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Monday, August 13, 2007

Reconciling Sin

I'm reading the book of Romans again right now. It offers an interesting dichotomy, really. The Apostle Paul calls himself, in Romans 1, "Christ's slave." He speaks of the righteousness and freedom from sin that he and I both have in Jesus Christ. Of course that all makes sense to me. I guess the dichotomy is found in Romans 7:15-24, where Paul speaks of still doing wrong.

I found myself asking, "How did Paul reconcile those two truths in his life." But perhaps what I was really wondering is how I reconcile those two truths in my life! So maybe Romans 1:17 offers the answer. Paul didn't reconcile it. Jesus reconciled it for him! Yes that is the answer. Still, I wish Paul were here now. I'd like to chat with him about that.

If it is true that we are free from the bondage of sin, then why do we still sin when we don't want to? Why is Romans 7:15-24 still true in our lives? Is there some part of the sin that we still value? That would be insane, of course. But maybe, for example, I'm not ready to agree that overeating is wrong. Maybe I still am treating the consequences of my sin differently than I am treating the sin itself.

Romans 6:17 tells us that, "All who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin ... through Jesus Christ." Am I living in triumph? No, of course I'm not. If Romans 6:17 is true (and it is), shouldn't I be living "in triumph?" Well, since I am definitely not living in triumph, then it would seem that I have not fully received God's wonderful gift of righteousness. Now there's a notion that I definitely don't want to embrace!

As I've reflected on this, I notice that Romans 6:16 says I can choose my own master. Am I doing that? What was my master before Jesus came into my life? In all honesty, it would have to be my physical pleasure. Whatever made me feel better in the moment is what I would pursue and indulge in. Was that my master? Perhaps so.

So there's a proposition for me and other Christians like me --- who may not be living in triumph. Have we fully received God's wonderful gift of righteousness? Have I fully surrendered my will to God? Could anyone honestly call me a "slave of Christ?" What is the real master in my life? These and other questions like them must be answered and the answers dealt with until the triumph is evident. And so we press on!

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