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Category Archives: The Gospel

The Internal War

The Internal War

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s been explaining the battle with sin experienced by immature believers.

These Christians are at the point where they believe God’s law is right. They’ve determined to live for God habitually, but very often find themselves failing.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

Romans 7:17

This is another important verse to understand. The context gives us the prerequisites for this. The verses just before this one show that I’ve determined to stop doing those things I now hate. This verse gives me hope for my future.

It lets me know that even if I fail, my sin is not going to drag me down. It’s covered by God’s grace. God does not count it as my fault. It’s no longer me that accomplishes it, but the sin that occupies the house in me.

This is actually the basis for Paul’s teaching in chapter 8, which we’ll get to at some point. It’s hard to preach this because people want to turn God’s grace into a doormat. That’s not the case here.

If you determine to continue in sin, this verse doesn’t cover you. But, if all the conditions are met – my desire is to serve God completely – then I don’t blame myself.

Why can I say this? Paul explains it in the next verse.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:18

The first sentence of this verse literally says I know by experience that nothing good lives in the house of my flesh. Nothing good at all.

The Holy Spirit lives in my spirit. The Word of God lives in my soul (my mind). But in my flesh there’s nothing good, only sin.

The next sentence reads, the intention or desire to do good is present with me, but I cannot find how to fully accomplish it. As a baby Christian, I haven’t figured out yet, how to fully live for Christ.

Now Paul summarizes everything he’s said so far.

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:19-20

Because of the sin living in my flesh, I see myself doing evil again and again. Remember, this is not the norm for a mature believer. Paul is speaking from the perspective of immaturity.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law…

Romans 7:21-22

Paul explains that there’s a law at work here. When I determine to do right, evil is present with me. The determination of my soul is different than the desire of my evil flesh. This is a tension that even the Apostle Peter wrote about.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11

Your soul and your flesh want two different things for your life. Your soul rejoices in God’s law, and that’s the foundation for the next step in your growth.

Question: How have you seen this war between your soul and your flesh play out in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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I’m Not a Victim of Sin

I’m Not a Victim of Sin

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s view of the infancy stage that all believers pass through. The goal is to go through as quickly as possible. It’s not an excuse for a sinful lifestyle.

Let’s look at these verses in detail. Remember, in this section, Paul is not talking about himself, but writing from the perspective of a baby Christian.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15-16

It’s interesting to note that every word translated as “do” in this verse is a different Greek word. The literal translation of that first sentence is, I do not comprehend what I am fully accomplishing.

There’s another verse that can help us to understand what Paul’s saying here.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

We have to realize that God is working in us. His work includes the changing of our will and our actions. We simply need to submit to the Lord’s process.

So, in Romans, Paul isn’t saying “I don’t know what I’m doing.” He’s expressing to us that as a baby believer, he doesn’t fully comprehend what’s being accomplished in his life.

The simple fact is that I don’t understand how God is working His will in me. He’s getting me to think like He thinks. In that way I’ll begin to act on His plan for my life.

Going back to the original verse in Romans, Paul tells us why he doesn’t comprehend what he’s accomplishing. Again, the literal translation of the next sentence reads, the reason I don’t comprehend it is because what I intend is not what I practice habitually.

It’s not that I don’t do it. The problem is that it’s not a habit yet. Paul is saying that at this point the baby Christian hasn’t reached the level of habitually doing what he knows to do.

Instead, this immature believer finds himself doing things that he hates. But, there’s an important difference. This phrase does not imply a habit, but something that he falls into from time to time.

That brings us to the next verse.

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Romans 7:16

There are times I find myself doing something that I actually don’t want to do. The good thing is that I recognize that it’s wrong. I find myself agreeing with God’s will. This is the first baby step to freedom.

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

1 Peter 4:3-4

Peter explains it well. He says that when you were in sin, you chose to do it. Now, you’ve determined not to do it, you even hate it. You may still fall into it from time to time, but your heart is changing.

The world thinks it strange that you want to do good. They think that serving God is a bad thing, it’s no fun. But, now you’re agreeing that the law is good. This is the growth you want to see as an infant believer.

Question: How have you seen your attitude toward God’s law change over the years?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Spiritual Infancy

Spiritual Infancy

In my last post we were talking about the difference between spiritual laws and physical laws. Today I want to review a little bit, so we can see the progression through the book of Romans.

Here’s the verse we left off on.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Romans 7:14

Remember how Paul brought us to this point. In his letter, he started by talking about ungodly sinners with no knowledge of God. He also talked about those who were actively anti-God.

His next subject was religious people. These are the ones who think rules will get you to God.

He then shared about the principles of salvation. He explained how Christ set us free from death, sin, and the law.

At that point, everything he talked about was theoretical and positional. It was all about the finished work of Christ that He accomplished through His death on the cross and His resurrection.

