In an age of relativism, it is easy to justify our favorite sin. Although I often have “discussions” online with folks who claim to be “in Christ,” who are struggling with homosexuality and just want to find a justification for it. Some have spent years dealing with this struggle and have become exhausted.
The problem is that, just as with any sin, none of us can surrender and attempt to find justification for it. You are not, and cannot be both carnal & spiritual if you are a Christian! I’m sorry if that offends you. And I am sorry if someone has mislead you on the issue of Grace. Paul makes this clear when he wrote to the church in Rome and said, “You are dead to sin! That’s right! It is not longer your master. Instead, you have been made alive in Christ.” Take a look:
What should we say then? Should we continue to sin so that God’s kindness will increase? That’s unthinkable! As far as sin is concerned, we have died. So how can we still live under sin’s influence?
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Yeshua were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:1-3)
J.B. Phillips makes this much plainer:
Well then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness?
Hell no! Should we keep on sinning when we don’t have to? For sin’s power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through his death the power of your sinful nature was shattered (Romans 6:1-3)
This makes it clear, we are Christians. We are not “Covetous-Christians,” or “Gay-Christians,” “Gluttonous-Christians,” “Fornicating-Christians,” or “Thieving-Christians.” We are Christians who have been given NEW LIFE! For you to say “I am a ____-Christian” (you fill in the blank with whatever sin you struggle with), is saying that you identify with your sin, not with your new Lord: Jesus ALONE! When we add in that hyphenated modifier, we are proclaiming your intention to hold onto that sin!
Now before you send me any “hate” emails, you know, the ones that proclaim they are tolerant (just not tolerant if you don’t agree with them) ~ I am asking, those who daily look for the coming of our Savior, please be praying for the Body of Christ, we are all in need of His GRACE and understanding to overcome!!!
Now, let me make this clear. Before you surrendered your life to Jesus, you were flat out, rebellious against the Living God. That was your natural disposition because you were born in sin. You couldn’t help it. In the same way, that a dog cannot help but bark, you could not help but sin. In reality, all of us, by nature,living in a prison cell and it takes the prevenient Grace of God to awaken us to the fact that we are lost and cannot get out. We were quickly heading to destruction. As AC/DC taught us:
Season ticket on a one way ride . . .
On the highway to hell
Because of our rebellion, our enemy had the legal right to harm and harass us. Jesus stated that enemy came to “steal, kill and destroy,” and this is exactly what he does. The chains that imprisoned us were locked tight and we could yell and scream, but it would do no good. You could not escape. You were doomed.
But then came your Savior! He stood between you and your tormentor and took his blows and attacks for you. That is an extraordinary reality that he was turned to a pulp and actually died. That’s right, Yahweh’s Son died, so you would not have to!
The verdict against you was guilty! Condemned! Eternally separated from God! But suddenly . . . it changes. when you woke up to reality of what Jesus did, the chains fell off and you were standing there Justified! Forgiven! Redeemed! Righteous! Hallelujah! Time to dance and shout!
But here’s the problem: Most of us have stopped with the Good News right there. Jesus’ blood was shed. He died. We heard the news and began to thank Him. We lifted up our arms in celebration, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you!” But the Word of God says, “Could you check the door? Because my blood was shed for more than just forgiveness.”
You see, forgiveness was the avenue through which He could set us free. He isn’t just interested in the consequences, the penalty being canceled. He also dealt with the problem of sin. The door separating us from Him is no longer locked! Open it! Walk out! Walk free!
Paul wrote to the Galatians:
It was for this freedom that Christ set us free, completely liberating us; so keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of sin which has been removed (Galatians 5:1)
Jesus is standing there saying, “You are now free. You may now walk free. So produce fruit that is consistent with your repentance; demonstrate a new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin . . .” (Matthew 3:7-8).
Paul made this perfectly clear in his letter to the church in Rome:
So those who are believers in Christ Yeshua can no longer be condemned. The standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Yeshua, have set you free from the standards of sin and death. It is impossible to do what God’s standards demand [Really? But why]]?] because of the weakness our human nature has. [Oh. That I can understand] But God (Ooh, I do love that phrase) But God sent his Son to have a human nature as sinners have and to pay for sin. [Yeah? So?] That way God condemned sin in our corrupt nature. Therefore, we, who do not live by our corrupt nature, no, but by our spiritual nature, are able to meet God’s standards in Moses’ Teachings (Romans 8:1-4)
Oh, that can’t be all there is to it. There must be more. Well, there is:
Those who live by the corrupt nature have the corrupt nature’s attitude. [Ooh! Ouch!] But those who live by the spiritual nature have the spiritual nature’s attitude. The corrupt nature’s attitude leads to death. [Oh no. I don’t want that] But the spiritual nature’s attitude leads to life and peace! This is because the corrupt nature has a hostile attitude toward God. [Oh! That makes sense] It refuses to place itself under the authority of God’s standards [But why?] because it can’t. Those who are under the control of the corrupt nature can’t please God. However, if God’s Spirit lives in you, and you are under the control of your spiritual nature, your corrupt nature will not be in control (Romans 8:5-9)
Oh, how simple is that?
However, if Christ lives in you, [Yes, He does. Then] your bodies are dead because of sin, but [Now pay attention] your spirits are alive because you have God’s approval. Does the Spirit of the one who brought Yeshua back to life live in you? [Yes, He does] Then the one who brought Christ back to life will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:10-11)
Oh man, I cannot find words to express all the riches we can find in this chapter! Every time I read this chapter I feel like I am on an ascending path culminating in a paean of praise! This chapter can sweep you off your feet and carry you into the presence of God Himself! If you can read it with an open heart and mind, I guarantee your spirit will soar and you will find victory over whatever ails you! It would be impossible not to be changed after breathing in the truths contained in this life-changing chapter!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add youm—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.