Friday, February 09, 2007

Dead to Sin?

We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer (Romans 6:2b)? For we know our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin (6 - 7). In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires (11-12).
Do you feel like a slave to sin? Do you feel dead to sin? I would venture to say that most of us feel as if we are somewhere in between. I am certainly not free from sin, so I can't say that I am dead to it. When you are dead to something, it has no control over you. At times, I feel like I am enslaved to sin, because I keep getting pulled into behavior that I know is wrong. No one makes me sin. It is I who sin, however if I was really dead to sin, then it would have absolutely no influence in my life.

Can we still struggle with sin, and yet claim freedom from it?

Let's look at the slavery example. Think about what you know about slavery: it is not a life one chooses, one has no control about for whom they work or what they do, there are no wages or no privileges that go along with it. Even if a master is "good," one is still unhappy with their life, because they have no freedom. The master has complete control over the slave's life. We are not really slaves to sin, because we do have a choice and though it is hard, we can control our sinful impulses.

But then I think I began to understand when I asked myself, what does freedom entail? Here are a few definitions:

2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery.
6. exemption from the presence of anything specified
7. the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.
15. the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like.

Romans 6:14 explains, "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Even though I give in to sin, it no longer has a hold on me, because it has no authority or power. The grace of God brings forgiveness and complete absolution of that sin. So my freedom comes as I exercise my right to look beyond the letter of the law to the heart of grace.
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. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I can indeed claim to be free from sin, primarily because I believe that the Bible is true, and Romans 6:22-23 (above) tell me that I have been set free from sin. Beyond that, I can look at the fruit. Even though I still sin, I can fully recognize that there is no benefit to it. Indulge my mind with tantalizing garbage? The garbage starts to rot and pollute my thoughts. Indulge my flesh with food--too much food, food with empty calories, food that my body does not need? Yes, it's good at the moment, but that food weighs me down (literally), and the lack of self-control spills into other areas of my life as well. Say what I think? Claim my "rights?" Everyone is not entitled to my opinion and I don't really have any rights (to be treated a certain way or always do what I want to do).

The realization of all of this leads to holiness. The fact that I feel guilty over those same sins that I've been committing for years proves that I am moving one step closer to holy living. The eternal life is just what it says it is--a gift. It's not to be earned by perfection. If it was, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross for our sins. He was perfect, and I'm just trying to follow in His footsteps.

Now that I cleared all that up, I'll be tackling the subject of world hunger next.


Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

There are some areas, sins in my life that have become such "pets" to me I cannot give them up. I can...and I do...but I repeatedly go back to them.

Thank you for this reminder Jennifer. Good stuff as always.

Elle said...

This was one of my favorite passages because freedom from sin means my Master is now God, and He is only a Holy and Perfect Master. It also brings me to my knees in gratitude to know that He has paid those wages of sin and gifted me with eternal life. Praise His name!