A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR YOUR LIFE
ARE YOUR SINS CAPTIVATING OR NAUSEATING?
For in that He (Jesus) died, He died unto sin once: but in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be DEAD indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. LET NOT SIN therefore REIGN in your mortal body, that you should OBEY it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but “yield” yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:10-13)
It is relatively clear with the above scripture that Jesus died once for the sins of ALL people. This may sound like a simple (non-controversial statement) but before we go any further allow me to mention again that the Armenian view believes that His blood paid for everyone’s sins but in the end only the ones who receive this sacrifice by faith will be adopted into God’s plan of salvation. The Calvinistic view embraces the doctrine of limited atonement or in other words Jesus only died and redeemed the elect that God not only foreknew but predestined from the foundation of the world. They believe that if Christ has truly paid for everyone’s sins – then redemption should be seen as total reconciliation of all souls. This is a wonderful conversation that we can study some other day but for now, let us continue with our topic. We notice in verse 10 that Christians are to be identified with the death and resurrection of Christ as a type and shadow with the reality of us DYING or being DEAD to sin and then being born-again and transformed by the power of God into a new creature. The scripture goes on to remind us that since this drastic change has occurred within our being, we are now equipped and enabled to begin fresh and live holy as He is holy. Notice carefully, verse 12 does not imply that being controlled with sin AFTER we have obtained the revelation of sanctification is an option or a luxury. The passage strongly emphasizes the strict “command” and discipline needed in the individual to NOT ALLOW sin to control the mind. Remember last week we talked about the origin of sin coming from our thoughts and in verse 13 we see that yielding or abandoning our WILL allows us to abide in the spiritual sensitivity and personal intimacy with God that is needed to resist temptation. Everyone will serve whom they love as the Lord of their life (whatever it is) and will not only allow but invite these idols to dictate their direction! Selah.
It is common to hear people say, I cannot live holy because I am weak, helpless, a pitiful sinner and filled with failure. Many will confess that it is impossible and not realistic to live without falling captive to sin, but allow me to present a simple thought; if we do not consider holiness as a possible state of being, it is most likely that our subconscious state of thinking will NOT even try. Selah. We can view this mentality as being similar to standing at the base of a mountain and proclaiming there is no way to climb to the summit, even though we can see through binoculars there are several that are at least half-way there. Many times we forget that in spiritual warfare the attitude of demonstrating faith is a crucial strategy that can make the difference in victory or defeat. Like I have said before, we will probably never reach a sinless existence on earth, but may we also not allow our flesh to discourage us by giving us a perfect opportunity to use our carnality as an EXCUSE to live in disobedience. If we do not ATTEMPT to live holy or THINK about living in purity, we will not be as discerning to His conviction and actually fall into darker iniquities more easily. Our old nature is always looking for a reason to give-up and I promise that if we receive counsel from our flesh, its advice will be, “don’t worry about sin – do whatever you want and enjoy it.” It is like soul winning – if we are not aware and do not have a burden for souls to be saved; we will not spend a minute in prayer about it or even be looking for an opportunity to witness to someone. “For as he thinketh in his heart – so is he” (Proverbs 23:7), this little verse is packed with a storehouse of wisdom. Whatever CONSUMES our thoughts, our focus, our love, our dreams, and our passion – this is what we will become! If our determination is to live holy, what is there to stop us but our own choices? If we are NOT concerned that sin is an offense to God, we will continue to live a double-minded, lukewarm, defeated life. Selah.
Whenever we choose to listen to our old nature we are vulnerable to being tricked by our own internal rebellion. Our carnality is so clever that it can function as a defense attorney on behalf of Satan and the kingdom of hell because it has not only been influenced but highly trained and skilled at presenting “half-truths.” The flesh will argue that we are now set free from the old law and have been given spiritual liberty and peace through the grace, mercy and love of God. This is true but at the same time can be twisted and taken out of context according to God’s bigger picture of absolute truth. Just because we are not under the law does not mean that God has changed His view about sin. He did not send Jesus to suffer and die so that our life could be one continuous party. We rejoice, celebrate, praise, worship and are grateful for our forgiveness and deliverance FROM sin – not because now we can sin all we want! “For sin shall NOT have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid. Do you not know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6: 14-16) I admit it is difficult to understand how we can reason within our mind and come up with such strange ways of justifying our desires. It is like we have the ability to “customize” our own way of living as we carefully put all of the puzzle pieces together to satisfy our own pleasure and contentment. Our emotions are very deceiving because they have the power when working in cooperation with our carnality to give us peace and confidence even when we are horribly wrong. Selah. Listen as these verses continue the context of the thought. “For when you WERE servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ASHAMED? For the end of those things is DEATH. But now being made FREE FROM SIN, (having nothing to do with sin) and becoming servants to God, you have your fruit unto HOLINESS, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6: 20-22) It is very interesting to note the word “ashamed” because this is what comes to mind when in the Garden of Eden, God came calling for Adam in the cool of the day and Adam was embarrassed to come out because he was naked. I believe this guilty “state of being” is running rampant within the church and has caused the Christian presence in general to become cold, weak and spiritually dry. When any Christian is being controlled by sin, they are living in a long-distance relationship with God which in turn drains them of the power and faith to live as a red-hot flaming minister of the gospel. When we are living in dis-obedience we are afraid of Him and lose our boldness and confidence which comes from being pure. When we openly enjoy the darkness and corruption of sin, we do not want to walk and hold hands with Him because we know we are wrong and need to repent.
