Weeks reading – Romans 5-9
One summer I went to a youth camp with our kids from the church I pastored. We saw a lot of emotional response to the Youth Camping experience. However, I noticed that even though the kids dealt with sin in their lives inside the sanctuary [gym], as soon as they got outside it was back to the normal of being a youth. I do not doubt that their worship and confession were real. If fact I believe they genuinely wanted to live for God. The struggle was that they were confronted with the “real world” as soon as he music and preaching stopped. The next night they would try all over again to “really mean it” and stay committed. We adopted the phrase “get right-stay right” as a group to hold each other accountable.
Paul addresses the same problem I believe that all believers experience, the spirit is willing, but the flesh it weak. How can we live out that spirit filled life that seems to evade all of us? We find that so much has been done for us through the cross, yet that isn’t the end, the Life we are looking for is the Resurrected Life of Jesus. The blood of Jesus saves us from the wrath of our own sins, but the Resurrected Life of Jesus Christ is our new life. Romans 6:1-7; is used all the time as a New Testament instruction of what baptism is all about. We die when Jesus died, when Jesus was buried, then resurrected, we to are raised to walk in newness of Life; all is symbolic or so we say. If it is only symbolic – I am still alive and sin rules over me. Gal 2:20; repeats Paul’s words that the person of faith and trust in Jesus has died to who they were so they can be free from the Law; released from the tyrant of the Law to condemn us. But we are still alive, and cannot grasp the fact that we were, but now we are dead TO sin because of Jesus.
Because of the Law we know that we are sinners, and that God is holy. For as in Adam all died because of the transgression in Eden, but because of the obedience in Gethsemane, we are all justified through Christ. Salvation is secure for sure. But the problem isn’t salvation but Sanctification. The kids on Youth Camp understood salvation, was to free them from sin, but when they continued to sin, they came into bondage all over again. Romans 6, Paul commands us to no longer submit the members of our body to sin, but to present them to God as slaves of righteousness. [Rom 6:19]
Chapter 7, through a simple but wonderful illustration of marriage and the vows, Paul explains, that if a woman goes to another man, while still attached to husband, she is committing adultery. However, if he dies, then she is free to marry another. In our case, the Law doesn’t die, we die – when we die, we are free from serving the old master. In chapter 7:14-ff, has been a relief for me as I grew in the Lord. The frustration of not being able to do what I want to do, but actually wind up doing the very opposite; continuously gave me a guilt trip. I knew better, but still could not seem to stop myself from doing the very thing I was convicted about. I embraced Romans 7:25 gladly, Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord; He has delivered me from the Law! Because we are delivered, justified, and made to be sons and heirs with Christ, chapter 8 can say that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Free at last! Our salvation is not based upon our good behavior. Nor is it based on our bad behavior. It is based solely on Jesus Christ doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Sanctification is an ongoing process of growing in Christ. We don’t ever stop sinning because we are in the flesh. However, we cannot use that as an excuse to allow sin into our lives. We CANNOT live the Christian life. We were never meant too. Jesus is the Christian life. [John 15:5] Jesus has already lived the life that the Father originally intended man to live, and now wants to live in each of us. I do not live, but Christ lives in me! We get Right by Faith in Jesus, we stay Right by Faith in Jesus. He [Jesus ] is the Christian Life!