Thursday, July 13, 2006

As i rode the bus into town

How easy it is for our blogs to become arena's for ungreatful moaning. For morose naval gazing. That not what i was created for.

There're some great views around where i live. Tree envelloped hills, often at this time of year covered in sunshine...greens and blues and golds. Its lovely. How good is God. How amazing the fact that He would shed His blood as a ransom for us...Also, how cool is it that glorifying Him and enjoying Him are not seperate!

Anyway, here's my jazz from wednesday night. Now i know how to cut and paste, i can do this sort of thing! I can't take any credit for any of it firstly because of the obvious reason, and secondly because i was emailed the outline on wednesday, and just had to beef it out a little bit.

Paul begins this passage with a question: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase?” In other words, shall we continue living our old life of sin because we are now under grace, so that grace may increase? Paul’s answer is no, and he spends the rest of the passage explaining why.

1. In our old life death reigned (Rom. 5:14); we were dead in Sin (Eph 2:1); we lived in sin (v.2), in rebellion to God; we were prisoners, unable to escape; we were slaves to sin (v.6). Anthony talked a lot, in some very visual words about how our lives looked before we were saved. He said we were like walking corpses, trapped hopelessly and helplessly in sin, but unaware of it, and its condition…surely the worst kind of prison, one you don’t even know you’re in! In prison, Anthony reminded us, someone tells you when to get up, go to sleep, eat, go to the toilet….do anything without being told or allowed to. We were helpless, without hope and without God (Eph.2:12). Our lives were characterised by sin.

2. Now we have died to sin; we were united with Christ in his death (v.5); we died to our old life; our old self died (v.6) so that sin might be done away with and that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Being dead to sin doesn’t mean we no longer sin. In 1 John it says that if anyone says they no longer sin they are making Christ a liar (1 John 1:10). John Stott says that being dead to sin means being dead to its legal obligation (Christ was punished instead) and to it’s moral obligation (when sin calls us and tempts us, we are not obliged to it. We can ignore it because we have the tools to recognise and overcome it now) Christ didn’t come to fix our old life, but to kill it. To crucify it. Christ came and died, and we have died with Him according to verse 5 so why would we want to continue it that which has been killed?

3. We have been raised with Christ, united with him in is resurrection (v.5) and called to live a new life. We are alive to God in Christ Jesus (v.11). This new life should be characterised by a continuing and increasing victory over sin (v.12), and a servant heart devoted to God’s service (v.13). This passage ends, notably with Paul mentioning that it is God’s grace that gives us the power to say no to sin, not that power to say yes! The old us was characterised by sin. The new us must be characterised by Christ's work within us.

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