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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Dealing With Sin Under the New Covenant, #5
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. (I John 3:4,5 NIV)
The only safe way to decide between the two interpretations is to see what other passages have to say. Since we are working with three verses from the Apostle Paul's writings, let us examine whether Paul in other passages supports the idea that we are condemned to continue in sin and Christ's salvation results only in our perpetual forgiveness, or if through the Lord Jesus Christ we can and must cease sinning if we are to live spiritually.
We only have to go back one chapter in the Book of Romans.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15 NIV)
Paul understood that people could misunderstand (and already were misunderstanding) what he had written in Chapters Three through Five. So he immediately issues a disclaimer, stating he was not saying we could keep on sinning even though we are not under the Law of Moses.
Don't you know when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NIV)
Paul is speaking to Christians who have been baptized in water. He is saying if they continue as slaves to sin they will die spiritually. This verse alone smashes into irrecoverable pieces current Evangelical teaching that there are no serious consequences if the believer continues to behave according to his or her sinful nature.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. (Romans 6:17 NIV)
We used to be slaves to sin. We are not slaves to sin now. This indicates that Romans 7:25 is not addressed to Christian people but to devout Jews who were unable to keep the Law and were exceedingly troubled because of this.
"Wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted" means the believers in Rome were obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles again a concept not emphasized in numerous Evangelical churches. The current stance in so many cases is that God does not expect us to obey the commandments given by Christ and His Apostles. They are present in the New Testament only to show us our need of a Savior.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18 NIV)
How do we escape bondage to sin and become slaves to righteousness? Certainly not by claiming it does not matter whether we sin because under the new covenant God does not recognize we are sinning. This is what is taught currently.
We escape bondage to sin and become slaves to righteousness by the power of the Spirit of God. As we live in the Spirit He gives us the wisdom and power (grace) to overcome sin.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16 NIV)
This is a remarkably different viewpoint, isn't it?
To be continued.