At first, a special thanks to Anna Waldherr whose last comment on my latest post inspired me to deepen the issue of “sin” in a whole article. Those who read my blogs might know that I rarely focus on sin because many Christians rather need to hear about the grace and unconditional love of God in their lives. However, today you will read about something that has been bothering me lately. As wonderful as it is to speak and share about the love of God, there are times when we need to examine our lives as well.
The apostle Paul asks,
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom 6:1-3 KJV)
Here is an exposition on the above-mentioned verses by Matthew Henry on Romans 6.
6:1,2 The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness. He does not explain away the free grace of the gospel, but he shows that connexion between justification and holiness are inseparable. Let the thought be abhorred, of continuing in sin that grace may abound. True believers are dead to sin, therefore they ought not to follow it. No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. He is a fool who, desiring to be dead unto sin, thinks he may live in it.
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
6:3-10 Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life. Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God. The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross. It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service.
These lines could be a comfort for those who are struggling with dying to self and an exhortation for those who have been deceived and were tempted to believe that the grace of God makes obedience toward Christ dispensable. Basically, we are not judged by what we know about God and Scripture, but up to what extent our heart is found willing to submit to Christ’s lordship over our whole life. If there is only one area in our life of which we feel it has not yet been surrendered to God and we refused to do so because we somehow felt that His will to see a pure heart in us would finally mean to put away such sin, we should seek the Lord in prayer about it.
I do know that we have a wonderful and gracious God who does not point sinners to their sins before they have come to know Him personally. Although in every human being a conscience from God can be found that no man is able to extinguish (see Rom 2, esp. verse 15), God is the One who chastens His children if they claim to be Christians while still living in sin. As for a stronger exhortation on this very issue, see my older article that deals with our proper position before God and other people (cf. https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/seeking-the-approval-of-christ-only/).
If you find yourself entangled in meeting other “Christians” of who you know that they keep living in sin, do not wonder if God does not approve and takes away some of His blessings in your life in order to wake you up. So, just in case you suddenly realize that some things in your life did not turn out the way they should have and that you have had so many difficulties that cannot be put away by any of your own efforts, please, ask the Lord about it. If you eventually realize that men who still think that darkness is light have more influence on you than Christ and His both loving and disciplining Spirit has, please, RUN!
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:14-18 ESV)
Brothers and sisters, I know from my own experience that our God who is love has to be feared as well. Only a few people know the fear of God and how awesome it is to experience the presence of the Holy God. Once we have received the fear of God in our hearts, we will rejoice in this particular spirit just as Jesus did as He walked the earth. We read,
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. (Is 11:2-4 ESV)
One of the reasons why we then might rejoice is that we perceive that the fear of God kills the will to sin inside us. Below I share with you a confirmation about what I have just said. It is an extrabiblical source of which I quote here, but if we have ears to hear Him, we will find God talking to us everywhere. However, discerning the spirits is always crucial so that we won’t get confused when we are confronted with a blend of truth and lies, whether in what we read or what we hear every day.
1:25 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the branches thereof are longlived.
1:26 In the treasures of wisdom is understanding, and religiousness of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom is an abomination.
1:27 The fear of the Lord driveth out sin:
1:28 For he that is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin.
1:29 A patient man shall bear for a time, and afterwards joy shall be restored to him.