Saturday, May 24, 2014

Resources Available to Combat Sin

A Christian has the internal resources to live a life pleasing to God. He has a new heart, a new spirit, God's spirit and internal motivation to be obedient. The question becomes, will we use the resources we have to live a life that is pleasing to God and that honors and glorifies him?

In Romans 8, we have several keys to help us understand how we are to use what we have been given to live victorious and obedient lives.

First we have the umbrella of protection that I've already discussed and that is that a Christian is under absolutely no condemnation or judgment from God. His sins have been completely forgiven and will never be brought up again. He does not fear the judgment because God has declared him completely righteous. This is not because he has been righteous, but because the very righteousness of God has been imputed to him and placed on his record.

Second, in verses 2 and 3 we are reminded that we have died to the law. The law no longer has jurisdiction because as we saw earlier, a Christian is seen by God to have died with Christ and to be raised with him and therefore there is no further penalty for sin. Sin requires death. I've died. Issue closed.

Romans 8:4 says, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Here we begin to see how this works. The righteous requirement of the law will not be fulfilled because we try to be obedient to some external list of rules. The righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in us as we walk according to the spirit. As I said yesterday, a Christian has had his own spirit made alive plus he has God's spirit in him as well as a God-given motivation to do the right thing and so these factors work together to provide internal obedience to the law of God. But it takes place as we walk according to the Spirit. That is we walk in unison or in step with the Spirit of God who indwells us.

Paul goes on to explain in verse 5 that a person who is according to the Spirit is one who puts his mind on the things of the spirit. The one who is according to the flesh is someone whose mind is on the things of the flesh. What are these things? A list of the things of the Spirit might include these kinds of things: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, tender mercies, humility, meekness, forbearance, forgiveness, thankfulness, truthfulness, selflessness, and compassion. Things of the flesh would include things such as these: hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfish ambition, dissension, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, covetousness, malice, blasphemy, sexual sin, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, filthy language, lying, stealing, corrupt speech, bitterness, pride, boasting, strife, and gossip.

So what Paul is saying here is that there are two mind-sets a person can have. He can either have his mind set on the things of the Spirit or the things of the flesh. The question we need to ask ourselves is what is our mind-set? Generally speaking where is our mind. What kinds of things do we think about and what kind of responses come out of us when faced with a sudden obstacle?

Do these two choices of spiritual or fleshly-mindedness represent possible choices for a Christian to pursue or are these distinctions between Christians and non-Christians? That is the question we want to look at next time.

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