There is a sharp distinction between our life in Jesus Christ and living in this world. There are two sets of opposing powers at work that significantly affect and impact every person on this planet.
On the one hand there is the spirit of this world. This world today is ruled by the devil and his designs are for the destruction of mankind. His work is to ensnare and enslave all of mankind to their detriment and destruction for he is opposed to God and trying to destroy all that God has created.
And on the other hand there is the opposition to the devil. The spirit of God and Jesus Christ who stand for all that is good and right and true. The intent of the works of God through Jesus Christ is to reconcile man to God so that we can again live in harmony with the Father and the Son.
The difference between these two positions as far as mankind is concerned is defined and explored in these few verses and it is revealing when we see what they say.
They abolished slavery several hundred years ago. At least they did in most western civilisations and those civilisations where rulers had compassion for their people. And this is a good thing.
But despite that fact we are all slaves. Every person on this earth is in the bondage of a slavery like no other, for we were all sold under sin many, many years ago and there is nothing we can do about it.
There is no payment we can make, work we can do, gift we can offer or anything else on this earth that can buy back our freedom from this slavery. We were born slaves and because of this slavery we will die slaves. The slavery I speak of is the bondage to sin and we are very fortunate to live in this time and age for although we cannot do or pay anything to buy back our freedom, Jesus has done it for us.
In previous posts I have looked at sin, freedom from sin and freedom from law. Here we see a further section of scriptures that look at the matter of the knowledge of sin.
The understanding of the knowledge of sin is important for all Christians, even after they are set apart from the law and have had their sins removed.
It is important to understand these things because sin is a problem for all of mankind and it is not something easily escaped. Even though the scripture tells us we are set free from sin and have been removed from the law, it is the fact of sin that sneaks up on us and has the power to tear us down and pull us apart…if we allow it.
So understanding sin and the power of sin under the law becomes critical so that we do not allow it to overcome us.
There are a few scriptures in the bible that are so well known that they have moved into common usage amongst both Christians and non-Christians alike. This verse is one of those which says,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now like many scriptures that are taken into common usage, it is often not taken fully or correctly. Too many people look at the first seven words and forget the rest. Even more, the meaning of the words is often not fully understood. So let us look at this verse to consider some of the shades of meaning that we can draw from these words and especially the hope that this verse offers.
In my last few posts I have looked at the prime focus of the death of Jesus and the purpose of His shed blood. That purpose was to set man free from sin and to release man from the power of sin, which is bondage to the law. It is by baptism into Jesus’ death that we receive the free gifts of freedom from sin, freedom from law and righteousness by faith. And these are given by the grace of God to those who have faith.
But this is not the end of the process. It is only the beginning and only the start of the power of the death of Jesus and what He did for us in this act of obedience to His Father.
What we see in this section of scripture is an appeal to go beyond these first steps. Paul is appealing to those who come to Jesus in faith to move forward and not remain captive slaves of sin but obedient to God.
A few posts back I wrote a post titled “You are NOT a Sinner.” The underlying reason for that post is that God has set you free from sin and taken your sins away through the saving and cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
The principles for the release from sin was established in the old law where the blood sacrifices of animals were used to cleanse sinners from sins they had committed. This was also the basis for the acceptable sacrifice that Jesus offered to the Father in His own blood that we could take through faith and be free from past sins.
But His sacrifice did not stop there. The animal sacrifices could only provide forgiveness for past sins and the sins were not removed, only forgiven. But the blood of Jesus is more powerful for in the grace of god by Jesus’ blood our past sins are not just forgiven, they are removed and forgotten. Even more than that though, through Jesus’ sacrifice, God has dealt with FUTURE sin. And this was done through the way God dealt with the law.
If there is one issue that Christians struggle with it is how they stand in relation to sin after coming to The Lord. I would like you to read the title of this post once again before I go on. Done that? Good! So let me repeat it…you are NOT a sinner.
And yet I know many of you in Christ are probably saying, “Yes I am. I am a sinner saved by grace.” In fact you may have those words on a bumper sticker or seen it on someone else’s bumper and read it nodding your head in agreement as you do. Well those words are wrong because that is not what the bible says and it is not the will and purpose of God or how His amazing grace works.
So I will say it once more. You are not a sinner…provided that you follow the pattern and the process that The Lord laid out for us to follow as we come to Him and learn to walk in His ways. Best of all, Paul outlines in some very powerful detail what that process is in these scriptures at the start of Romans 6 so let us take hold of these words and grasp the truth of the new covenant and the promises of God for us.
We see in this section how the actions of two men, acting as individuals, have changed the fates of all humanity. One brought death and destruction to all of mankind. The other promises reconciliation and life to all mankind.
Both of these men began in similar circumstances but the outcomes of their lives and the impact of what they did were vastly different. Both began life as perfect creations of God. One fell from Gods grace and so doomed all of mankind to a life of sin and death. The other brought a process of reconciliation and transformation to lift man from the depths of this doom and to be able to walk in the glorious light of gods love, grace and salvation.
I am of course speaking of the first man Adam and Jesus Christ for the fate of the world as we know it rests on the actions of these two men. Adam, through whom we inherited the nature of sin and death and Jesus through whom we receive grace and the promise of life.
This is one of those verses that is often quoted by Christians as evidence of the sinful nature of man and showing that all mankind are sinners. The verse says,
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
And it is true. All of mankind has sinned and all of mankind has fallen short of the glory of God.
Ever since Adam and Eve fell from God's grace in the garden of Eden, man has been under the power of sin and it has brought death to all men.
But do we have to stay that way? Do we have to stay under the power of sin? Is there a way of escape by which we can once again be reconciled to God and be restored to the glory of God? And if so how does it work?
Well the answer is YES we can escape sin and be restored for God has established the process. So let us today look at how we overcome sin and come back to a relationship with God.
These two verses hold some very interesting and important information, not the least of which is the question that is the title of this post. What is sin? The verses read as follows:
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
As I read these two verses it was the last few words that struck me and raised this question as to what sin is.
There are many different opinions about what sin is, and I have held a few opinions over the years myself. But I see that there is a lot more to this question than I had previously imagined, and also a lot more to the antidote for sin, which is grace. So I will look at what I have seen over the past week or so as I examined this matter, and I would be interested in your thoughts also.