I thought this was an insightful and helpful article. I have posted part of it, but you can continue reading it on the link.
How to Deal with Phantom Sin by John Thomas (February 23, 2017)
A few years ago, a friend of mine was in an accident in Africa and his leg was torn off above the knee. After multiple surgeries, he has a stump where his leg used to be and can get around pretty well with a prosthetic. As odd as it sounds, he sometimes feels sensations below the stump—in the leg that is missing.
Amputees often find themselves struggling with a phenomenon called phantom limb. It’s when someone like my friend starts to feel pain, itching or other sensations in the limb that is no longer there.
Phantom limb can be a serious problem because to the person’s brain, the feelings are real. The person “feels” real pain—but there is no body part and no nerves sending signals to the brain, so there is nothing the person can do about it. Painkillers do no good. You can’t scratch a leg that isn’t there. You are stuck with this sensation you can’t do anything about.
As believers we go through something similar. When we meet Jesus, our sinful nature is cut off. It is killed and we become new creations: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. — Galatians 2:20
We have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. — 2 Corinthians 5:14–15
But we have a problem. Even though the sinful nature is dead, we keep having an itch in the “limb” that is no longer there. We find ourselves struggling with temptation and responding to sin as if it were still alive in us. What can we do?