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After fall of Adam, God gave men the law to both the Jews and non-Jews
alike. God will judge men base on the law.
All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
The law was assigned to the fallen men to show them the righteousness of God. However, becuase we hated God, as soon as God showed us the law, we purposely disobeyed it out of rebellion. Is not our own desire, but rather sin which entered the body that caused us to do the opposite of what God wants.
Rom 7:7 –
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Because of our rebellion, the law had the unintended consequence of causing more sin and rebellion against God. God gave us the law knowing it will cause us to go further into sin.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.
It is sin in our bodies that enslaves us. Sin is like a disease that has infiltrated the body resulting in lust of the flesh. Becuase of the flesh, people cannot help themselves but continue to sin even when it causes misery.
For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
Paul used the analogy of marriage to describe the union between the
body and the law. God has assigned the law to the body.
Rom 7:1 –
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
The law unfortunately is permanently assigned to our body, What can be done. The only way to release us from the law is for us to die so to speak. Paul uses the example of a husband’s death that by tradition would release the wife from marriage obligation.
Rom 7:2 –
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
We die to the flesh by dying with Christ. Our death with Christ releases us from two things. First, the body is dead, therefore, we are released from influence of sin in the body. Second, body being dead also releases us from the attachment of the law to our body. The law can no longer incite the flesh to sin and rebel against God. The “freed from sin” here does not refer to forgiveness of sin. This is beyond salvation; because salvation forgives our sin, but it does not end the desire to sin. Death to sin is freedom from the lust of sin. We are freed from the desire to sin because sin does not control us.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Having died to the flesh, our body is now risen with Christ to a new mind where we live in the Spirit. It is because we are serving in the Spirit, that we no longer have desires to sin.
Rom 7:4 –
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
As a Christian, we have two choice. By default, we live according to the old body, which is the flesh, and we are captivated by sinful lust. We contintue to struggle against sinful habbit. We have a second choice, which is to die to sin, and hence live in the Spirit. To die to the flesh, and live by the spirit takes a conscious effort. Is an uphill battle. Therefore, Paul said to reckon yourself to be dead to sin.
Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The process of dying to the flesh and living by the Spirit is a continuous one that leads to perfect death and rebirth. However, just like salvation, there should be a definite moment when you have started down the path of reckoning to be dead to sin.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Before the process of reckoning, Paul struggled with sin like many Christians. He simply could not stop himself from sinning.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Then he found the solution that is trough process of reckoning in his mind.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
He found out how to overcome the desire to sin by reckoning himself dead to sin, and living in the Spirit. When you live in the Spirit, you have no desire to sin.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Not only will you not have desire to sin, you simply cannot sin. Sinning
is not possible for those who are living in the Spirit. That is a significant
contrass from Christisans who are still struggling with sin. Note that while
you do not sin while living by the Spirit per 1John, Christians do not live
constantly by the Spirit all the time because of daily distractions. We strive
to be in the Spirit at all times in our life. It is a constant struggle in our
daily life to be living by the Spirit in opposition to the the counsel of world,
fighting the weakness of our flesh and denying the appeal of sin. Soon as you
look towards the things around you, you will begin to sink.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Process of dying to sin is much more substantial and involved than many Christians thinks. It is beyond accepting Jesus as your savior. It requires you to be dead to the world.
1John 2:15 – Do not love the world:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
It is too easy for Christians to say they have given their whole life to Jesus. Many people will give lip service. Jesus knew that, so He gave a simple task to the rich man to perform, and prove he has forsaken the world. Is truly a simple task if you have completely forsaken the world. That is also a test for us Christians on how far we are on our reckoning process. Selling all that he has requires absolute trust that God will provide for everything. Not easy for anyone. God may ask us to do the same. Give up our job and go into ministry. God leads us step by step in our journey until we have forsaken the world.
sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Paul has accomplished his task. He lost all that he gained, and all that he took pride in. If Jesus lost His glory in heaven to come to earth, it should be a simple matter for us to loose all our posession. We being no greater than Jesus would have to loose all our posession as well.
