and he knows sin will do the job. So he goes to work trying to blind our eyes to the victory we have in Jesus. He tries to drag us back into a battle that has already been won and convince us to expend our energies grappling with sin instead of simply grasping by faith the victory over it that has already been given.
In light of the Word of God, the very idea of believers being overcome by sin is ridiculous. We ought to not be walking in sin any more than Jesus did when He was here on the earth! We’ve been made free from the law of sin and death. We’ve been handed a law that supercedes it and it is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. When it is applied, sin must bow its knee. Then we can stop struggling with it and start living above it like we should!
Activate a Higher Law
I realize that thought is foreign to the minds of many religiously trained believers. They’re like the fellow who decided the only way he could ever live above sin would be to rent an apartment over a bar! If that’s the way you feel, take heart. You can activate the sin-dominating power of God in your life. All you need is some faith. And since faith comes by hearing the Word of God, let’s look at what it has to say about this issue.
In Romans, we find the Apostle Paul describing a miserable condition many believers are all too familiar with. He is writing about a time in his life when he tried not to sin, yet found himself falling into it against his will again…and again…and again. He says:
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!… There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 7:24-25, 8:1-4, New King James Version).
If you’ve found yourself in the condition Paul described, repeatedly stumbling into sin, you might have a question about these verses. You might think, If I’ve already been made free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, why didn’t I automatically start living sin-free the moment I got saved?
Because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus only works when it is put to work!
Think in terms of natural, physical laws and you’ll easily see what I mean. The law of gravity, like the law of sin and death, is functioning continually on the earth. It works all the time. No matter who you are—sinner or saint—if you jump off the house you’re going to hit the ground. Isn’t that correct? You can struggle against that law. You can come up with new and better ways to jump off the house. You can flap your arms hard and fast but you’ll still fall. You simply can’t win a fight with the law of gravity.
What you can do, however, is activate a higher law known as the law of lift. If you apply that law directly, you can supercede the law of gravity and fly.
Of course mankind has only put that law to work for themselves in recent years. But the law was there all the time. Birds have been using it for ages. Actually the law of lift existed back in Noah’s day. He could have built an airplane instead of an ark if God had given him the materials and the revelation.
The law of divine lift is called the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It always supercedes the law of sin and death and it has been in operation on the earth for more than 2,000 years. It was introduced into this atmosphere the moment the Holy Ghost came at Pentecost bringing the message of the resurrected Jesus. The only reason Christians still sin is because they don’t know how to exercise that law.
Two Plus Two Is Four—No Matter How You Feel
“How do we exercise it?” you ask.
To answer that question, let’s stick with the analogy of gravity versus lift. In the natural realm, there are certain principles that must be applied to put the law of lift into operation. Using thrust over drag, you have to manipulate high and low pressure systems in a certain way in order to rise above the law of gravity and fly.
In the same way, there are principles that if applied will always activate the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The first of those is the principle of faith. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” So, as I’ve already stated, our very first order of business is to believe in the saving power of Jesus—not just in His power to save us from hell in the hereafter but in His power to save us from sin in the here-and-now.
We must dare to believe that despite all previous evidence to the contrary, what the Bible says is true: Sin has no more dominion over us! We must dare to believe that through Jesus we have already been made victorious over it.
“But Brother Copeland,” you might say, “I don’t feel very victorious. I feel weak and helpless when temptation comes my way.”
It doesn’t matter how you feel about it. The devil will always come along and do his best to draw you off the truth of the Word and into your feelings. But don’t let him. Remember that just like natural laws, spiritual laws are true no matter how you feel.
Take the laws of mathematics, for example. They’re true all the time for all people in every circumstance. You might get up some morning and say, “I just don’t feel like numbers will work today. I know they worked yesterday and they’re in the math book and all…but today I just feel like two plus two is six.”
You know as well as I do that how you feel about numbers is irrelevant. Two plus two will always be four no matter how you feel.
The Word of God is the same way. It’s always true no matter how you feel. So base your thoughts and actions on the Word, not on your feelings. The Word says Jesus has put sin away. It says sin is a defeated foe and has no place in your life, so believe and act on that Word regardless of your emotions.
The Second Key
To find the second principle that activates the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, let’s focus on the last three words of that phrase—in Christ Jesus. Keeping that phrase in mind, let me ask you this: If the law of the Spirit of life resides in Christ Jesus, isn’t it reasonable to assume that to use that law we must be abiding in Him?
Certainly it is! And we can find out how to abide in Him by reading the words Jesus gave us in John 15. There, He said:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me…As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love…This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (verses 4, 9-10, 12, New King James Version).
Walking in love is the second key to activating the law of spiritual lift!
If you think about it, that makes perfect sense. After all Jesus is the “express image” (Hebrews 1:3) of God…and the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Therefore, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus could also be called the law of the Spirit of love!
Love is what enabled Jesus to defeat sin when He walked the earth. He didn’t spend His time studying and concentrating on all the sins he shouldn’t commit and all the things He shouldn’t do. He just walked in love which lifted Him above those things. Walking in love guaranteed He wouldn’t do any harm to His neighbor. It guaranteed that He wouldn’t break God’s commandments. Love fulfills those commands by its very nature!
So when He commanded us to walk in love, He was actually saying, “I have defeated sin for you. I have given you My own Spirit to dwell within you. Now you go out and live like I lived. Live above sin by walking and talking in love!”
I See Jesus in You
Exactly what does it mean to walk in love toward one another? We find a perfect picture of it in Matthew 25. There, Jesus described the judgment day to come and said:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (verses 31-40).
That last verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible. It tells us that if we’re acting in love toward our fellow man, we’ll treat him just like we’d treat the Lord Jesus Himself. If I’m truly abiding in love, when I look at you, I’ll think of Jesus. I’ll remember that He suffered for you. He died for you. He went to hell for you. He was raised again for you.
I’ll be aware that Jesus loves you just as much as He loves me. As far as He is concerned, if you don’t have clothes, He doesn’t either. If you don’t have shelter over your head, He doesn’t either. He totally identifies with you.
What would you do if I called you and said, “I need you to go to the prison with me? They’ve put Jesus in there! Somebody beat Him up, shot Him up with heroin and got Him addicted to it and now He’s almost dead. We have to go visit Him. We have to do something to help Him!”
How would you answer me? What would you say? I’m fairly sure you wouldn’t say, “Well it’s fine for you to go down there to the prison but that’s not my calling. I have more important things to do…”
Riding High in Jesus
No, you wouldn’t say that! You’d say, “Just hang on, I’ll be there as quick as I can.” If you didn’t have enough money to meet the need, you’d cry out to God for it. You’d say, “Father, I have to have a few thousand dollars right away. Jesus needs help! He needs food. He needs clothes. He needs a house.” You’d start tapping into the resources of heaven—not just to meet your own little needs but in order to take care of the Lord!
I’m telling you, the windows of heaven would open in response and pour you out so much you’d hardly have room to receive it. Why? Because there wouldn’t be any sin and selfishness there to block the blessing! You’d go charging out into the world to meet the needs of “the least of these My brethren” armed with the provision of heaven and clothed in the anointing of Jesus Himself.
That’s the way we ought to be living! We shouldn’t be messing around in the spiritual lowlands stumbling around in sin. Jesus has called us to a higher way of life. He has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness.
If we’ll just step out in faith and love, we’ll take off into that life like a spiritual jet and leave sin far below us. Riding high on the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we won’t be struggling with sin anymore. We’ll be abiding in Jesus. We’ll be flying free.
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