When Adam and Eve 'fell' they fell from the level of total God-consciousness ... down to the lower level of sin-consciousness. They were then controlled by the "sin nature". And then the entire human race became one of sin. Every single unredeemed person is controlled by the sin nature. No matter how you want to argue this fact - it is a FACT that the unsaved are ruled by the sin nature. US before we got saved were also ruled by the sin nature. The sin nature has POWER OVER us if we are unsaved. Our own WILL POWER is not strong enough to fight the sin nature. We may win at times. But ultimatly the sin nature has complete dominion over us. From the minute a baby is born the sin nature is in control. Do you need to teach a child how to lie? No. If you put two infants in a crib together along with one bottle... what happens? They fight over it. THIS is the SIN NATURE. (Eph. 2:1-3) Born in original sin, mankind is controlled by the sin nature, which is the cause of all war, strife, and man's inhumanity to man.
So how does a Christian STOP SINNING? If you take a poll and ask, "How do you stop sinning?" (I will use some big examples here: alcohol, drugs, sex, cheating, gossiping) - The answer you get will probably be the WRONG ANSWER! This saddens me. It is sad and depressing to battle something in your Christian life. It is sad and difficult to see someone else battle something in their Christian life when you don't know how to help. If you have ever battled something in your walk that is similar to an addiction - then you have probably wondered the same thing: "HOW DO I STOP DOING THIS THING THAT I REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO...but I can't help but DO?" This answer can be found in Romans chpt. 6 & 7. However the answer you will get from most ministers, teachers, fellow brothers & sisters in Christ... "DO" something. Read your bible more. Pray more. Stay away from the things that may lead you to be tempted to sin. Go to the preacher and have him lay hands on you. Stand in the prayer line. All these things are wonderful things to do in your Christian life, but they are not the answer to your struggles. My personal favorite...GIVE IT TO GOD! My answer to that one...HOW?!?!? Have you ever had a battle and sat there and talked to God and said, "Ok God - take this battle from me. I am giving it to you." How has that worked for ya? You have probably slipped to the battle not long after you asked God to take it from you, right? The reason that will not work is this: The believer who talks to God and says, "Take this from me"...is NOT putting his faith in the right area.
Unfortunatly this stuggle with the sin nature happens more to the believers who are the most consecrated. They love the Lord and to fail the Lord is a burden almost too heaye to bear. This make a Christian - a MISERABLE Christian. Not understanding how and where to get the victory, they are constantly failing the Lord. These people are lead to believe that the Christian experience is a daily struggle. IF a Christian is struggling with sin then he is fighting a battle which he can not win. Christians are to "Fight the good fight of faith" (1Tim. 6:12) but that should be the extent of our stuggle. Scripture says: "But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrafice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from hence forth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering, He has perfected forever them who are sanctified" (Heb. 13:20) In other words: Our Lord totally and completely defeated sin at the Cross of Calvary. His sacrifice of Himself was so perfect, so total, so complete, and so finla that it will never have to be repeated. Paul refers to this at "The everlasting convenant" in Heb. 13:20.
When a believing sinner comes to Christ, the sin nature is then made absolutely dormant. The sin nature has NO HOLD on the person anymore. The sin nature has NO CONTROL over the person anymore. The chains of sin fall off. The only way for this to happen is for the believer to register his faith totally and completely in Christ and the cross - and then MAINTAIN that faith. FAITH that when Jesus died on the cross and rose 3 days later... HE BROKE THE DOMINION that the sin nature HAD on us!! THIS IS WHERE OUR FAITH MUST BE!!! JESUS and the CROSS!!!! Jesus did so much more than just die on the cross!!! HE BROKE the POWER of the sin nature when He died!!! So the only answer to our sin 'battle' = Jesus and Him crucified!!!! FAITH in what HE DID on the cross!!! "FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH" (1Tim 6:12) We don't have to fight the sin nature - JESUS ALREADY DID!!!! That is exciting!! !!! There is NOTHING we can 'DO' except have FAITH in Jesus and His FINISHED WORK on THE CROSS
Here is a little formula regarding the sin nature and victory:
FOCUS: The Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6)
OBJECT OF FAITH: The Cross Of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5)
POWER SOURCE: The Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-2, 11)
RESULTS: VICTORY!! (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 2:20)
Now - this is the formula that most Christians will tell you to use:
FOCUS: Works (Rom. 4:2)
OBJECT OF FAITH: Performance - try harder (Gal. 2:21)
POWER SOURCE: Self (Gal. 5:2)
RESULTS: FAILURE! (Gal. 5:4)
WANT HELP FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT?
IF a believer continues to place his faith in Jesus & His finished work at the cross, then the Holy Spirit will work mightily in the heart and life of such a believer, bringing about righteousness, holiness, Christlikeness, and the Fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not work any other way. The Holy Spirit is the 'dispenser' of the GRACE of GOD. Paul said, "For the LAW of THE SPIRIT of LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS has made me FREE from the LAW of SIN and DEATH" (8:2) The Holy Spirit works ONLY within the parameters of the Atonement. It is the CROSS which makes it possible for HIM to live permanently within our hearts and lives, and to carry out HIS ministry as The Dispenser of GRACE on our behalf. HE ONLY REQUIRES FROM US FAITH IN CHRISTAND WHAT HE DID AT THE CROSS!!!! However if the believer places his faith in anything other than the finished work on the cross... (for example: pray more. read more...) the Holy Spirit can not function. The Holy Spirit will not help that believer function under works & law. The Holy Spirit only functions under GRACE & FAITH in what Jesus did at the cross.
To sum it all up: ALL the believer has to do is to understand that everything that comes to us from God has all been made possible through Christ and what He did at the CROSS. This is why Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself (deny his own ability & strength), and take up his cross daily, and follow ME.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it" (Lk. 9:23-24) The "Cross" is so important that Jesus said we must take it up ON A DAILY BASIS. This is the only sucessfull way to follow Christ. When we do this, the Holy Spirit then works within our hearts and lives... to be sure the sin nature will then REMAIN DORMANT causing the believer no problems whatsoever.
It's all a matter of faith.
To read more about the sin nature I recommend this study guide:
"The Sin Nature"