Good Morning From the Bitterroot Valley;
This morning we are continuing in Romans. Now in chapter 7 we are looking at why we struggle so much with sin. Well, at least I do! From reading Romans I know Paul did and I imagine it is something you deal with occasionally too. Here are some of my thoughts on Romans 7:7-25
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.Does the law cause us to sin? Certainly not! It is the law that causes us to know what sin is. If this is so then, to some degree the often quoted saying; “You can’t legislate morality” is actually not true. I often say that this law or that law should not be passed or kept on the books because “you can’t legislate morality”. Then let’s get rid of the laws regarding killing someone; because people are still being killed and you can’t ….. Read the rest of this entry
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
It is a partly cloudy with a chance of rain showers to bring the spring flowers. The early morning temperatures hover around 32 degrees but it will warm into the 50s today. Don’t forget to put your two cents into the poll on the right regarding 12/21/2012! If you have voted check out how other readers are voting.
If you recall yesterday we ended up in Romans 6:11-14 in our look at al a cart Christianity. In verse 14 we were encouraged that we no longer needed to let sin be our master because we are no longer under the law but rather under grace. What is grace really? Today we are going to look at grace from God’s perspective. The Merriam Webster Dictionary, in part, gives this definition of the word grace.
Definition of GRACE
a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b: a virtue coming from God c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.
So this grace thing sounds pretty good! God has given us sanctification through Christ’s death on the cross. He knew that we could not meet all of the requirements of the law. We would always fall into sin. Even though we don’t deserve it, (unmerited divine assistance), God provides it so that we can be regenerated or sanctified. This means that because of this we can have a close relationship to our Heavenly Father.
Great! So I don’t have to worry about sinning anymore right? I mean God knows I will sin and grace takes care of all sin right? Well, that doesn’t work either and that is what Paul addresses in the following verses in Romans 6:15-23
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So God wants us to be slaves! Well, I am an American I won’t be a slave. Slavery is bad, we all learned that in school right? Why would we even think about being slaves to anyone? I am an independent self-made man!
Well that is not really true. Paul uses the example of slavery because it was very common in Biblical times. Everyone understood what he was talking about. Today we often associate slavery with racism, which was not the case back then. Slavery is nowhere condemned in the Bible but there are is a lot said about the relationship between slave owners and slaves. For the most part slavery was considerably different than it is portrayed in popular movies and other media today.
Slavery was often voluntary; in that a person chose to go into slavery for a period of time either to learn a trade or to pay off debts, or feed his family in hard times. Exodus 21:2-6 talks of some of the regulations to which Hebrew slaves and slave owners were held
“When you buy a Hebrew slave, six years shall he serve; and in the seventh shall he go out free, for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and the children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto God, and he shall bring him to the door or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”
In fact, thinking about it this could be one of the “al a carte issues” you have chosen to ignore in the past. The Bible condones slavery! But one way you might think about this kind of slavery is to think about your service in the military, assuming you served. When you joined the service it was for a period of time, (i.e. 4 years) and while you were in you were greatly restricted in your freedoms. They told you how to dress, what to do, what you couldn’t do or say. You couldn’t say “I quit, I am out of here!” You could not just go into town whenever you wanted, you had to get a pass. This is similar to what most slavery of Paul’s day was. Sure, there were exceptions and abuses and no life, free or slave was as easy or long as it is today in America. Count your blessings.
What Paul is talking about in the verses above is that we are all slaves when talking about our spiritual lives. We are either slaves to sin as natural man or we can accept Christ’s gift of salvation and become a slave to Jesus Christ. If we have made the choice to accept salvation through Christ Jesus we then have received the gift of grace. This allows us to fellowship with God although we are not perfect yet. If we are going to live in sin then death is the just reward for our rebellion. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God, because of his love for us and his grace to us has provided Jesus Christ as a substitute to die for our sins in our place. Have you taken advantage of that in your life yet? Who would you rather be a slave to?
Tomorrow we will look more at why we struggle so much with sin if we are saved.