A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Romans’

Why do I sin?

If Christ died for my sin so that I could be declared righteous why do I still sin?

I have heard this question asked by Christians and there never seemed to be an answer that quite hit the mark. This subject is tackled in Romans 7 and it comes as a relief to many of to know that the great apostle Paul who spread the gospel to the Gentile world, planted churches, groomed leaders and wrote a large chunk of the New Testament was human and flawed just like the rest of us.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do … when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Taken from Romans 7: 15-24)

Surely if Christ died to take away my sin, I shouldn’t sin any more. It is certainly true that when someone becomes a Christian they become different – they are a ‘new creation’ as 2 Cor 5:17 puts it. We have a new ‘want to’. When we do sin, we don’t do it comfortably, but why do we do it at all?

I recently heard an analogy given by John Bevere whose teaching I really love. This helped me understand this whole idea much better. He said that an unbeliever can be compared to a country who is ruled by an evil leader, but when they become a Christian it’s as though a good king came overthrew the evil ruler and established a new kingdom. However there are still fortresses in the kingdom owned by the former king. It is our job to enforce the law of the new king and overthrow these strongholds.

Think of Germany after the 2nd world war. During the Nazi period Hitler was in charge and there was nothing that anyone could do because they made the law of the land. Once Hitler was defeated in 1945 and the allied forces took control, then everything changed because he was no longer in charge. Imagine, though, if there had still been pockets of resistance in Germany that were still loyal to Nazism? They were still in operation, but now they were there illegally. Then those who were in charge now have the authority to arrest them and put them in prison.

Satan operates in our lives illegally because he has no business being there! We, as believers in Christ, have been given God’s power and authority to remove Satan from working in our lives.

Those the Son has set free are free indeed (John 8:36)

Getting the devil back

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full  (John 10:10)

This is a very familiar passage and one of Jesus’ best known quotes. Satan is out to take whatever he can get from us and he will use every trick he can to achieve his objectives. He is clever and crafty and he lies to us constantly.

Not one of us hasn’t fallen into his traps at one time or another, but getting mad at the devil doesn’t destroy his influence in our lives. The Bible has a lot to say about how to overcome the devil and essentially it says to be exactly the opposite of what he is.

 

When we think of spiritual warfare, we imagine something which involves aggression, hostility and combativeness.

God, however, is thinking of something entirely different for us. Romans 12 tells us how to fight the good fight:

 

  • Love sincerely, Hate only evil, hold fast to what is good
  • Be committed to one another
  • Honour one another
  • Keep serving the Lord enthusiastically
  • Be hopeful and joyful
  • Endure difficulties with patience
  • Pray regularly and consistently
  • Share with one another – be hospitable
  • Be a blessing to those who have wronged you
  • Share in the joy of others and if someone is hurting, ache with them
  • Live alongside one another amicably
  • Don’t think of anyone as too low for you to get alongside them
  • Whenever you are able to, live in harmony with everyone
  • Don’t get anyone back for what they have done

God gave me a good example of this principle in action (some of the details have been changed to maintain anonymity).

Some time ago a close friend of mine called Linda was organising a trip for some people that we knew.  They were going to go away skiing and although I wanted to go with them, I hadn’t been invited.  I was embarrassed and a little hurt because Linda and I were good friends and yet it seemed she was inviting everyone else except me.

I wanted to feel sorry for myself and sulk. I also was tempted to avoid her – ice her out, but around that time I heard teaching on this principle and God challenged me to do something good for her.  Well I definitely didn’t want to at all, but I went out and bought her some ski goggles.  The thing is, when I gave them to her, all those feelings of self-pity and ill-will towards her had gone completely. I was able to wish her a good trip and mean it.

God didn’t tell me to do that for her benefit, it was for me so that I would be free from the devil’s temptation to hold a grudge against her.

Satan will hate it if you are good when you want to act bad. Don’t sink to his level, combat him by rising above.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12: 21

Everybody Hurts

It is a universal truth that everyone experiences emotional pain at some point in life.  People hurt people. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but everyone goes through it.

R.E.M.’s 1993 hit “Everybody Hurts” has often featured high up in all time favourite song lists simply because people can relate so closely to its message.

The antidote to hurt is forgiveness, and although it may be true that everybody hurts, not everybody forgives.

The problem that people often have with forgiveness is that it appears to let the other party “get away with it”.  We are the offended party and if we forgive, they get to go on with their life as though we have given them a “get out of jail free card”.  Surely that’s not fair!

The thing is, of course, they are probably doing that anyway, and although holding grudges and plotting revenge makes us feel as though we are getting them back, in actual fact we are just hurting ourselves.

Forgiveness is for our benefit.

To hold onto grievances and repeat an offence over and over in our minds means that the wrong-doing of the other person has succeeded in putting us in jail, whilst their off doing their own thing, probably ignorant of what they have done. Forgiveness is the key to our own freedom.

Romans 12 talks about this at length:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Taken from Romans 12: 14-21)

Blessing those who have hurt us  includes not repeating what they have done. Overcoming evil with good means speaking well of them or looking for ways in which you can do something good for them.

This sounds a tall order, but God helps those who are determined not to get caught in the trap of offence to break free from it. Plus it opens the door for God to take care of the situation.

Forgiveness is not easy, but living with a wounded soul is much harder.

Do yourself a favour: Forgive

Tag Cloud