Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 23, 2016

Your Death has Freed You!

What will you do with Your Life Now That You are Dead?

If that seems like a contradictory question then you are not thinking in spiritual terms; from a spiritual perspective that is an important question that demands an answer. The Apostle Paul just happens to address that question in Romans 7.

In Romans 7:4-6 Paul writes:

So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.”

 In “But What About Your Crucifixion?” I mentioned Paul’s comparison between the Spirit led life and the fleshly life controlled by the sin nature. For Paul to devote so much space to this problem we could reasonably conclude that this is a big problem; I think our collective experience will confirm that reality, it is a big problem.

Paul has carefully pointed out that our old sin nature was crucified and we are under no obligation to serve it but sadly we still do serve it from time to time. The problem with sin is it is so pervasive, so universal in this fallen world; it is really hard to avoid. Later in Romans Paul points out just how pervasive sin really is when he writes in Romans 14:23b, “everything that is not of faith is sin.

Your Experience with Sin and the Law

I selected that title carefully because I believe it is vital to distinguish between your positional righteousness before God and your daily experience in living on this earth in your mortal body. Positionally you have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you as a free gift as referenced, for example, in Ephesians 2:6-7 where it is written:

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

It would certainly have been possible for God to take us to heaven as He did Enoch at the moment we received Christ as Savior but it pleased God to leave us on this earth for reasons desirable to Him. Having been left on earth in our mortal bodies we are faced with the challenges of living our lives in a world of sin and rebellion against God. During our time on earth we are charged with wearing many hats; this has been described in an essay I wrote called “God’s Second Greatest Gift” We must also deal with the problem of sin and our sin nature.

Paul’s Experience with Sin and the Law

When I think of the Apostle Paul I see him as a giant of the Christian faith and a paragon of Christian virtue and while that is true he too had to struggle with sin as he described in the following verses.

“14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Soldiers on a Spiritual Battlefield

I believe we can all relate to Paul’s concerns in this matter; there is not one of us who has not shared in those feelings of frustration concerning sin. We are soldiers of the cross and must live out our entire lives on a spiritual battlefield, should we not expect conflict? In Ephesians 6:10-17 where Paul writes:

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The subject of our soldier-hood was covered in some detail in the series To the Soldiers in the Spiritual War. I encourage your understanding of this facet of your reality.

What God has promised us is revealed in the next part as we rejoice in God’s solution to the problem of sin.


Responses

  1. God is good and and gives his children all of the resources that we need, the Holy Spirit, his mighty word (the bible) and direct communication with him through prayer. Thank you wonderful Jesus for loving us so much.

    Like


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