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Living in the Spirit is so great an experiance that Paul wanted for
himself to die with Christ more and more. His deepest desire was to die to the
flesh. This forsaking of the world is not difficult for him once he experianced
power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, to further die to the self, he wanted to
understand Christ’s death. To know Christ, to be conformed to His death
so he would know the power of ressurection. That power of ressurection is what
frees him from habits of sinning, and attain a true holy living.
that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul emphisize the death of the self. The self with all its everyday wants, ego and pride must die. In essence, everything that up to this point we understand as “good things” in life must die. That includes everything that makes you feel good about yourself, and want to wake up in the morning. All that must die. Cheif among them is ego as well as self-esteem and self confidence that we spent our entire life building up. All that is gone. Just as Paul said all his work that was the pride of his life was lost. All that in Paul’s word is garbage. After all the earthly garbage are lost and crucified on the Cross, then Christ can live in us.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me
It is ony after self is dead that one can live in the Spirit. As long as the self is alive, Spirit will be masked by the self. The obvious result of walking in Spirit is you will not be sinning.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Reckoning is done in the mind. We must control our thoughts. These would be thoughts that comes from lust of the flesh. Every errant thought must be bought into obedience of Christ.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
Holy living led completely by the Spirit resutls in bearing of good
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Dying to the self is doing the impossible. Jesus talked about selling all you have and give to be poor. The sacrifice is too great for us to even consider. Many Christians will talk about salvation, but ends there for a good reason. Many cannot accomplish the second step of reckoning. Not only can they not accomplish the second step, they are not willing to even talk about it or consider it because is impossible.
Jesus understands this Christian predicament very well. He gave us an incredible promise. If you only have a minuscule amount of faith, you can move mountains. This mountain he is talking about is the self. We are so entrenched in the self, we cannot move it. While we cannot have faith like Abraham or Paul, we all can have a minuscule amount of faith. The definition of minuscule amount of faith is simply the willingness to consider the prospect of dying to the self even if is against all odds. Consider there is a remote possibility you can accomplish the task of reckoning. With that tiny faith, pray to God. It takes a seed for faith to grow. God takes your seed, and grows it for you.
Need God’s Help
It is useless to try and increase faith by yourself. Equally wrong is trying to be holy with your own strength. God does it for you. Too many Christian teachings tells you to try harder not to sin so you can be holy. That is relying on your ability. You get the credit and not God. God wants the credit for helping you.
To arrive at the place where you reckon yourself to be dead to self requires leading of the Holy Spirit. So how do we call on the Holy Spirit to help us?
1. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So you know you are not where you should be as a Christian. First step is put in your own effort not to sin. Not sinning is not going to get you to God, but that is your effort to diligently seek God. It is very hard not to sin, so you must not lose hope. Is absolutely true God will honor your desire for Him. Here is a common list of sins for guys. Inappropriate pictures on the internet. Do not look, and do not click on the link. Do not look at another woman walking down the street and think in an inappropriate way. Be absolutely honest in your business dealing whether with government or others. Do not cheat in any way on tax or in business. There is nothing good in Hollywood or in pop music. Stay away from these as much as practical. Hollywood and pop music is all about glorifying the self. Obviously cut out drinking, smoking, drugs. If you are tempted to sin, understand when you take a stand against temptation, God will honor that. In time, He will lift you up.
2. Do not substitute not sinning for holiness. God wants you to give up the world. Christians cling onto the world as if heaven is not good enough. Christians will think by not sinning, they are holy. In reality, they want the world, and don’t want to give up the world or the money in it. They hope by not sinning, they can find an alternative way to being holy. That is by works and not by faith. An example is the Pharisees in Jesus’s day. They cling onto their power and position. They try really hard not to sin, but they reject Jesus. They want to substitute following the law for following Jesus. Following Jesus is much more difficult especially after Jesus said you must sell all you have to follow Him.
3. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father whi is in heaven will enter.”At some point, God will honor your effort to seek Him. He will ask you to follow him. Is a conviction of the Holy Spirit, and you will know when God calls you to do something. This chance does not come often. When it does, it will probably be at an inconvenient moment when you are already comfortable with life. Always be ready to answer God’s call. It may be as simple as attend a fellowship or as hard as leaving a job you like. Be prepared that Satan may also be calling you to do nothing, and he will come with a counteroffer. In addition, he will tell you it is not really God’s call. Be prepared to pray a lot.