Monday, August 23, 2010

Raw and Undistilled

We know that Christ, being raised form the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he die he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. -Romans 6

When I read the Bible, I have a tendency to run ramshod over some amazing passages that don't hit me until I take a closer look. In my eagerness to get my reading done, I sometimes miss the whole point. I breezed over the passage above, as it's so familiar, highlighted it and went on with my reading like nothing had changed.

But this passage if it's true is kind of a big deal. I mean it's showing us what happened in Jesus' death and resurrection, and it's stating how I'm to view myself in light of his actions. It says that Jesus "will never die again" since he's beaten death, that he died to sin and now he lives to God. Then it continues to say that this is exactly the way I am to view myself!

I am to view myself as "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." How cool is that!? Sin really doesn't have any dominion over me. The truest thing about me now is that I'm alive to God and dead to sin.

So what do I do with this? Especially since I sin all the time. Let's get real, I'm a habitual sinner and to call myself dead to sin seems like a statement that's a little far-fetched or naive. After all I'm not a good person floating around in a sinless utopia. (Can you float in utopia? In my utopias you can.)

But how am I to view myself when we've just sinned? Let's say I've just done something really obviously bad. Not a mistake. Not a blunder. But a premeditated choice to do harm to someone I'm supposed to love. Am I still dead to sin? The answer is yes.

This was something that my brother shared with me not too long ago and it's sort of revolutionized my thinking. Because I'll face it, I feel like a worthless sinner a lot! The truth of the Gospel is not that I don't sin, that would be dumb, but the truth of the Gospel is that my root identity is not characterized by sin, it's characterized by Christ's sinlessness and life towards God.

A little tangent here: some Christians think that we shouldn't consider ourselves sinners anymore, and others think that that's just silly. Frankly, I don't think it matters that much because of the second point that I'm about to make.

I am now dead to sin, just as Jesus is and because Jesus is, but way more cool than that, I'm actually alive to God! The issue is not how I'm to view myself, though that's really important, but the way I actually am. The way God views me. I'm alive to God in Christ Jesus. I still sin, and can call myself a sinner, but the truth about me is that I'm alive to God, finally alive to a life I've never experienced before.

Death used to dominate me, but Chirst dominated death. Death had no dominion over him, and since I'm united with Christ, it doesn't have dominion over me either. And here's the kicker, what he accomplished was way bigger than defeating death, it reunited me with my Father. The fact that I'm free from death and sin to relate with my Father is big. I mean real big. That he loves me, holds me and calls me son is what it's all about and something I'm excited to share.

So the next time I'm tempted to get down on myself, pouting about my habitual sin adiction, I'm going to try and remember this truth: I may still sin, but I am totally freed from my sin by Christ and can now relate to God before, after and during my sinful actions as his beloved and sinless son. That's substitutionary grace my friend, raw and undistilled. It tastes good doesn't it? Yes, we're still free to sin, but we're also free to live, because of, by and through Jesus Christ alone. Let's get on living.

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