Before I understood my identity in Christ, I often experienced self-condemnation in my life because of the sins I would commit. I was an easy mark for the enemy because it took so little to cause me to feel like I must be basically evil. Perhaps it would be that I had become impatient with my children, started an argument with my wife, had a lustful thought, or a thousand other sins that could cause me to go into the “God, what is wrong with me” mode. I felt like I had a split personality, desiring at times to live a holy life and at other times wanting to act any way but holy.
I knew I wanted to follow Christ, but felt that at the core of my being there was something evil. I was completely sincere in my spiritual life, but I saw this “evil twin” lurking within me waiting to get out if I didn’t keep a tight grip on him at all times. I thought that in some way I was my own worst enemy. I sometimes heard it reinforced by Bible teaching which referenced that oft-quoted “theologian” Pogo, in saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” I believed every word of it. After all, my experience certainly seemed to validate that I was my own worst enemy.
Maybe you feel the way I have described and even believe that way, but I hope your beliefs will be changed. Otherwise, you’ll remain in the same bondage of self-condemnation that I often experienced. The truth which will set you free is this: You are not your own enemy. There is nothing wrong with you. There is only something wrong in you, which is indwelling sin. Have you felt evil at times? That doesn’t mean you are evil, but only points to the presence of indwelling sin which is inside you.
Paul boldly affirmed, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good” (Romans 7:21, emphasis mine). He did not say that he was evil, but only that evil was present in him. Twice in one verse he cites the location of this indwelling sin, saying, “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” (7:23, emphasis mine). Paul said the power of indwelling sin was in his body.
Friends of mine once discovered that the wife had cancer. The husband continually kept those of us who are friends updated on her progress through email. He often described the cancer as “that invader” and “that bastard,” a word not to be taken in a profane sense, but used to describe an illegitimate life, just as the word is used in the Bible. The cancer is an invader which threatened her health (and ultimately took her life) and had to be attacked with a vengeance by medical professionals.
So it is with the power of indwelling sin, which is in our body. It is a “disease” which every one of us inherited, going all the way back Adam. It is a “bastard” life which will only be overcome as we continually receive the ministry of the indwelling life of Jesus Christ. Paul made an interesting observation in Romans 5:10: “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” In this verse he speaks of two aspects of salvation.
On the one hand, he affirms that we have been reconciled. He says that the cause for this reconciliation was the death of Jesus Christ. It is by the death of Jesus at the cross that we have been forever delivered from sin. However, Paul doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say that “we shall be saved by His life.” Not only have we already been reconciled to God by Jesus' death, but we also shall be saved by His life. From what? From the power of sin. It is by the indwelling life of Jesus Christ that we are continually saved from it. Jesus is the miracle cure for the cancer of indwelling sin, which is in our body. We all have received the remedy for sin by the death of Jesus Christ, but many aren’t taking advantage of the ever-present cure for the power of sin in our lives. That cure is the life of Jesus Christ within us.
As we apply by faith the sufficiency of the life of Christ over the power of sin, we will walk in victory. He has come to cause the sin of our lives to go into remission forever. Peter declared that, “. . . whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” Acts 10:43, KJV (In the King James Version, note the promise of the remission of sins in Matthew 26:28; Mark 1:4; Luke 1:77, 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; Romans 3:25). Sin has no power over us as we rests in the sufficiency of Christ.
You don't have an evil twin living inside you. The key to living the life for which you were created is to recognized your identity in Christ and live each moment out of that identity, as your authentic self. Any other approach deprives the rest of us out of all you have to offer the world as a unique expression of Divine Life.