Let’s face it – we mess up. I know I do. As we mature in Christ, we have this holy assumption that we get to a point where we shouldn’t mess up, right? Statements such as “I can’t believe I’m still doing or acting this way after all these years” or “I don’t understand why I keep experiencing the same problems” plague the church. Then we go back to the cycle of trying harder next time and away we go. Now I’m all for getting back up, but could it be that you were on the safest ground you ever stood on when you knew you didn’t have it all together and you were just trusting God to help you?
Paul wrote about this in Romans when he talked about the old man and the new man. As a matter of fact, he insisted that the “old guy” must realize he is dead and can’t be fixed. Quite a concept when you think about it. The old man can’t really be counseled out of his dilemma nor can he try hard enough. He just has to be crucified and die. And we, not realizing we are crucified with Christ, begin to identify with someone who can’t be helped. Therefore, we assume a false identity - The Dead Man. Our identity is not in this new creature God says we are but rather in something that has no solution but death.
In chapter six of Romans, Paul says: 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7. For he that is dead is freed from sin (KJV). Paul continues this concept of knowing something. First, he says we have to know we are dead with Christ or we will continue sinning. If we really know and believe we were crucified when He was, then we are truly free from sin. We all want to be free but because we don’t believe we were tried, found guilty, convicted, and the sentence carried out, we keep thinking the old man is who we are and needs to be punished.
The real meaning behind baptism is not the water washing away dirt but the symbol that we were dead and buried. If we don’t experience that at a heart level, we will continue the cycle of trying harder not to sin, sinning anyway and repeating it over and over until we punish ourselves thru poverty, sickness, bad relationships, or just never believing God can really love us.
God poured out His wrath on Jesus for my sins - my sins. Every church in town teaches it but not everyone believes it. My sins were punished, judged, convicted, and the sentence carried out .The jerk I was has already paid the price. I was crucified with Him. When you dare to believe this, you will stop punishing yourself with your favorite brand of chaos.
The sinner is not who you really are. This concept had become a reality to Paul. I encourage you to read the sixth and seventh chapters of Romans and discover that Paul’s revelation made all the difference in the world. His identity was so secure in this he said it is no longer I that sin but sin that sins in me (Rom.7:17). Even if he sinned, he refused to let it define who he was and undermine his identity in Christ.
Sin is a product of trying to stay under a law you are dead to :Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. I like to say it like this: to the degree you are under law sin will dominate your life. We must discover daily who we are in Christ and refresh our minds to the powerful truth and reality of His word.
I remember driving down the road once and noticing a police car following behind me. I automatically checked my speed. As I pulled up to the next intersection, I made sure my blinkers were on, that I was in the left lane to make the left turn, and that the light was green. After making the turn I noticed that the police car was still behind me, now I was nervous. I checked my speed again, then I wondered if I had a tail light out, or if I had forgotten to put on my license plate renewal sticker.
My next turn was coming up, I put on my right blinker and moved to the right lane, so did the police car. When I got to the next light, I turned on my blinker again and stopped at the red light. There were no cars coming from the left, but I wasn’t about to turn right on a red light with a police car behind me, even though it was legal. All of a sudden, the police car horn honked. My heart fell, I thought, “he’s got me”, so when the light changed, I turned the corner and drove into the first parking lot so the police car could park too. But he didn’t, he drove on by. Then I realized, he honked at me to tell me I could turn on red.
From the time I saw the police car behind me until he drove on by me, I thought I was guilty.
~ Ron Marquart
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