Thursday, 21 February 2019

O wretched man that I am

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.  – Romans 7.21-25

How do we respond honestly to the terrible truth that we do the things we don’t want to do and we don’t do the things we ought to do and want to do?

Paul nailed it – he said what needed to be said, ‘O wretched man that I am…’ It is a wretched thing to be caught in that trap when you just can’t see to get it right and move on. It is defeating and discouraging and disappointing and depressing to never seem to ‘get the victory.’

So yes, O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?

Thankfully there is an answer – I thank God, I can be delivered through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am not bound to continue this cycle of doing what I don’t want and not doing what I do. The answer is Christ in me. Jesus, and Jesus alone can deliver me from this body of death and defeat sin within me.

Now, if I could just yield to Him and stop trying to fight it on my own.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

A batttle

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. – Romans 7.14-20

The law is spiritual. I am carnal. I am still living in a fleshly body that cries out for satisfaction. So I find myself in a dilemma. I don’t do the things I want to do. I do do the things I don't want to do. I still have to deal with the presence of sin. The old me was crucified but sin is still residing with me.

What a mess, huh?  I think we have all ‘been there, done that.’

There is a solution, but we need to be aware that this is a very real situation. We are all going to battle with the devil and the world, but we are also going to have to battle the real truth that the flesh is still an enemy.

The battle is real. It is ever present with us. As long as we live in this flesh we are going to struggle with sin. Perfection is not going to come until we meet Jesus face to face.

But what do we do about it this battle in the meantime? More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Oldness of the letter

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. – Romans 7.1-6

Using the picture of a divorced woman being bound to her husband until he dies and then is free to marry another Paul further illustrates that in Christ we have a new spouse.

The Jews were married to the law. We are married to Christ. We are not bound to the oldness of the letter. Now we are bound to the newness of the spirit.

Jesus talked about He came to fulfil the law. He said the law alone binds because in the spirit we have life.

How does that play out in my everyday life? It means that I am not bound by a ticklist or a bunch of dos and don’ts. It means that I am not bound by a bunch of laws.

That sounds great, but now I have what is in some ways a tougher challenge. Now I am bound to the spirit. When Jesus described what that means it seems even tougher. The law said we can’t commit adultery. Jesus says we aren’t to even think about it. The law says we cannot kill. The spirit says that if we are truly in the spirit we won’t even hate because hate is the same as murder.

It isn’t as easy as a ticklist. Anybody could do that. It is a matter of yielding to the Holy Spirit when deciding what to do in our lives. That means we need to pray and study the scriptures and seek godly discernment.

Now we should serve in the newness of a spirit controlled life. 

Monday, 18 February 2019

The gift of God

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6.23

Everything comes at a cost. We tend to think of our wages as good things, but there are cases where we sould say that the wages can be bad. The wages for a night of drinking is a hangover. The wages of drink driving is endangering lives. The wages of smoking are heart or lung disease. The wages of unhealthy eating are cardiovascular disease and so on.

Here we have the ultimate picture of bad wages. The wages for sin is death.

Death, physical, spiritual, and eternal is the cost we pay for sin. Because of sin man’s spirit is dead already. Because of sin my body will die. Because of sin man’s eternity is one of separation from God.

BUT

BUT

But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The gift of God – a gift! Because it is a gift it cannot be earned. A true gift is permanent because a true gift is given without condition. A true gift cannot be taken back. All a gift requires is acceptance.

Eternal life – eternal! Because it is eternal it is permanent. If it could be lost it would be temporary. But it is eternal!

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Not me or my works or my goodness or my church or because I am special, but through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thanks God for His most precious gift!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Present your members to holiness

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. – Romans 6.18-19


Free from we are now called slaves of righteousness. Paul admits this is a tough way to put it because he is speaking in terms we can understand. Slaves of righteousness means that we are now bound to do what it right.

It is not just a matter of doing right. It also deals with how we do what is right. A lot of time our practical righteousness can almost be done begrudedly and with a ‘have to’ spirit. Paul writes here though that we are to use our members to serve righteousness with the same fervour with which we used to pursue uncleanness.

The result of doing so will mean the end will not be despair and emptiness from serving sin we will see holiness by serving righteousness.

My desire now is that as I start every day I do so with a determination in my heart and a deep reliance on ‘Christ in me’ that I will by His grace live today seeking righteousness and pursuing holiness. I need to chase it just like I used to chase my own selfish and fleshly pursuits.

What will you and I chase after today?


Saturday, 16 February 2019

Don't let sin reign

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. – Romans 6.12-14

We not only have a new master after salvation – we have a new king. Once sin reigned supreme. It was the king of our lives. The prince of the power of this world sat on the throne of our hearts so we all had an evil style contrary to God. King Sin had control of our lives..

But then Jesus came and broke the power of King Sin. He dethroned King Sin and took his place. Now it is our job to let Jesus reign.

How does this play out in our day to day lives?

It means that when the flesh calls out for attention to satisfy its sinful fleshly desires we chose to not let sin reign as we remember we are no longer bound. We chose to follow the Spirit with the knowledge that Christ is in us giving us the power to do what is right.

There is no sin where we have say ‘I just can’t handle it’ or ‘that’s just the ways I am.’ We have all the power of Jesus Christ Himself to defeat the power of our former regent.

Don’t let sin reign – instead let our new King have control.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Reckon yourselves

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6.10-11

Paul spends a lot of time here in Romans 6-8 dealing with the whole issues of Christians and how we are to deal with sin. He says that same basic truth in a lot of ways. Each of these though have an important instruction that we should not miss.

Here we read that the key to having victory over sin is that we reckon oursleves dead to sin. This is an accounting term. We look over the facts and examine the books and we do the figuring and we recognise that we are dead to sin.

It is this reckoning that reminds us that when we see it is nobody’s fault but our own. We are dead to sin. When we are tempted we need not give in. No temptation has any power unless I empower it but relying on my own strength and ignoring the power of God in my life. The sooner we realise that we have all the power in Christ to defeat sin the sooner we can we can begin to see victory in our lives. My new life is in Christ and He defeated sin and death.

I am not facing that next battle with temptation alone – it has no powers because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.