The following is a discussion that ensued from a quote from my friend Brett Burrowes. This is an excerpt, mind you, of a larger article, but I think it is sufficient to stand on its own. After reading this in full feel free to comment. Thanks!  

Brett: “Sin is not the corruption of an independently operating human nature, but the enslaving spirit of Satan. Humans do not operate themselves, since Paul says that we are either operated by the spirit of sin which indwells us, “it is no longer I but sin” (Romans 7:17,20), or we are operated by the Spirit of Christ, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament. So does this abolish our free will? By no means, recognizing what we do not control enables us to recognize what is within our control; we have the choice to take God at His word and trust Him, or we can continue to trust Satan’s deception that we autonomously run our own lives. The choice and the consequences are ours: but why would we continue to trust one whose aim is theft and destruction instead of the One who loves us and has predestined us to share in His own glory?”

Tom: Much of this is not Biblical. God holds US responsible for ALL of our sin and it is ALL ours.We make those choices concerning what we choose to do or not do. Paul was speaking of the war between the man’s natural sin nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit working in us to resist sin, not another self that commits sin without our consent. This is New Age twisting of Biblical teaching, not New Testament. Looks like Kenneth Copeland-Kenneth Hagin New Age interpretations. Be wary of any teaching that seems to absolve us from our choice. It is always a deception.

Louie: Well Tom, I don’t see how this “absolves us from our choice.” When Paul wrote “It is no longer I but sin” he is differentiating between himself and the “sin” is he not? If he was talking about having a “natural sin nature” how could he talk as if “sin” was something IN him doing it? Sin here is definitely a personal pronoun therefore it appears to be something, or someone, other than Paul himself. Jesus did say, “I am the true vine” which brings with it the implication there is a “false vine” correct? The point is we are always and only a branch, therefore we have “No independent” nature of our own. We are either partaking of the “sin” nature inherited from the fall, or we have been born again and are now partakers of the “divine nature.” Either way we have no nature of our own. Humans were created to be an expressor of the God who created them. In the fall a lesser being, otherwise known as Satan, made his way into us. This is why we must be born again of God’s Spirit from above. I would encourage you to look into this a bit closer.

Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” This is the phrase that reveals the falsehood. It is always “me.” That is why God holds us accountable. We cannot excuse our sin by saying we were not responsible. We are responsible…always. This philosophy is falsehood, Louie. Don’t buy it.

Louie: Thankfully we don’t have to buy anything Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! Tom who said we’re not responsible? We are responsible for who we are obeying either sin or righteousness (Jesus) Romans 6:16. This is why Paul told us to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God and to stop presenting our members to sin but rather present ourselves to God. You see presenting is choosing.

Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” Where did this come from. That’s who said we are not responsible.

Louie: We are not the sole one responsible we are in allegiance with the evil one when we sin but we’re still responsible. If you and I go to rob a bank, you stay in the getaway car and I go in to hold them up. When I come out and you drive us away who’s responsible?

Tom: Yes, but we are the one that allows Satan’s influence over us. God will judge us and only us for our sin, not Satan. The fact that we ARE an independently operating human self is the very central doctrine of the New Testament. That man denied that in his statement. That’ is where the falsehood lies.

Louie: Who actually told you we have an independent nature? Why would Jesus tell us we are a branch only? We are the body but not the head. We are a vessel but not the contents. We are a temple not the deity that lives within it. You see we were created to house God’s Spirit. Therefore once the “spirit of error” took up residence within, deception was sure to follow. This is why we have to receive Christ but that only happens with the hearing of the Good news. What’s the Good news you might ask. Well, the good news is we have been crucified, buried and raised with Christ and we are forever joined to Him “Spirit to spirit.” We have been set free from the “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2! Amen!

Louie          Check out Brett’s blog if you want to study a bit deeper on this subject. I think it will be worth your time.



  1. You know, I have been struggling with the understanding of whether sin is in our members/flesh, as Paul declared in Romans 7, because of the various teachings of others that have made me question it. Other understandings have been that we don’t have sin in our members, that the body is neutral. They say that sin/Satan has been evicted or cast out at our new birth. And when we sin, they say, that because we are not independent beings, it is just Satan disguising himself as us making us think it is us doing the sinning.

