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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Dealing With Sin Under the New Covenant, #6
I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19 NIV)
Which of the two interpretations of Romans 7:25-8:2 does the above verse support? Is it saying we are doomed to be in slavery to our sinful nature, or is it inviting us to live in slavery to righteousness?
The last verse in the sixth chapter of Romans, a verse that is often preached to the unsaved but has little to do with the unsaved, tells us that as Christians if we choose to be the slave of God and righteousness we will gain eternal life; but if we choose to be the slave of sin, spiritual death will be our wages.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22,23 NIV)
The gift of eternal life is actually the gift of the opportunity to attain life by choosing to be the slave of righteousness. This the unsaved cannot possibly do, and so Romans 6:23 is not really directed to the unsaved.
The subject of the present brief essay is the manner in which we are to deal with sin under the new covenant.
In order to explain how we are to deal with sin we first had to provide the scriptural background for our position as people under the new covenant. We are not doomed to keep sinning. This is not the way of the new covenant. Rather the new covenant, unlike the Law of Moses, provides not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the breaking of the chains of sin that reside in our sinful nature.
There are two issues here. First, precisely what is sin under the new covenant? How is sin defined? Second, how do we obtain release from the sins dwelling in our personality?
Sin under the new covenant is defined as "the works of the flesh." The usual appetites and passions of our body are often sinful.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)
There are several lists similar to the above in the New Testament.
The commandments of Christ and His Apostles found in the New Testament serve as a guide to us. We know immorality is sinful. We know strife and rage are sinful. We know drunkenness and witchcraft are sinful. There is no question. These behaviors are sin.
Another list is as follows:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person such a man is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:3-5 NIV)
To be continued.