Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011 … Dead to Sin

Passage of the Day: Romans 6: 1 – 2 [see verse in bold/underlined] … Rom. 5: 20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. --- Rom. 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

My Journal for Today:
It is important for all true Christians to have a foundational understanding of our relationship with sin. The Apostle Paul was confronted by this basic doctrinal issue when he asked the important rhetorical question in his letter to the Romans (v. 6: 1). In the context of what he had just written in Rom. 5: 20 – 21 (printed above for your context and edification), Paul asked, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” And to this question Paul answers with the strongest negation found in the Greek language, which is “me” (pronounced “may”) – a small word but a very strong statement, which in our language is the equivalent of saying, “Absolutely not!” … or … “Forget it!” … or maybe, more colloquially, … “NO WAY!”

And so, my fellow Christian, here’s the simple truth. A true, born-again believer in Christ is dead to sin. However, the dilemma found in that same Christian is the fact that this person (maybe it’s you or me) has a sin nature with which he must contend. But for a REAL Christian to continue in conscious, unrepentant, and habitual sin with no remorse is a virtual and spiritual impossibility. Besides today’s cited passage, Paul repetitively in his epistles harkens to this reality (see Eph. 2: 1 – 5 [linked] and Col. 1: 13 - 14).

We, who now are in Christ, have been bought by the atonement of our Savior, … saved from the darkness of death into the light of eternal life. And though the Christian, retaining a sin nature, may sin – even by choice – such sin will never happen for the born-again believer without redress or conviction by the Holy Spirit, Who now resides in the heart of that believer for eternity.

In the ministry to which I’ve been called to serve, which deals with Christians who fall prey to habitual, or even repetitive, sexual sin, I’m often asked, “How could I truly be a Christian and continue to sin in this way sexually?” To such a question I usually ask a diagnostic question in retort, asking, “When you do sin – even repetitively – do you enjoy the results of your sin afterwards or does the sin satisfy your inner being?” The true Christian responding to my question will answer, “No, way!” [which, BTW, is the same strong negation as the Apostle used in Greek in Rom. 6:1] And continuing, … the Christian who has denied any satisfaction from the chosen sin pattern usually also reports having severe, acute remorse from the conviction they feel from God’s Spirit after a bout or binge into selfish sensual sin. Often the remorse/guilt from the sin drives that one to periods [even long periods] of sobriety from sexual sin; and the valley of remorse can stay with that one for a period of time, even at times allowing that believer to experience to climb to a higher place of joy from their relationship with Christ. This is what I call the roller-coaster ride of repentance and remorse of the immature Christian, riding high when he is pure and then falling fast into the valley of despair involving the chosen sin. As I say, that’s the way of the immature Christian. However, it’s the mature Christian who learns to level off in his/her life of faith, knowing that living with the joy resulting from obedience to God’s way is worth what it takes to stay on an even keel in the life of a Christian, and realizing to follow and live out what that more mature Christian learns in order to avoid sin and practice spiritual temperance. And when, in the mature and long lasting decision to follow Christ, rather than self, that maturity becomes so joyful that he/she wants to help others find that dying to sin and living in Christ is so much more fulfilling than any fix one might get from partaking of the sin nature.

So, if you’re reading this as a fellow Christian, KNOW this! In Christ, you are – and choose to be - dead to sin. It is a defeated foe. Yes, sin is a persistent foe; … but in Christ you will ultimately win the battle!

My Prayer Today: In You, Lord, sin has no sway over me! Amen

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