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A Little Latin for You

The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.—Dwight L. Moody

Several hundred years ago, Augustine came up with three Latin phrases that describe the interaction of sin in nonbelievers and Christians.

  • Posse peccare means “able to sin.” It describes Adam before the fall, before sin entered the world. He had the capacity to sin, even though he had not sinned yet. Then, because he was able to, he chose to, and he walked into sin.
  • Non posse non peccare means “not possible not to sin.” Anyone who was born after Adam (and that’s just about everyone!) starts with a sin nature that is dead to God but alive to sin. As a result, it’s impossible for them to live without sinning.
  • Posse non peccare means “able not to sin.” God forgives our sins, and He comes to live inside us. By the power of the Spirit in us, it is possible not to sin. It is possible for you to have regular victory in that area you’ve been trying to overcome by yourself. It’s even possible for you to change your mind about the things that you don’t want to stop!

We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:2)

Think about that for a moment. Paul says that since we have died to sin, it shouldn’t dominate our lives anymore. Is that possible? It may not seem like it, but take God at His Word!

“For no word from God will ever fail.” … “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 1:37, 18:27)

Have hope! The truth can set you free! You ARE posse non peccare. In Christ, new things are possible if you are willing to surrender to the Spirit in you!

Holy Spirit, I give up trying to fight sin in my own strength. I even give up trying to want to fight sin. Your Word says all is possible in Christ. Counsel me through these biblical truths! You say I am “dead to sin.” I embrace that truth. Live through me in a way that reflects that truth. Amen.

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