Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:12-14

It's awfully early in the morning to be considering such profound things but as I brewed my coffee & poured into the Scripture, many truths became exceedingly clear. For years I read Romans 6 & was somewhat discouraged. I was living under the law rather than under grace.

Paul begins with a question as to whether grace encourages sin? By no means!! "How can we who died to sin still live in it?" I would continually ask myself the same... why am I so drawn to "live" in sin. I remember similar conversations taking place in college as we worked out our theology. We were all desperately aware of our depravity.

John Stott brings clarity (referring to verse 2), "Paul is referring not to a death to the power of sin (or sensitivity toward), but a death to its guilt, that is our justification." In other words, we are still keenly sensitive toward sin, yet the "sting" is gone because of Christ's atoning work. This is only the case for the one who lives "under grace" (v.14). A regenerate person has been "declared to be in the right... declared to be or acquitted from sin." Scripture represents death in a differing manner than we sometimes look; it is much more legal than physical. Scripture views death as the due penalty for our sin rather than a state of lying motionless. Death is the "wage" or payment for our sin.

Therefore, consider yourselves dead to sin & alive to God in Christ Jesus. Continually consider yourself to be dead to sin. Paul implies that it is certainly possible to let sin reign in your life (v.12), but don't let it! "Do not present (Gk: hopla) your members to sin as instruments (Gk: paristanete) for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God... as instruments of righteousness." In other words, do not make yourself available (your eyes, ears, mind, heart, feet, hands, etc.) or put yourself at sin's disposal. Paul uses the words, "do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body..." Sin can use our body as a way to govern us. If you don't believe me, consider the glutton who cannot control his appetite for food or consider the porn addict who has no self control or consider the one with an eating disorder who will do anything to achieve a certain look. Paul says, don't be a slave to sin. Lightfoot comments, "Sin is regarded as a sovereign (v.12) who demands the military service of its subjects, levies their quota of arms (v.13) & gives them their solder's pay of death (v.23)."

"Because Christ died to sin and lives to God, and because through union with Christ we are ourselves 'dead to sin but alive to God', and must 'count' or consider ourselves so, therefore our whole attitude to sin and to God must change. Do not offer yourselves to sin (13a), because you have died to it; but offer yourselves to God (13b), because you have risen to live for his glory." -Stott (180).

For years I lived under the influence of the law rather than the influence of grace; I just didn't understand. What I now realize is that I was trying to have personal merit before God. I was depending on myself & seeking to muster up enough enthusiasm to live righteous before God. But the ultimate secret of freedom from sin is to live under grace. "To be under grace is to acknowledge your dependence on the work of Christ for salvation, and so to be justified rather than condemned, & thus set free" (Stott, 181).

In summary, does grace encourage sin? By no means. Rather, by all means, grace discourages & outlaws sin. The law provokes & increases sin (5:20); grace opposes it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Renewal

I recall a few years ago sitting in one of my favorite local restaurants (Gondolier... for you locals) & pouring out my emotions to a dear friend. This had become a weekly occurrence where I'd find myself spending the majority of our conversation talking about my "weariness, overcommitment, & the perceived need to drop out." I was in the middle of a sentence when a friend of his walked in the restaurant & stopped by the table. My friend said to her, "You look great! I can't believe how refreshed you look." That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. It immediately called to mind how much of my time was spent in dread, weariness, disappointment... burdened. I needed renewal in a bad way.

Here's some quotes & thoughts I've been having... many of these thoughts are birthed from my reading Gordon McDonald's "Renewing Your Spiritual Passion."
  • Heart check time when "life seems to momentarily turn into a mindless or spiritless journey crammed with events (not experiences) & contacts (not relationships)" (6).
  • "There are no shortcuts, no gimmicks, no easy ways to cultivate intimacy with God & attain the resulting passion that should carry on through life's journey" (9).
  • "Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry because I never undertake more work than I can go through with calmness of Spirit." -John Wesley
This is my favorite excerpt from the book (taken from Lettie Cowman's "Springs in the Valley" p.196-7):
In the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly & went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat & rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, & that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.

I am often astounded at the pace at which our lives move. My dear friends, please spend time waiting... let your souls catch up with your bodies.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mars Hill Church | Special | 32 Hours: The Church in Haiti

Mark Driscoll's Full Interview with RC Sproul

Really enjoyed this one; RC Sproul's work has impacted my life several times over... click on the below image to access Mark Driscoll's full interview with RC Sproul.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Living Water | A Response to Haiti

If you're considering donating funds to Haiti... may I ask you to consider giving through this channel. Click on the image below to find out more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Q&A with Piper & Angola Prison Inmates

via The Gospel Coalition

The In-Between

I've realized the need to post an update for a LONG time now but haven't. I suppose trying to keep up with 3 blogs is a bit too much for someone... unless it's their job. Consider this my stating my intentions for Crimson on White.

I sense I am somewhat in the in-between. Many things have happened since I began this blog: went full-time with my 2 businesses, the birth of my 2nd child, joining a new church in Knoxville, etc. Therefore, I haven't been very consistent in updates. In many respects I needed my soul to catch up with my writings... I wasn't taking enough time to incorporate what God was teaching, rather jumping on from one thing to another. I still feel there is an audience & ministry for Crimson on White as many of you have expressed; I am so thankful. Originally I planned to open this blog up for many contributors to share their insight & personal reflections from Scripture. Again, I would welcome that (just let me know & we'll make sure our goals/visions are compatible).

God has done a tremendous work in my heart over the past few months & I intend to share them with you here. Stay with me friends & I hope that God may use this blog as a means of grace in your life.