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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Total Destruction, #3
Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:7—NIV)
It is commonly agreed upon by Christians that as long as we are living in the world we can be compelled to sin. "No one is perfect," we exclaim, and continue to yield to sin to a greater or lesser extent. But "freed from sin" means just that. It signifies we are not obligated to sin, the reason being that our adamic personality has been crucified with Christ.
But what are we to do? How do we take advantage of this emancipation proclamation?
First, we must recognize that the sixth chapter of Romans is not a prescription for deliverance from sin, although sometimes believers have attempted to use it as such. The sixth chapter does not tell us how to overcome sin. It does inform us that we are not obligated to sin, and it does warn us that if we choose to be the slave of sin rather than the slave of God and righteousness we shall die spiritually.
The sixth chapter of Romans correctly orients the person who has been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the attitude he should take toward the fact of sin in his personality. But it does not tell him how to attack the sin and drive it from himself.
The eighth chapter of Romans, with its emphasis on living in the Spirit of God, probably comes the closest of Paul's writings to being a prescription for victory over sin. This particularly is true of the following verse:
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)
But, one may wonder, how do I go about putting to death by the Spirit the sinful acts of my body?
When we step back for a moment and consider the entire Church Age we can see that the Christian salvation primarily has been limited to forgiveness. Indeed there have been notable saints, particularly but not only in the Catholic Church, who have portrayed the righteous, holy behavior of Jesus. But I think the record is as I have stated—the overwhelming emphasis, even today, is on the viewpoint of Jesus forgiving our sins rather than freeing us from the bondages of sin.
The prevailing idea is, of course, that we have to sin in the present world but when we die we shall be set free from sin. But there is no scriptural basis for the notion that death will free us from the bondages of sin. Sin is a spiritual not a physical phenomenon. Sin came to us from the spirit realm and is maintained by the spirit realm. Dying physically will not provide relief from sin.
The only freedom from the power of sin is found in the Lord Jesus. But how do we get this salvation, this redemption from the hand of Satan, to operate?
Perhaps it is true that the two thousand years of the Church Age parallels the forty years of Israel in the wilderness.
To be continued.