Preached @ Anchor Community Church on July 13th 2014
“…by making life easier for ourselves in minimizing the nature and seriousness of our sin, we become greater victims of it. We are in fact not healing ourselves. Those who say that they already feel bad enough without being told about the corruptions of indwelling sin misread the path to peace. When our people have not been taught well about the real nature of sin and how it works and how to put it to death, most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease, but it’s symptoms.
Is all this Sin talk destructive? It can certainly seem that way until we realize how destructive sin is. We as people do not like to talk about things that make us feel uncomfortable. The problem with that is we don’t talk about the things that are important and are hurting us. Pastor John Piper writes this,
“…by making life easier for ourselves in minimizing the nature and seriousness of our sin, we become greater victims of it. We are in fact not healing ourselves. Those who say that they already feel bad enough without being told about the corruptions of indwelling sin misread the path to peace. When our people have not been taught well about the real nature of sin and how it works and how to put it to death, most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease, but it’s symptoms.”
There lies our problem. If we are all messed up, and we decide to mutually place our inner issues under the rug, are we really healing our most inner hurts and sins that hurt others? Sin isn’t some religious word for people having fun, it represents a serious missing of the mark for who we are meant to be. It’s a gross overshot that corrupts our mind, body and spirit. There are basically two kinds of people according to scripture; those who find their joy in sin (Sin = Enslavement to Idols), and those who find their joy in Christ. We are either satisfied in Christ, and reconnected to who we were created to be, or we are still trying to find our joy in other things.
The Big Picture: Our new identity in Christ processes a change in us from the inside out
Religion teaches us that “I obey so that I’m accepted,” while the Gospel teaches us that “In Christ I am accepted, so therefore I obey.” Obedience will always be the result of a new identity, and because with a new identity comes new frameworks. It’s like a person who gets their driving license for the first time. They have an unbelievable new freedom, but that freedom comes with a new set of rules to obey, or you lose your driving privilege.
Last week Paul responded to Romans 5:20, and the absurd notion that we could reign down GHod’s grace if we just sinned more. It was a severe misunderstanding of what grace actually is. This week, he begins in the same place, but is answering another question that grace begs, which is “Should we care since Christ has done it all?
3 Aspects of Our New Identity In Chris
From the Head…
The Foundation Of Our New Identity (Romans 6:15-16 cf. Romans 5:20)
The Thing You Love Controls You. As Jesus taught, we cannot serve two masters. Jonathan Edwards, wrote that “Man always chooses to his highest inclination” meaning that humanity, all things being equal, will choose to his highest “good;” even when that good seems awful. Basically whatever we are mastered by or enslaved to gets our choice. Our choices are never fully free. What Paul is arguing in these two verses is that we are slaves of Jesus (Our Foundation), therefore slaves of obedience to His word (John 8:31; 14:21-24).
The fact is, sin has to do with our will. We sin because we want to. Humanity’s biggest problem is the 1st Commandment; we are woeful idol worshippers. The question then is, are we ‘saved’ if we keep sinning? John 3:6 is a sober reminder that if we keep habitually disobeying God, it is a sign that we do not know Him at all “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” 1 John 3:9 also says that, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” When we can’t stop sinning, it is because we have not yet found the tasteful glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Position of Our New Identity (Romans 6:17-18)
Our new identity changes the things we love. Salvation gives us a different set of desires. It is much like a love relationship. We give up things that would hinder our relationship with our significant others. In Christ we have been given a better object of desire. The two phrases ”Have become” and “having been set free” are both in the indicative reminding us again that we have been set free, and because of that we are changed in our “Heart” not in our will. While religious change is based on fear, pride and guilt, the gospel motivates by changing our motivation center; the heart. Because of this change of motivation/desire, we can now choose righteousness.
It is important that we understand that this change comes about from our commitment to the word “The standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17). As one Theologian says, “Hence the first indispensable step after regeneration is bible study. Theology is the road to holiness.” The Word Matters (See John 17:17 cf. Romans 12:2; Acts 2:42). Bible study is a clear weapon against sin (Ephesians 6:17). Our obedience is to the words of Jesus, therefore coming to His word, and being sanctified by His word is important to our growth.
Our Enslavement to Our New Identity (Romans 6:19-23)
Enslavement to God gives you New Options. Paul is struggling with his “Slave” analogy because he knows it doesn’t quite fit. Whereas enslavement to sin brings forth death, enslavement to God and His word brings life, joy, peace. We can now “Do” His imperatives, because what God has “Done” for us. We are called then to “Present our members (Body) to righteousness, and not sin and destruction. One leads to life the other to misery and death.
Then he finally asks what fruit did you get out of sin? That’s a great question. How’s it working for you? How enslaved are you? So enslaved you don’t realize it?
…to the Heart
What “Fruit” is your life bearing? What motivates you to do what you do? What is stopping you from overcoming sin? Is your love for God weakened by your love for pleasure and feeding your desire? How’s that working for you? Or are you striking blows to your flesh, by being obedient to God’s will and not your own?
Questions For Study
1. What fruit is your life bearing?
2. What motivates you to do the things you do?
3. What is stopping you from overcoming sin?
4. How does Spiritual Formation relate to killing sin in our lives?
5. What is it about sin that is more satisfying than God?
Books For Further Study
NT Commentary on Romans, William Hendricksen
John MacArthur NT Commentary, Romans 1-8, John MacArthur
Encountering the NT Series: Romans Doug Moo
Romans, Martin Luther
Romans: God’s Good News For the World, John Stott
Romans, R.C. Sproul
Romans, John Calvin
St. Paul For Everyone: Romans, N.T. Wright