Monday, July 30, 2018

July 31, 2018

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members." Romans 7:14-23

A funny thing happens when I am preparing to hit my tee shot and looking down the fairway I see a water hazard. If my last thought is, "Don't hit it in the water!" Guess where the ball goes?

It is the same thing that happens when someone tells you, "Don't do that!" It makes you want to do it!

That is the nature Paul describes in Romans 7. He makes the argument that knowing the law causes you to break the law because the law says what you can't do. The does and don'ts in the law runs afoul with your rebellious sinful nature. His basic argument is "the law can't save anyone." It can't save the pagan (7:7-14), nor can it save the one trying to live by the law (7:15-22), nor can it even save the man with a new nature (7:23-25).

This explains why you or I cannot save ourselves. We cannot manage sin. We cannot regulate sin or control sin. We cannot escape the power of sin.

Paul describes it this way, "You are married to sin. Like a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives, so you are bound to sin as long as it lives in you."

Says who? Says the law!

Living with sin is like living in a bad marriage. You can't be happy and you can't get out. The Christian can be the most miserable because there are two natures warring within. He is double-minded and unstable.

So, what's the answer? Death of that tyrant is the only way out.

How many times have you heard someone try to justify their own goodness by claiming that they "keep the commandments"? Maybe you have said that.

How many religious people try to save themselves by doing good works? The hope is to tip the moral scales in their favor by doing more good things than bad things. Is that you?

A desperate problem requires drastic action. Your sin nature has to die. The spiritual nature must live and grow. Nothing else will work but complete surrender to the Holy Spirit of God.

Are you ready to empty yourself to be filled with Him?

July 30, 2018

Read any good books lately?

I am reading one right now - Romans! This morning I am in Chapter 6. To summarize it I would say, "If you don't die to sin - it will kill you!"

Here's the skinny.

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." Romans 6:1-8

"What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:21-23

Paul lays it out pretty clearly and simply here, doesn't he? You can live in sin and die, or you can die to sin and live forever! You can live in sin and be a slave to sin or you can live in the righteousness and holiness of God and be free.

He even tells you how to do it! 

Baptism is the key!

The sacrament of baptism is the symbolic act of dying to sin, being buried under the waters, and then rising to new life in Christ. Baptism is identification with the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Baptism allows you to fully appropriate the grace of Jesus Christ. When you die to selfishness and self-will (which is the root of sin), then you live in amazement over the mercy and grace of God toward you through Jesus. When you live as a slave to your selfish desires you will abuse the grace of God - using for your selfish ends as a license to sin. That is despicable!

If you have been baptized as a believer and yet you still are giving yourself as a slave to sin, you are abusing the grace of God. You made a public vow before God and the church that you died with Christ and identified with His resurrection. How can you then still live for selfish goals and desires?

The grace of God is the gift of life given to those who are dying to have it! Grace is the gift of freedom for those who have died to sin. Is that you?

Are you living up to the commitment you made at your baptism?

Then die to sin before it kills you!