Issue #182

Sometimes when I read God’s word I can become quite overwhelmed. Often it is because of the wonder of God’s grace and His love to me. But on other occasions, when I read certain sections of Scripture, I find that living the Christian life is too hard and often just downright impossible. I quickly lose that spring in my step that goes with walking with the Lord. I begin to question my suitability of being a servant of the Lord. Sometime it even leads to a period (often only short) of spiritual darkness. The Bible reading before us today is a case in point! Paul states, “… We died to sin; how can we live it any longer?” If I am to be honest with you … I still sin! What does this say about me? And a pastor too!

I have had people come up to me and say, “Steve, how can you call yourself a Christian if you willfully sin? You cannot be a Christian if you willfully sin!” As I ponder this statement, I raise my eyebrows and smile. Even in our redeemed state we still struggle with sin. I believe that every misdemeanor we commit is a matter of the will … or more precisely ‘willful’. So where does this lead me (and you too if you are like me) when I willfully (my mind is engaged) choose to sin almost on a daily basis? Once again it is important that we read Scripture in context and not in isolation. We have learned that we are saved by grace and have been justified by faith all because of the work of Jesus. We were once slaves to sin but now through salvation we have entered into a new realm … the ‘realm of grace’!

Living in this realm requires a different lifestyle where our pursuit is to serve the Lord and battle with sin … rather than being a slave to sin! Paul gives us some strong clues in how we can gain victory in this battle. He suggests that we allow our bodies viz. brain, tongue, hands, feet etc. to be used as instruments of righteousness in the service of our King! As we do this our minds will be focused more on godly pursuits and thus limit the time for sinful activity. Our master is the Lord and through His wonderful grace we have forgiveness, salvation and liberty to choose to serve Him. Yes, we will slip up but we must always remember our sins past, present and future have been dealt with once and for all! Let us spur each other on in our service of our remarkable God and as we seek to live righteously.