Tag: wages of sin

Grace delivers from sin!

Scripture reading for June 22nd:  Romans 6

Someone has said that ‘sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and extracts a price higher than you want to pay.’  Sin is pleasurable for a season, but it always leads to bondage, darkness, and ultimately death–both physical and eternal!   When the Gospel of God’s grace was preached, some falsely claimed that we should sin all the more so that God could receive pleasure in forgiving the sinner!

Paul explained that the true message of the Gospel of grace was not freedom to sin, but freedom to ‘sin not’!  “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.”  (Romans 6:1-4)  This new life was in Christ Jesus, the One who never sinned and was now alive forever!

Our baptism is a drama that we personally and intentionally testify of our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.  As we are immersed in the water, we are saying that in Christ’s death, our old nature of sin was put to death through Christ’s sacrifice of His body and blood.  We are buried with Him in baptism, signifying death!  We are then raised from the water, signifying our identification with His resurrection to a new life!    The old nature of sin has been buried and a new man has emerged, free from the power and penalty of sin!

 

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Seeing sin as “utterly sinful”!

Scripture reading for July 21st: Romans 7:1-14

Paul’s writing in chapter seven was directed now to his fellow Jews who were under the Law but had become Christians.  God’s law had been an object of attention and worthy of obedience.  They had embraced the law as Jews as their source of salvation and righteousness.

Paul used the analogy of marriage to help these new believers understand their new relationship with Christ.  In a sense, they had been ‘married’ to the law.  God’s law of marriage states that a husband is bound to his wife and a wife to her husband as long as they are alive.  When one dies, the other is free from the law of marriage and may remarry.  Now, Christ fulfilled the law by His perfect obedience and became the end or death of the law to all who would believe on Him for righteousness.  (Romans 7:4)

All the law could do was stimulate our sinful passions so that we broke the law by committing sin.  It could only show us this nature and could not deliver us from it.  (Romans 7:5-6)  “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

“What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  Certainly not!  I would have not 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’.” (Romans 7:7)  God’s law is holy but we have sin in our members.  We try to keep the commandments, but the sin in us will rise up and bring us death.  “The wages of sin is death!” (Romans 6:23a)

So the purpose of the law is to help us see sin in our members.  “But in order that  sin might be recognized as sin, it (the law) produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.” (Romans 7:13b)  Sin can only bring death.  We died to the law through the body of Christ to be freed to be married to the resurrected Christ through the Holy Spirit!   Having now been joined to our new husband Christ, we enjoy eternal life!

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The level ground of faith!

Scripture reading for July 16th: Romans 3:9-31

I have heard it said that we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ!  There are no big “I’s” or little “You’s” when it comes to our need for salvation and finding the grace that comes from our Lord’s sacrifice.  In Paul’s letter to the Roman, he stresses that all are in need of this grace and explains why!

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.  The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.  Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)

These verses from the Old Testament quoted here show the universal rule of sin in the lives of human beings.  Sin has permeated all men and is the cause of evil speech, violence, war, and rebellion against God.  Put another way, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  There is no Jew who has kept the law of God and no Gentile who has not violated his conscience!  (Romans 2:14-15)

But thanks be to God that He has provided a remedy!  “But now a righteousness from God apart from law, has been made known, to which the law and prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22)  Faith is the great equalizer.  God has chosen to give the gift of His righteousness to all who will put their faith in what Jesus has done for them.

The real question for us today concerns whether we have come to understand and confess our sinfulness.  Repentance requires that we know our need to change our minds and hearts.  If we have a godly sorrow over our sins and turn from them to Christ for His cleansing, the gift of righteousness is ours by faith!  This is true for all men and women everywhere.  Faith is the level ground where the grace of God flows freely!

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