Sunday, September 28, 2014

Living Free From Sin: Our Beginning

Our Beginning
Romans 6:18 “having been set free from sin…”
Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin…”
The word of God says that we are set free from sin, so why then do we continue to sin? Have we really been set free from sin and if so how do we apply God’s promise and power to overcome sin to our lives?
These are some of the questions that we will be looking at in the upcoming weeks, but first it might be good if we have a few introductory remarks.
                During the course of this study and discussion we will be using Romans 1-8 as our foundational scripture. While we will be using the first half of the book of Romans as our launching pad we will be referencing many other scripture passages throughout the entire bible as we go along.

Unless otherwise noted all scripture references will be from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.

*Terms- It will be important for me to explain how I will be using a few terms during this study to avoid confusion. This will become more clear later and I will remind us of these terms uses as I am using them, but I will lay them out for us now:
-          -- the Blood – when talking about the work of Jesus Christ for justification, atonement, and forgiveness of sins I will use the terminology “the Blood”.
·        -- the Cross – When talking about the Jesus Christ’s work to deliver us from sin or to “free us from sin” I will use the phrase “the Cross”.
·       --  Calvary – normally the Cross would be a picture of the complete and total work of redemption, but I will use the term “Calvary” in this study because, the Cross is the best picture of deliverance available in Christian terminology.

Whew! now that we have those terms fuzzily clarified for us we can begin our study.

                Where might we begin if we are to live a life “free from sin”? We must start at the same place that everything began…in Christ.  First we must receive forgiveness for our sins. God offers this through the Blood of his son Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. This passage tells us why we need forgiveness. We come to the point, by the prodding of the Holy Spirit on our souls, that we recognize we have sinned against God and need forgiveness. What are we to do? God, in his grace, provided a means of forgiveness for us. If we carry our verse from Romans 3:23 all the way to verse 25 we learn how God provided for our forgiveness “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” God supplied a once for all atonement for what man has done. Why is the blood necessary? Hebrews 9:22 says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”.  This is a reference to the Old Testament where the law required the sacrifice of a lamb and the shedding of its blood for forgiveness of sins. The law still requires that, but Jesus was the perfect lamb supplied by God so that no more blood sacrifices would be needed for the forgiveness of sin. His one perfect sacrifice took care of that problem once and for all. John 1:29 “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ died for sin once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (NIV)”. In Christ, through the work of his Blood we are made right with God.  Notice that, with the exception of the John 1 quote, all these are stated in the past tense. They have already taken place. It is a done deal! It is not that Christ will die for our sins but that he has died. It is a fact. Our only part in this work is to believe it and accept it. John 3:16 “that whosoever believes in him”.  We will look a little further into this matter in a few days, but first in our study on salvation we need to understand what sin does and where sin takes us from so that we can more fully understand what salvation does and where salvation takes us to.
 What sin does – Sin is disobedience to God. Our sins are followed immediately by guilt. Once we are aware of our sins we will experience guilt.  When we sin we now have a barrier between us and God that prevents us from being near to God. So we are separated from God.  There are three persons intimately involved with sin: God, Man, and Satan. First, God says “all have sinned” Rom 3:23. Man then feeling guilt cries out “I have sinned” Luke 15:18. Thirdly, the sin provides Satan with a charge against us before God and our guilt provides ground for him to accuse us in our own hearts. Satan is “the accuser of our brothers” Rev 12:10. For us to be brought back to fellowship with God all three of these charges had to be met by Jesus’ work. This was done by his Blood. Our sin first had to be dealt with by the Blood of Christ. Our guilt and our conscience are dealt with by understanding and realizing the value of Jesus’ Blood.  Then we must meet the attack of the enemy and answer his accusations. The Blood of Christ works in all three ways: Godward, Manward, and Satanward.

When we meet next time we will discuss how the value of the Blood of Jesus meets all three of these charges against us and provides for us total forgiveness of our sins. Without the forgiveness, as we shall see later, we cannot begin to life a life free of sin. Who can be said to be free from sin when they are still declared guilty.

As Dr. James Vernon McGee said, “Until next time may God richly bless you my beloved.”

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