But now, we’re getting to the important part. How is all of this applied to my life in practice?

Paul starts by talking about how we can offer ourselves as a paid volunteers of sin. We saw that when you offer to work for sin, sin will pay you wages.

In any job you’re selling yourself to the company for your paycheck. We basically say, “I’m yours, I’ll do what you tell me for a price.”

Actually, this wasn’t the normal lifestyle until the industrial age. Until then, most people worked for themselves.

So, we’re now at the point in Romans where Paul is talking about Christians who are working for sin. There’s a Scriptural word for that.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The word translated as worldly in this verse is actually the word, carnal or fleshly. It means that they serve God according to the dictates of their flesh.

The apostle equates this with being a spiritual infant. This tells me that every Christian goes through the carnal phase. But the real question is; for how long? The goal should be to get through this infancy as quickly as possible.

We need to understand that this is who he’s talking about at this point in Romans – infant Christians.

And that brings us to, probably, one of the most misunderstood and most misquoted passages of the New Testament. It’s used as excuse for all kinds of sinful lifestyles.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:15-20

Christians who want to stay in their infant stage pull this out of context and say, “Look at this! Even Paul didn’t do right. So don’t judge me.”

What they don’t understand is that Paul was talking from the perspective of an infant Christian. This is not supposed to be the normal Christian life.

In my next post, we’ll begin looking at this section of Scripture in great detail. We’ll see exactly what Paul was trying to get across to us.

Question: How have you seen your Christian walk progress through the infant stage?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Spiritual Death

Spiritual Death

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. We left off talking about how the law puts a spotlight on sin. Here’s the verse we were looking at.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Romans 7:13

In my last post, I said that when death came to Adam and Eve, it caused them to lose their relationship with God. I want to talk about that in a little more detail.

Remember, Adam was perfect before he fell into sin. That means that he functioned perfectly according to God’s plan for him. What does that mean?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

This is something that Jesus said to the woman He met with at a well. A question we don’t usually ask is; did Adam worship God perfectly? I believe that he did. Adam and Eve worshiped God in spirit and in truth before they lost their perfect state.

If they worshiped with the spirit, that means that they didn’t have to use physical words. They talked and communed with God on His level. That’s what God created them for.

Does Scripture bear this out? I believe that it does. Look at what happened immediately after they sinned.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:8-10

This is the very first time a sound is ever mentioned in the Bible. This is the first time they hear God with their physical ears. That’s why they were so afraid.

Now sin had a spotlight, and serving God was by rules and the law. Right and wrong was now the rule of righteousness. In that sense they died – they lost their spiritual relationship with God.

This is the relationship that’s restored in Christ.

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Romans 8:10

That’s the life we received in Christ. He renewed our relationship with God in the spirit. That brings us back to where we left off in Romans, chapter 7.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Romans 7:14

Paul is now explaining to us a new concept. He’s telling us that the law exists spiritually. We have to realize that there’s a spiritual law.

Yes, Adam served God in the spirit. But spiritual laws work differently than physical laws.

Paul wants to make it clear that even though there’s a spiritual law, he’s talking about the carnal, fleshly law. It’s because of this law that we’re sold into slavery to sin.

Wait a minute! What about Christians? In my next post we’ll see how this principle plays out in the lives of believers. It’s an important concept for us to understand.

Question: How do you cultivate your spiritual relationship with God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel, Worship

 

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The Spotlight on Sin

The Spotlight on Sin

As we go through the book of Romans, we’ve been talking about how the law brings death into our lives. This happens even though God created it as a good thing. Paul continues with this thought.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

Romans 7:11

According to this verse, sin used the commandment as a starting point. Then it deceived me, just like the serpent in the garden of Eden. As a result, it put me to death.

That’s why it’s so important not to “enforce” the letter of the law.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6

That’s because the letter gives power to sin and brings death into our lives.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers…

1 Timothy 1:8-9

The good news is that we are righteous in Christ. This tells me that the law is not for us! The law is for the unrighteous. I shouldn’t need a set of rules to keep me in line with God’s plan for me.

Paul continues with this thought.

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

Romans 7:12

The fact is that the law is holy, set apart to God. Also, the commands that it contains are holy, righteous, and good. There’s nothing wrong with the law on a moral level. What’s wrong, is how sin twists the law in order to kill us.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Romans 7:13

We need to understand that Paul is being very specific here. He asks; did the good law become death to me? The answer is, absolutely not! What the law did, was to throw a spotlight on sin so that it could be seen for what it was.

As a result, it put on a show for me, to attract my attention. The goal was to make sin look utterly sinful.

Why did God do this? The answer is simply that He didn’t. It was Adam who turned on the spotlight when he ate the fruit. That’s why, immediately, before God did anything, he hid from God.

