February 19, 2012

The Captain & A Sea of Sin

“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” ~Romans 7:4

We have died to Law through Christ. We no longer seek to “get right” with God through the Law (as the Jews did/do). We are made righteous (by grace you have been saved, through faith) with God through a new relationship in Christ Jesus who fulfilled the Law. "You were put to death" (in Christ) and this death is a death to the Law. We as Christian believers are through with law. Kaput! Finsished! For us, in its most comprehensive and basic sense, it has been made ‘null and void’ by Christ. It is no longer the path through which Christians are to seek salvation. We do not seek to “get right” with God by obeying some form of law, as the adherents of nearly all known religions including Judaism. The death mentioned here is final and alludes to finality. Paul does not mince words. 

Paul is pointing to a complete and terminal break with Law. SNAP!

Let me get this straight though…for those that completely miss the point of Christian liberty and understanding their sin. This does not mean antinomianism. The idea that since Jesus has acted in our stead to fulfill the Law for us, that we can go out and do whatever we want in our Christian liberty. To freely and stupidly abuse the hard won victory by Christ at the Cross because we are indeed covered by the blood of Christ. We must never forget it is a gift this salvation that we have in Jesus. The privilege of the freedom we gain from Jesus’ work at the Cross can never be trivialized in this manner. If you are a self-described Christian and you have been doing this type of thing (abusing your Christian liberty), you should be mortified and ashamed! Your Christian liberty and ability to sin so that grace abounds (Romans 6) came at a severe price! It came though Christ sufferings and Crucifixion. So please divest yourself of your perverted twisted perception of sin and your “rights” to do as you please. If you're doing this you have a total misconception of sin and Christ's work. You are a slave now to Christ, not a slave to sin.

Your release won by Jesus Christ is not from the righteousness which is taught in the law, but from the rigid demands of the Law that no man except Jesus could keep. It is also release from the curse which follows from its demands" (John Calvin). It is not the Law per se that died, but the believer. The Law still points to the kind of living that is pleasing in the sight of God. The type of life outlined in Scripture. Jesus freed us, or made us dead to the legalism of the Law. We are still expect to live righteously in accordance with Scripture.

We are still called to live morally, biblical conscientious lives as the result. Our behavior is a fruit of, but not the cause of our salvation.

Paul goes on to say that our belonging to Christ is not an end in itself. It takes place in order that we might have fruitful lives. Not continue to immerse ourselves in petty selfish sins that bear the fruit of death but rather bear the fruit of righteousness that produces life.

Is the Law therefore sin? Nope!

It is the Law that let me know that I am a sinner and in need of repentance! It is the Law that showed me just how far short of God's righteousnss that I fall. Without the Law we know that sinning (because of out conscience) is wrong but what the Law did was make humanity realize that sin and immorality is something much more. Its and affront against God’s holiness that He cannot ignore, He must judge it as a perfectly just being. Therefore, if we were not immediately judged for it, we store judgment or wrath up against ourselves every single time we sinned…

The Commandment or Law therefore becomes our sin’s very ‘base of operation’. Human nature is awakened to sin by the Law’s ability to draw attention to it. It actually makes us want to violate it…because it’s there. Our obstinate, stiff-necked and sinful nature drives us to it in rebellion. The failure point or fault line is therefore not the ideal or Law but the people themselves who react to the Law. The command of law is not evil or sinful but rather the one who disobeys it is. The truth is that it just isn’t within mankind’s nature to eventually gravitate towards that which is good, righteous or holy. It is to drift away from it and to apostatize. It is why we are always told to stay in God’s word and to pray, as this is the only way to re-anchor to that which is correct. Otherwise we are cut adrift on a sea of sin and godlessness.

Therefore the commandments acted as an anchor to show us our position relative to God like a compass on a wayward ship. We are clearly “south” of God as the Law has made evident. Christ has fulfilled the Law. He has righted the ship. We now know where we stand and we can get our bearings after a storm of wickedness that has disoriented us. We are still sinners but we have a captain or ἀρχηγὸς / archegos that will lead us to the eternal shore. We need only hold onto the line the ἀρχηγὸς / archegos took with Him that acts as our eternal life preserver. That line is the Gospel. The eternal life preserver is faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Like anyone else cut adrift, in danger of falling away (apostatizing) and being lost forever because they are inundated by sin, we must…

“…lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder / archegos[ἀρχηγὸς] and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

An [ἀρχηγὸς / archegos] in ancient Greek maritime tradition was the strongest swimmer on the ship. In case of shipwreck, he would dive into the sea with a rope tied around his waist and swim to shore and tie the rope to a tree or something fixed on shore. He then would swim back to the ship and help everyone on board to follow the line to safety. If the archegos drowned, then the people on the ship were doomed. Jesus didn’t drown. He went down (in death) but resurfaced (in Resurrection) according to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is God's “archegos”. He has safely navigated the waters of death with the sin of humanity on His shoulders to reach Heaven's shore safely. He has tied a rope to that far shore for us and He is coming back to us someday to assure that we reach safety. None will be lost on His watch (John 17:12) except those already doomed to destruction.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...