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; as so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
    Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made [constituted] sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    Now we did not have to sin individually to become a sinner. We were made sinners because we were born in Adam. Because sin was deposited in Adam at the fall we inherited it when we were born into the world. God did something so powerful in our salvation through Jesus Christ that it is astounding. God placed all men into Christ by Spirit baptism, not water. We were immersed into Christ body and when He died, he paid the penalty for sin [Romans 6:23]. We died in him so the penalty for our sin is taken care of and its power has been destroyed [made of none effect, inactive] that we might not serve sin (Romans 6:6). Now sin is no longer charged to our account because we are dead. And if we are dead we are not under the law (Romans 7:4, Romans 10:4). And, sin is not imputed where there is no law (Rom 5:13). And where no law is, there is no transgression (Rom 4:15). Hallelujah, what an awesome God!

    Whether sin is residing in our flesh/members or whether Satan is disguising himself as us to produce his sin through us, doesn’t pose a problem. Either way, the sin issue has been dealt with. The core of the matter is that we have been made righteous in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. We know that we are no longer in Adam and have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ (2Cor 5:18). We have been made partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter1:4). We know that we are complete in him (Colossians 2:10). We know that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. We know that of God, Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor 1:30). And we know that we are justified by faith and not by works (Romans 5:1, Romans 3:20 ). So knowing who we are in Christ is paramount to us understanding that it is no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me (Galatians 2:20).

    So whenever the temptation to sin arises, just know who we are in Christ. As new creatures in Christ, we walk in obedience to the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Our mindset is obedience to Christ. When we do find ourselves yielding to an act of sin, we just need to remember who we are and that sin is not charged to us. We hate that we sinned but we have already been forgiven in Christ. So just move on and continue walking in the Spirit.

    1. Wow! Arnita this is amazing! As I read this what came to me is “where sin abounds, grace does that much more abound.” When Paul said this he knew there would be many who heard this as a “license” to sin. That’s why he opened Romans 6 with the question “what shall we sin so grace might increase?” Then he shouted “God forbid!” “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

      I remember hearing once that when you preached Grace if it didn’t sound like license you were probably teaching it incorrectly. That’s just how Good the grace of God is. Of course the trick is once we are born-again God gives us new “want-to’s” so we no longer want to sin. This of course doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t but it does mean we will no longer “live”, as a lifestyle, in it. The solution to the sin problem has in fact already been accomplished through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and our being joined to Him. Pertaining to the last part of your comment “We hate that we sinned but we have already been forgiven in Christ. So just move on and continue walking in the Spirit.” I think this is the same as when 1 John tells us to “walk in the light as He is in the light and the blood cleanses us…”

      One final thought. When a believer does sin he shouldn’t commit yet another sin by not believing God forgives. In other words we can’t walk around in condemnation because that would really just be unbelief wouldn’t it?

      thank you so much for your thoughtful input here,

    2. wow some really great and in depth comments! Although I have been loving absolutes in Christ –

      My mind has often wondered lately to the meek savior Christ – who still leaves the 99 for the one – who is lost, or caught in some bobbed wire ( metaphorically speaking -whatever forn that it may take ) that He came to seek and save the Lost …& that He save to the Uttermost..that thrills me His heart is intent – His arm is fully stretched and then even some more…

  2. that was quite in depth – how about the apart from Him I can do nothing…I can also see how the enemy would love for you to believe you have a life of your own so you would spend the rest of it TRYING to improve you guys Nicholas

    1. And there you have it! Thanks Nick. It seems God has already given us a plan for self-improvement, He called it the Law. Well, we see how well we did that don’t we? “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God Himself, through the Son did!”

  3. It’s interesting to note also how Jesus dealt with the religious leaders in John 8. He told them they were of their father the devil and “HIS” lust they do. Wow! So Jesus is dealing with them at the source. No doubt it is on them (us) when we commit sin or rebel but at the root it is really the lusts of another, namely Satan!

    1. Oh yeah, another thing. The Apostle Paul said a similar thing in Romans 7. He used an illustration of a man and woman in v.5 he said when we were joined to the original husband i.e. Satan, we “brought forth fruit unto death.” In other words when we were joined to the “spirit of error, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience” we did the lusts of our father the devil and could only produce fruit unto death.

  4. Well I am sure you don’t want to hear my calvanistic version of the argument but there are some sure things I would mention–#1 I did not choose to be born fleshly into this world–that was a choice made by my parents–#2 I did not choose to be born a sinner–#3 its obvious that the 12 disciples were chosen by Christ–#4 its obvious Paul was chosen by God–other than that–well the battle goes on–but I do agree with Grubb–there is no autonomus humans–your either under slavery to satan or God.

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