Archive for April, 2016
People who become Christians often experience a sense of joy because of the realization that our sin – all of it – has been forgiven because of Christ’s atonement and our faith in Him and His atonement. This joy eventually gives way to the realization that we still sin and we do so because though we have become a “new creature” in Christ, our sin nature – the very thing that has created enmity between ourselves and God – is still resident within us. This truth tends to take away the joy we experienced when we first became Christians.
What Paul is saying here – in fact, he is emphatically teaching it – is that we become the products of our environments and pursuits. This means that if we become Christians, but continue to live as though we are not, we will continue to live the way the world lives. The world lives by the “flesh,” that is doing, thinking, and speaking the way of the flesh. The flesh Paul is speaking of here is not our physical skin. Paul is speaking of the evil that is in the world that stems from everyone’s sin nature and the general curse placed by God on the Creation itself. Romans 8:6 states quite simply that the “outlook” or end result of the flesh is death. If we follow the dictates of our sin nature, we can be assured that its end is death, which is separation from God.
The perfect life that Jesus lived actually “condemned sin in the flesh.” Jesus was the only One who did that. No one else came close. Jesus kept the righteous decrees of the law at all points, at every turn. So if He actually lived among us today and drove a car and owned a cell phone, you would never see Him texting while driving. He would never break the law at any point. Because of that, the perfection of His life (righteousness) condemned sin. It is because He condemned sin in the flesh, with the righteous requirements of the law being met fully, that He was able to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins (and sin nature) – yours and mine (Revelation 5).
Romans itself, in its entirety, is a book that in all likelihood, surpasses others in explaining how pitifully weak man is in being able to help himself out of the predicament that he has gotten himself into, through the fall. Paul spends much time developing the narrative and presenting the truths – one after another – that proves beyond doubt that man, beset with sin, is incapable of saving himself. It doesn’t matter whether we are referring to Jew or Gentile, male, female, slave or free. All are in the same boat and that boat is sinking. The only survivors will be those who trust not in themselves but in Someone outside of themselves to save them from the wrath that is to come.
The terror of falling into the hands of the living God after death is something I cannot fathom in its fullness. If I could, I might actually be willing to get in people’s faces about eternal matters. As it is, the realization of the truth of Hebrews 10:31 tends to cause me to pause. It even tends to paralyze me a bit with some measure of fear for those who resolutely go through this life with nary a thought of God. When they do consider Him, they are so cavalier and dismissive in their manner, that it is shocking. They really cannot see due to blindness that has such a grip on them. They prefer their blindness because it allows them to be more accepted by others. One thing a celebrity in particular cannot handle is the rejection of fans on a large scale. Not only can that be emotionally devastating but career ending.
Selfishness abounds. Violence in society stems from that. The more people seek to elevate self, the greater the violence in society will become. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about the fluctuation of crime and why this exists. We can talk about whether stronger gun laws would help or if the ability to carry a weapon becoming easier would help. In the end, it doesn’t matter because what we are seeing taking place in society is the growing phenomenon of relentless selfish pursuits. The more selfish people become, the less they will care about anyone other than themselves.
If the left simply came out and said “we need to eliminate marriage!” or “we need to eliminate gender differences!” the rest of the world would laugh them to derision. Their argument would be lost before it even got off the ground. However, if instead, the left seems to be pushing for “equality,” well then, that’s a completely different story, isn’t it? Who doesn’t want equality? Everyone says they do. So, the left is using that argument for now to push their agenda while hiding the real end that they seek – a marriageless, genderless society, which simply has people in it. Those people can live with whomever they want to live with and they can see themselves as whatever they want to be seen as. For those who are unwilling to go along with the plan, you can expect reproach, censure, and possibly even violence against you as time goes on.