By Stephen Phinney

“For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 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” (Romans 7:22-23, NASB).
The mind is “grand central station” for the function and appropriation of what man believes.  It is like the hard drive on a computer: whatever gets programmed in, is the instruction the system uses to carry out orders.  The mind IS renewable – thank God.  When we were unsaved, the sin nature was controlled and mastered by Satan himself.  He was the sole programmer of our little hard drive – called the mind of man.  Once we became saved, we were given a new Master (programmer) – Christ, through the power of the indwelling Spirit.  Knowing this, we are given the mandate to choose to submit to our new Master programmer.  In our unsaved state, the master programmer was Satan. Once Christ came, He removed the old programmer and placed Himself at the keyboard. But, the data the enemy placed on our hard drives (mind and body) remains and is in need of being renewed (2 Cor. 4:16).  This is the process that the Bible calls “working out your Salvation.”  It is a daily, moment by moment process that brings us freedom from the enslaving issues left behind by the old programmer. 
Now, let’s address the issue of Christians living in “false faith.” When children of God choose to sin, willfully or not, communion with God is interrupted and the fruit of the Spirit ceases to flow.  After this occurs, the Christian has the prerogative of “faking it until he makes it” OR repenting and reestablishing the overflow from the indwelling Spirit.  If the believer chooses not to repent, the sin(s) become habitual and the believer typically begins to use his faith to produce plastic fruit – fruit unto death (Rom. 7:5).  This is what develops the independence in the believer.  He chooses to allow the flesh to have temporary mastery, which God has judged and set aside forever. Many believers are simply ignorant of this Truth. 
The unsaved man sins out of his sinful nature; whereas when a Christian chooses to sin, he sins directly against God.  Since God has given His children the power not to sin, it becomes grievous to God when one of His children chooses to sin anyway.  But, when non-Christians sin, it is the enemy who sins directly against God. The unsaved man has no choice but to sin, it is who he is!  The unbeliever is judged by the law, because he is under the law.  The Christian is judged by grace, because he is under the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).   
When a believer sins, he places himself under the correction and governmental dealings of God.  When his sin is confessed, the believer is responding to earthly, self-judgment.  He is then able to appropriate his forgiveness offered through the life of Christ.  Keep in mind that the forgiveness is already complete, but it needs to be appropriated by the born-again believer.  Communion is oneness and oneness exists in our Spirit, but our souls can detach from the experience of oneness.  This is why we just need to be honest with Christ within us, take ownership of the sin we committed, and begin enjoying communion that is already made available for us to enjoy.  But, there is a leading factor that needs to be considered. God oftentimes allows the temporal consequences of a person’s wrongdoing through earthly bodily suffering, circumstances, or lifestyle changes.  If the Christian continues in willful sin, darkness (which is characteristic of unbelief) controls the heart.  Fake faith and reputation become inevitable and the believer most assuredly will come under the corrective hand of God (Acts 5:1-16; 1 Cor. 11:28-32).
One of the most challenging individuals to deal with is the so-called “believer” who says he has had a salvation experience, but reverts back to the world, and by all obvious signs, stays there.  This is the group of people “who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13, NASB). The word “believe” is not to be associated with true faith in Jesus, which transforms the person from the inside out.  But rather, this type of belief is that of an intellectual assent.  This person does not display the type of repentance that leads to godliness, but only to regret (2 Cor. 7:10).  These “believers” do not hate sin, but rather promote it.  They return to their sin like a dog to their vomit (2 Peter 2:19-22).  He makes a firm stand on his “faith” in Christ, but does not profess Him with his works.  Like the washing of a pig externally, this person may appear to change, but that change then disappears. This is evidence there has been no change of nature or disposition – he is still lacking in true Salvation.
There is yet another type of “believer” - the one who knows and chooses a life of unbelief.  This person is willfully choosing not to believe in the message of Truth.  He is dead to Christ, alive to the enemy, and will suffer the same consequences God has reserved for Satan himself.  
As for those Christians who speak and act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, we still have a judgment to face.  James tells us that the believer is going to be judged by the liberality and generosity of Christ Himself.  Our judgment will be proportionate to the amount of mercy we have shown here on earth.  For those who showed no mercy, they will receive no mercy.  The entrance into heaven is a result of the work of Christ, but the enjoyment of heaven and its rewards will be proportionate to what the believer did for Christ in his life of faith on earth. This is a reality that Christians rarely talk about (James 2:12-13).
In conclusion, a man is justified (just as if he did not sin) by applying the works of Christ in Himself, and not by faith alone.  Just like the body without the spirit is dead, so also is faith without its best friend, faith (James 2:24, 26).  Jesus said that the world would know us by our fruit and fruit comes as a result of works being blended with faith.  Faith starts by believing God, without having to have all the answers first.  Works should be a spontaneous act, resulting from believing in the substance of things hoped for.  If I remember correctly, works and faith mixed together make a solid reputation!