I've discovered Paul asks questions. Paul answers many of those questions - and tracking the answer back to the question really helps the book of Romans "gel." But it takes TIME....I'm not making it through a chapter a day any longer. ::wink::
This morning ONE PHRASE lit off the page.... Romans 6:15 opens with a question, "Shall we sin because we are not under the law?" May it never be! (That is not the WHOLE answer. ::snort::) Paul lays out in Rom 6:1- 14 that a life of habitual sin is not consistent with the gospel. In Rm 6:15 - 7:6, he asks about the occasional lapses. To paraphrase....
"My occasional lapses aren't a big deal now that I'm under grace - right? "
Yes, they matter.
Grace is not the enemy of effort or holiness. Grace is the enemy of earning. Our occasional sin matters because it shows who we have chosen to serve in that snapshot of time....Sin is NOT our master, and sin was not the Roman's master either.
|another personal graphic|
"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you BECAME OBEDIENT FROM THE HEART to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
We're freed from sin - now we need to voluntarily enslave ourselves to righteousness. This happens as we are "obedient (to the gospel) from the heart!"
It's not slavishly selling myself to new-improved-list of dos and don'ts....it's about my heart. My heart loves Jesus. My heart is so grateful for all He's done. My heart wants to obey. I obey and begin to walk as slave to righteousness - rather than sin.
At the core of a lifestyle of personal holiness is a heart passionate to obey! "Obedient from the heart...," this one phrase is a wonderful description of faith. Faith in Jesus and His teachings (the gospel) will lead to obedience. If we really believe something, we will act according to that belief.
That one word that "slips out?"
That one 'tude we sport in a moment?
That one conversation that is true, but not needed, which we choose to share?
They matter because they illustrate, in that snapshot of time, I didn't really believe Jesus. I chose to enslave my self to sin rather than righteousness. Yes, I will confess my sin and He is so faithful to forgive. BUT I get in these spots through my choices and unbelief.
IF I really believe God can control my tongue, if I really believe I'm to imitate Christ's attitude shown in Philippians 2:3-8, if I really believe gossip and harsh words are sin (Eph 4:29, James 3)....THEN I will OBEY.
IF I really believe God; THEN that belief will spill over into every area of my life.
It's our natural makeup is to grow.
Living all of life before the face of God...