That’s because it caused death to Adam’s soul. Specifically, a rift in communication between him and God.

This is the chasm that needed to be crossed. That’s why true salvation can only be found in Christ Jesus. He’s the bridge that brings us back into an intimate relationship with God the Father.

In my next post, I’ll look at this subject of relationship with God in more detail.

Question: What negative results of the law have you experienced?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Law is not Your Friend

The Law is not Your Friend

We’re continuing our study through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. We’re looking at the example of a marriage in talking about our being set free from the law, sin, and death.

We are told, from this Scripture, that in Christ we died to these things and can now bear fruit to God.

For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Romans 7:5

This verse takes us back to when we were in the flesh. Paul now introduces this new concept. He uses the phrase, in the flesh, translated controlled by the sinful nature. He first used this term in Romans 6:19. But now he’s giving us some added details..

Remember that the flesh is the nature and will of the body. Paul told us, in chapter 6, that our major weakness is in our flesh. This is important for us to understand.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

In this verse, Paul literally says that I am crucified in Christ, yet I live in the flesh. This may sound like a paradox.

By faith, our flesh is crucified in Christ. This is the key point. Even though my flesh is crucified, I run into problems when I try to crucify only a part of it.

The devil wants you to concentrate on a small piece of the flesh. God wants the whole thing – that’s where your victory comes from so that you can live by faith in Him.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:3

The original text of this verse reads that we walk in the flesh. It tells us that though we walk in the flesh, we don’t strategize according to flesh. That’s because the flesh doesn’t want what God wants.

Looking back to Romans 7:5, we see how this works. The phrase translated, the sinful passions aroused by the law, literally means that the influence of sin was energized or empowered by the law.

The law gave sin all of its power along with the accompanying emotions, pleasure, and guilt. Of course it also included all of the conflict that we experienced.

At that time, the law and sin was our husband, spiritually speaking. This sin planted a seed in us. It was then activated by the law, and produced the fruit of death. (A list of this fruit is found in Galatians 5:19-21)

These are all the things that we look back and say, “How could I have done that?” It’s all rooted in being married to sin and the law. The law said, “Don’t do that.” The flesh responded, “Why not?”

Whenever you say, “I shouldn’t do that,” you’re planting a seed of death in your heart. The key is to stop trying not to do sinful things. Instead, start living by faith in Christ crucified.

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:6

Here Christ is telling us that the only way out of prison is to die in Him. So, we died in Christ and now we’re raised in the Spirit. We’ve been resurrected into a new life apart from, freed from the law.

Now we can voluntarily choose to serve a new way, in the spirit. We no longer have to serve in the old, antiquated way of following a set of rules.

Question: Why does following a set of rules make it impossible to serve God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Producing Fruit

Producing Fruit

In my last post, we started looking at Paul’s example of the marriage. He was using it to explain how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and the world.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

This is the verse that we ended with. However, we hadn’t talked about the second half of the verse.

Paul makes it clear that we’ve been set free for a purpose. Now we can be fruitful toward God. Remember, this is in the context of using marriage as the example.

When we’re speaking about marriage, being fruitful is equivalent to having children. Gently put, it’s the seed of the man delivered into the life of the woman. This is another common illustration of Scripture.

Think about what Christ taught in His parable of the sower and the seed.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:23

Jesus was talking about a person who is receiving the seed of God’s Word. In terms of our discussion, I would say that the good soil is a life that’s lost connection with sin, the law, and the world.

This is in agreement with other verses we’ve been given.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

Colossians 1:6b

The Good News is the Word of God. Does it immediately bear fruit when you receive it? No, you must receive it and understand God’s grace working through it.

Think about it. Sometimes a group of believers are all attending the same church. They all hear same good news – the Word of God. Yet, in spite of this, only some bear fruit. That’s because they’re missing the grace ingredient.

That brings us to an obvious question; what’s the fruit? Jesus talked about it with His disciples.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

For every fruit in the natural, there’s a supernatural expression. Jesus had the ability to either provide money from His purse or the mouth of a fish. He made it clear that He could either buy a meal for 5000 people or break fish and bread to feed them all.

The fact is, as long as we’re content to serve in the natural, we have no need of intimacy with Christ. If we want to see the supernatural work of God through us, that will require the Word of God and His grace in us producing fruit.

That’s the real question. Do I want the glory; or do I want God to receive glory through my life? For God to be praised, I must allow His Word to work through me. I must develop intimacy with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: What does it take to allow God’s Word to produce fruit in us?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Christ, Marriage, and the Law

Christ, Marriage, and the Law

We’re now in Romans, chapter 7. Paul has been talking about how Christ has set us free from the law, sin, and death. He’s now about to use a common example to illustrate what he’s been teaching.

