Monday, April 19, 2010

What is means to be a Christian

READ: Romans 7
KEY VERSE: Romans 7:17
In this chapter, the apostle Paul explains that the Law binds only the living; no court punishes the dead. When we die to sin, we also die to the Law and are made alive to Christ, joining with him and our brethren in the family of God. When we were alive to the Law, our sins bore fruit for our master, Death. Now that we instead live in Christ, our Law is replaced by the guidance of the Holy Ghost - the true Spirit of the Law.
"But why have the Law at all?", you ask. The apostle teaches why in the next few verses. The Law is our schoolmaster; it exists to teach us right from wrong. Before Paul was old enough to understand right and wrong (as a little child) he was free from sin and heaven bound. When he became aware of sin, his sinful nature perverted his knowledge of sin and used it to tempt him from perfection and when he sinned, his eternal destination changed (vv 9-12).
But Paul's eternity did not remain in Hell. When he accepted Christ, he became dead to sin. The old man was destroyed and replaced by a new man immune to sin. This new man, the inner man, then must wage war with the flesh. Paul explains security of the believer quite simply in verse 17 (KJV): "Now then it is no more I that [violate God's will], but sin that dwelleth in me." The battle between the two natures, the ultimate warfare in a Christian's life, is not about salvation. That account was settled long ago. It is about being an instrument of God and not an instrument of Death. We ought to despise our flesh for being sinful (v 24), but understand that the sin is separate from us. We are kept clean in our souls, and when the Lord ressurects His elect (those set apart by a choice for Him), the body will be made pure and perfect as well (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). But before the transformation, all the good we do is corrupted and worthless. When we have invited Christ into our heart, we can serve the Law of God with our minds (at the very least).
(1) Verse 6 warns against clinging to the letter of the law, saying we should focus on the spirit of the law. Do you slip into legalism?
(2) Do you understand security of the believer as explained in Romans 7:14-25? Its very important and is worth asking someone about. See my essay "A Brief History of Evil" for more, e-mail me at, or ask your pastor.
(3) Who do your actions serve? Death or the Lord?
(4) When was the last time you thanked God for setting you free?

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