I have always been under the impression that if we are living close to God that we would hate the sin in our life. It would seem logical that for someone to be filled with God’s Spirit, this would empower them to be “hyper-sensitive” to sin and be able to easily recognize when darkness and evil is trying to knock on the door. I will confess, there have been times in my life where I did not hate my sins but actually embraced and protected them. It is by the grace of God that His Holy Spirit CONVICTS us and “haunts” our heart by reminding us that we are going in a wrong direction and need to turn around. When the heart becomes calloused and numb to sin, we lose our feelings of guilt and the rebellion of our old nature becomes like an out of control “monster” with no conscience or feelings of remorse. The truth is that we should hate those times when we choose to please our flesh or invite carnality to lead us and gladly forget about what God wants. It does not take a Bible scholar to understand that sin drives a wedge in our relationship with God until we repent and turn our focus back to Him. Actually if we are walking as a true disciple of Christ, sin should make us nauseated because we realize that we are hurting and disappointing God. In this light, our attitude toward sin makes the difference between being aware of our thoughts and actions and living an undisciplined life of constant compromise.
Have you ever sat and thought about how Jesus suffered for you? Do you hate that Jesus had to suffer for your failures? Sometimes I believe we see pictures of Jesus on the cross and hear about how He rose from the dead, but we think on the terms of Him doing it for the “world” instead of for us. A personal relationship with Christ means that we are “bonded” with Him in the knowing that He died for us personally – and that He loves us personally. There are many things to be filled with joy about today! I know my sins are covered under the blood of Jesus and I know that I cannot fail so much that God will stop loving me. I know I am saved by grace though faith and that the seal of that salvation is the Holy Spirit residing inside my own heart. In order NOT to take for granted the blood of Jesus, we must be “on guard” for a lethargic arrogance that can cause us to stop caring about the sin in our lives because we think it is automatically covered by Jesus. It seems that much of the problem is that we forget just how God feels about sin and what He has done to deliver us from it. If the old saying is true that, “out of sight – is out of mind” then maybe we need to keep reminding ourselves of how much love it took to bring Him to earth and inspire Him to be willing to die for us. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us ALL. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shears is dumb (quiet), so He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:4-7) This is a perfect explanation of how God feels about sin. He gave the highest most precious gift that could be given so that we could be saved from it. For us to “wallow” in sin after such a display of compassion and generosity would be like spitting in the face of a firefighter that just pulled us from the flames. The utter brutality of His sacrifice illustrates just how much God hates sin and should cause us to live soberly and in reverence to Him. There are no words that can explain or do justice to communicate the horror He suffered for our sins. He was more than wounded – He had nails hammered into his hands and feet, his head was dripping in blood from the crown of thorns and He spent his final hours scraping his shredded back against a piece of wood, hoisting his weight upon the nails in his hands and feet just to take each and every breath. He did all of this naked and under the hot sun was mocked and laughed at all because He loved us more than His own life. He was bruised and beaten, bashed in the face again and again and when He was whipped, it was not just those thin red lines you get from a normal leather whip. Jesus was scourged with strands of leather embedded with glass, rock, and anything else they could tie onto leather. The effect of this sadistic device was to dig into the skin and rip it away from the body as it was pulled across. His back was more than striped – it was shredded. How can this kind of pain and suffering that occurred during the punishment and death of Jesus be described? How can this type of love be measured? Let us not forget that Jesus deserved none of it because He was “perfect” without sin. Our heavenly Father allowed His only begotten Son to suffer a level of suffering and pain that no one can even fathom in their worst nightmares. This is just a glimpse of how God feels about sin.
Eternal life is a free gift that Jesus purchased for us through His agony and death. Even the sins we will commit today are paid for because they were placed on Jesus at the cross. We must never think that our sin has no effect because they do – those sins nailed Him to a cross. There are always consequences for sin but the cross is a reminder that Jesus bore the punishment for the sins we commit. All sin must be punished and in Christ the WAGES of our sin was His death. You see, without Christ, we would bear that punishment eternally but through the establishment of His blood covenant we can be forgiven. In the end, it is about gratitude. Are we truly grateful for what Jesus did for us? Do we consider the COST of our sins and the PRICE that Jesus paid for us to deliver us from temptation? The answer is in our actions. Selah. Appreciation is more than just saying “thank you” but actually living as though we do. Sadly, our willingness to sin reveals our lack of gratitude – and this is where we must evolve! “A possible you” includes the possibility that you and I can not only visualize but actually manifest a much better and improved way of life in the area of purity and virtuous living. Grace is not a license to be carnal. It is time to realize that refusing to let go of our precious sin is like wiping our muddy feet on His love.