Sunday, May 4, 2014
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17 KJV).
Today’s Scripture is the key to being delivered from and guarded against today’s apostate Christendom.
Even the great Apostle Paul, as late as 30 years after his salvation, was still attempting to “know [Jesus Christ], and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). He knew that he was already in Christ, saved unto eternal life, forgiven, justified (made right before God), bound for heaven, and so on (Romans 8:30-39; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Galatians 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; et cetera). However, to bring that identity into his daily living experience was difficult.
Romans chapter 7—with which we can all identify—explains how Paul would return to old, sinful thinking patterns. Sin would defeat him every time because he thought he had to perform in religion and make himself holy before God (the same thinking patterns he had before he met Jesus Christ; Philippians 3:4-6). Essentially, Paul, a saved man, was acting like a lost man because he was thinking like a lost man (instead of thinking like a Christian). He needed to realize that Christ’s resurrection life, not his performance, was the Christian life!
Romans 12:1,2 explain how our Christian lives operate: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Like Paul, we have to learn that we, in Christ, are already holy before God, already justified, sanctified, forgiven, redeemed, and so on. The grace doctrines found in his epistles must be studied, to the end that they correct our thinking, remind us of who we are in Christ, so that we can then walk in that identity.
Only God’s grace had saved Paul from the penalty of sin (eternal hellfire), so only God’s grace could save Paul from the power of sin (daily failures)….