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Slaves of sin since birth

We are born under the power of sin. In Psalm 51, King David considers man as conceived in the guilt of sin: “Remember, I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception” (Ps 51:5).

Man is born under the weight and with the stain of sin. There is not one just man, not a single one, for all have sinned and for this are short of the glory of God. As a consequence of the original sin, man is born affected by sin, and under slavery to it. The word of God becomes applicable from the time sin entered history: “All have sinned and lack God’s glory” (Rom 3:23), “Not one of them is upright, not a single one, not a single one is wise” (Rom 3:10-11), “All turned away, all alike turned sour” (Rom 3:12). John reminds us that “everyone who commits a sin is a slave” (Jn 8:34)

-slave of sin-. He also continues saying: “So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free” (Jn 8:36). The Son of God has set us free from sin, died for us and set us free, but this freedom is not imposed upon us. It is at our reach, and has been obtained for us, but we must desire to be free, and this we do when we believe in Christ Jesus. It is good to remember here that true faith is not only intellectual, but a faith that includes deeds that are born of faith and have expression in one’s living according to the commands of the Word of God. In fact, the same chapter 3 of the Letter to the Romans explains that although all have sinned… also all “are justified by the free gift of his grace through being set free in Christ Jesus. God appointed him as a sacrifice for reconciliation, through faith, by the shedding of his blood… to show how he is just and justifies everyone who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:24-26).

The original sin has damaged the first human nature, but has not corrupted it entirely. Through sin, the human freedom has not been extinguished, “although it has been attenuated and diverted in its strengths” (Council of Trent, DS 1521). The natural inclination of man is not towards good but towards evil, and as such his spirit and his soul have to be guided for him not to fall under the slavery to sin. There is an interior force that operates in man and drives him toward sin from the time he is born and which opposes the Law of God, of which Paul speaks to us when he says: “We are aware that the Law is spiritual: but I am a creature of flesh and blood sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand my own behaviour; I do not act as I mean to, but I do the thing I hate. While I am acting as I do not want to, I still acknowledge the law as good, so it is not my self acting, but the sin which lives in me. And really, I know of nothing good living in me—in my natural self, that is—for though the will to do what is good is in me, the power to do it is not: the good thing I want to do, I never do: the evil thing which I do not want—that is what I do. But every time I do what I do not want to, then it is not myself acting, but the sin that lives in me. So I find this rule: that for me, where I want to do nothing but good, evil is close at my side. In my inmost self I dearly love God’s law but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body” (Rom 7:14-23).

Two are the forces that exist in the inner being of a man, one that leads to freedom (the law of God) and the other one which leads to slavery (the law of sin).

But sin does not have power over the true Christian, for in the way Christ defeated sin, we, once baptized and grafted in Christ, have power in Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, not to fall under the slavery to sin. A Christian is not at the mercy of sin: accepting the work of Christ and living according to His teachings, he remains free from slavery to sin.

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