A friend asked a question on my last blog entry about what to do with the sinful nature, how do we put it off and what did Romans 7 mean. I thought I’d throw out a very short blog while I had 15mins. I plan to do two blogs to follow up in the next 4 or 5 days. One on how to overcome sin in your daily life and the other looking at Romans 7 and addressing what Paul was talking about.
How many times have you heard “thank God for second chances” or “He’s a God of second chances” etc. Did you know that God hasn’t and never will give you a “second chance”… your sinful self didn’t get a second chance. I, Phil Drysdale the sinner didn’t get a second chance. Phil Drysdale got crucified; I was killed. As Paul said, I was crucified with Christ and it’s no longer I who lives but Christ in me. (Gal 2:20)
He didn’t give you a second chance, He killed you!
Did you know that God didn’t save you so your sinful self can try do good a second (third? fourth? hundredth?) time round while He somehow tries to see you as righteous? He saved you so you could die, and stop trying to be righteous but rather actually rest in His finished works and be righteous. You can read a bit more on that in my earlier blog post here.
That’s an important clarification actually while we are here, an interesting exercise is to read the book of Romans again with the following question in your frame of mind, “does Paul think we are dead or alive?” Our spiritual eyes are opened when we read the book of Romans in context, the whole message is of the doomed nature of man to being sinful and the fact that Christ came to destroy that nature. The nature wasn’t just paid for in a metaphorical sense and now God sees us through a lens of righteousness. How many of us are taught that? We are still terrible, terrible sinners but God somehow sees us with blood stained lenses and sees us as righteous.
Honestly this is a Gnostic belief that the body is impure and nasty and that only our spirit is renewed, Paul and specifically John attacked this belief over and over again. Your sinful nature was crucified, it’s dead and buried. When God says that you are a new creation He wasn’t joking, did you know that phrase “new creation” literally means something that has never been, it’s a new species. Now we can’t even use the excuse “well, I’m only human”!
Truly good news
This is good news people, good news that is almost literally too good to be true! Thankfully God is able to do more than we can think or imagine. God didn’t send His Son to die on the cross to give you another shot at trying your best all over again struggling and fighting against a sinful nature. He gave you a whole new existence as a righteous being, praise God that He brought life to your mortal body and that it is no longer you that lives but Christ in you.
A lot of people struggle with Romans 7 when this teaching is presented. “But didn’t Paul struggle with His sinful nature?” they will ask. No. He didn’t. When read in the context of the preceding and proceeding chapters it is very clear that Paul is, whilst writing in the first person for effect, VERY much talking about his old self under the law. In chapters 5-8 Paul states that we are dead and that our old nature was crucified, buried and drowned amongst other analogies dozens and dozens of times. So the same guy who said “how can someone who is dead sin?” Is not saying a few verses later “I’m struggling with sin”.
The same man said that “our sinful nature has been circumcised from us”, how many circumcised guys are carrying around their foreskins? I thought so.
While a terribly nasty analogy, it definitely makes my point well and certainly hammers home the point that Paul is trying to put across to the Colossians. He says it throughout most of his letters over and over again: you’re dead, it’s no longer you who lives but Christ in you, you were buried with Him, you were crucified with Him, you put your old nature to death in the act of baptism, you have circumcised your old sinful nature, you have put off the old man, you are a new creation… and I could go on for a while, trust me!
So what does this mean? Why are we still sinning? That is the million dollar question. Which I will address in my next blog.
Update: You can find that next blog here, “Why do I sin?”