Thursday, October 9, 2014

Living Free From Sin: Man's Dual Problem part 1

          We have seen that God's remedy for what we have done, our sin, is the Blood of Jesus Christ. This is an exceptional truth that we certainly need to grasp and praise God for, but it would be a complete shame if we were to stop in our christian lives at the point of salvation. The salvation experience is described in the Bible as being "born again", but a new baby isn't meant to stay a baby forever. Babies were created in a way that growth is natural and necessary. The same is true of us in the "new life" we have in Christ. Growth is important. The understanding that we are forgiven by God for the sins that we have committed, our standing before him, is part of that new birth. The understanding that the Blood of Christ is sufficient not only for God to forgive me once, but for constant application of forgiveness so that I can go before him with a clear conscience because of Christ is a part of that growth. That is something that doesn't necessarily come at the moment of salvation. It didn't for me at least. But thank God the growth doesn't stop there either as we shall see soon.

        Back to Romans
         Now that we have laid our foundation, the ground of access to God, we will come back to our launching pad. Romans 1-8  has a natural division. The first section of Romans, from 1:1-5:11, uses the terminology "Blood" and "sins", while the second section, from 5:12-8:39, uses the terminology "Crucified" and "sin". Notice that in the first section "sins" is plural. In that first section it is a question of the sins I have committed before God. In the second section "sin" is singular; the question is sin as a principle working in me. No matter how many sins I commit, it is always the one sin-principle leading to them. So I need forgiveness for my sins, but I need deliverance from the power of sin. The first talks of my conscience while the second talks of my life. I am forgiven, but because of my sin I have no lasting peace of mind.

Man's Dual Problem: Sin and Sin-Nature

        When God first saves me and the light of his salvation shines into my heart my one cry is for forgiveness, because I realize I have committed sins before him; but when I have received forgiveness of sins I make a new discovery, the discovery of sin, and I realize that not only have I committed sins before God but that there is something wrong within. I realize that I have the nature of a sinner, that is, an inward inclination to sin. I seek forgiveness and receive it, but I sin once more. So life goes on as a vicious circle of sinning, being forgiven, and sinning again. I praise God for the blessed fact of his forgiveness, but I want something more: I want deliverance. I need forgiveness for what I have done, but I also need deliverance from what I am. 

God's Dual Remedy
         There are two aspects of salvation presented to us here in Romans 1-8.  First, we are shown the forgiveness of our sins and second, our deliverance from sin. Now, as I said before in the first section we have reference to the Blood (Rom. 3:25; 5:9), while in the second section, Paul says we are Crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6). The first part focuses on the work of Jesus represented by the Blood. In the Second part the terminology changes as the focus is on the work of Jesus represented by the Cross, which is our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. We shall see that the Blood deals with what we have done, while the Cross deals with what we are. "The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin" (Nee).

         I am very excited about these next few posts. We are getting right down to the heart of our topic now. As, James V. McGee said "This is where the rubber meets the road friends", and it is so true. The understanding of the truths that we are coming to can completely change your life and to get us out of that "vicious cycle" where we sin, are forgiven, and sin again. I say this, but it is only if the Holy Spirit is revealing the truths to you. Please as we continue in our study, be in prayer. Pray before you read the blog. Another important point is to read through these sections yourself and pray that God will give you the wisdom to understand his Word. We are each called to, "present yourself to God  as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim.2:15). Don't just take my word for it, but ask God what he has to say about it. Until next time let us remember the cry of Jesus on the Cross, "It is finished". His cry was not, "It will be finished". He has won all our battles we just haven't realized it yet.

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