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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Dealing With Sin Under the New Covenant, #7
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Romans 1:26-31 NIV)
The above definition of sin sounds like America of today. In fact, many of these behaviors are found in the churches, such as gossip and slander.
There is a difference between the covenants. The old covenant is very specific in its list of behaviors that are sinful. Obey the Law of Moses and you will live.
The new covenant does not work like this. The purpose of the definition of sin given to us by Christ and His Apostles in the New Testament is to guide us to righteous behavior. But the real law of the new covenant is the Holy Spirit Himself.
We are to follow the Spirit every day. As we do He brings to our attention some aspect of our behavior that is not pleasing to God. It may be in the area of worldliness, or the lusts and passions of the flesh, or our self-will.
When we are made aware of our displeasing behavior we are to confess it as sin. When we confess our sin we do not just recite it, we vigorously denounce and resist it, naming it clearly as sin with the idea that never again by God's help will we practice such behavior.
Then we are to draw near to God and resist the devil. As with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we confess and denounce our sins, turning away from them, we find God is actually forgiving our sins and cleansing our personality.
We read in the New Testament that not bringing forth the fruit of righteousness in our life will result in our being cut off from Christ. Not abiding in Christ is a grievous sin under the new covenant.
Five of the virgins were denied entrance to the Kingdom because they did not keep full of the Life of Christ. Not keeping full of the Life of Christ is a grievous sin under the new covenant.
The man with one talent was deprived of his talent and cast into outer darkness. The Lord refers to him as a wicked, lazy slave. So we see that not using the abilities given to us so God's Kingdom is built up is a dreadful sin and the result is catastrophic.
We have been commanded to present our body a living sacrifice to God. To not do so is a great sin.
We have been commanded to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow Jesus. To not do so is a great sin and will have disastrous consequences.
In other words, our righteousness must greatly exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we expect to enter the Kingdom of God.
To be continued.