Do you not know, brothers — for I am speaking to men who know the law — that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.

Romans 7:1-2

Here Paul is speaking to those who know the law. He explains that the law is lord over humans only as long as they’re alive.

Now, using marriage as an example, he explains this truth. The law binds a woman to her living husband. But, if her husband dies, she is loosed from that aspect of the law.

So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

Romans 7:3

Obviously, if her husband lives, and there’s another man in her life, she’s an adulteress. If her husband is dead, then there’s no adultery. Paul is using the example of a married woman. So, what does that have to do with us?

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

The point is that we died to the law with Christ, so that we could be married to another. We now belong to Him who was raised from the dead – Jesus Christ. In Christ the old connections are gone.

Look at the wonderful results of this truth.

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Galatians 2:19

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14

What could be better than this? We are declared dead to the law, dead to sin, and dead to the world. According to verses 2 and 3 above in Romans, what does this mean? We now have no connection, no obligation, and the freedom to choose another way of life.

Think about this in the natural. What if a woman’s husband dies? She goes through the grieving process. But then, God brings her another love.

What if she remains devoted to her dead husband? Everyday she places flowers on his grave. She continues to talk to that dead husband as if he’s alive. She still sets a place for him at dinner table.

Is she free? No! Why not? It’s because of her own choice.

Many Christians are just like this. The old connections to the law, sin, and the world are broken in Christ, yet they act as if they were not.

What’s the answer to all of this? Paul will get into it as we continue on in this teaching. You won’t want to miss it.

Question: How is your relationship with Christ similar to a marriage?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Weakness of the Flesh

The Weakness of the Flesh

We’re continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s bringing them, step by step, through the process of salvation, from sinner to a deep spiritual walk.

At this point he’s dealing with the possibility that although Christ set you free from slavery to sin, you can still sin voluntarily.

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

Romans 6:19

This is a very important verse in understanding our problem with sin. Paul is talking on the human level about the choices we make.

The phrase, natural selves, is really the word, flesh or sarx in the Greek language. He makes it clear that our flesh is our weakness. This begins a new level of teaching at this point in his letter.

So far, Paul has been talking about our body or soma in the Greek. There’s a distinction between these two concepts – body and flesh. In the battle against sin, our flesh is the area of our weakness.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Galatians 5:16-17

As in Romans, the phrase sinful nature is the word flesh in this verse. The flesh is the nature and will of the body. It is contrary to everything God wants for you. That’s our greatest weakness.

So in the pages of Scripture, the term, flesh, refers to the wants and desires of the body. That’s why Paul has referred to it as the body of death.

Getting back to Romans, chapter 6, Paul says that our new life should be the same as our old life. The only difference is who we’re offering our body to as a slave.

Exactly like you offered up your members to serve impurity, going from lawlessness to lawlessness, now offer them to righteousness.

We find that once we take first step, it’s easier to take second. So I must offer up my members as servants of righteousness. That will lead me toward holiness and deeper into a walk of righteousness. The fact is that I can force my body to obey God even if my flesh doesn’t want to.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:20-23

Now Paul asks another question. Looking back, what fruit did you hold by the things you’re now ashamed of? At that time in your life the point you were aiming at was death.

Now you’re liberated from the reign of sin. You can be a voluntary servant of God. Now the fruit that you produce leads you toward holiness. More than that, your life is now aimed at a perpetual, forever-life.

In the last verse, Paul summarizes what he’s said so far. The wages paid by sin are death. Please understand, wages are not paid immediately. On the other hand, God’s gift is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Question: What are the difficulties in voluntarily serving God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2021 in Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Who Do You Serve?

Who Do You Serve?

In my last post, I started talking about the fact that even though Christ has set us free from slavery to sin, we can voluntarily submit to it.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey — whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:16

Here is another “Don’t you know” in the Scripture. We need to pay attention when we see them. We must make sure we understand what’s being said.

The key word in this verse is offer. It was also used twice in verse 13. It literally means to stand beside and present.

In regards to sin, it means that submission is voluntary. It’s not sin as your king, but you as a volunteer. You’ve presented yourself as a servant.

In the Greek language, there are two main words for servant – deakonos and doulos. Deakonos denotes a slave to the work. You’re told what to do by a master and you have no choice but to obey.

The word doulos is different. In this case you’re a willing servant of a person. You’ve chosen to submit to their lordship. In some places it’s translated as a bond-slave.

The word for servant in the above verse is doulos. You’re offering yourself as a servant into the place of obedience. This applies to a choice in either direction – either serving Christ or sin.

If you choose to serve sin, you need to be aware that it leads you to death. No, you haven’t died yet, it’s just leading you in that direction. You might even still be on the right path, but your aim a little off.

There’s also the potential choice to serve obedience. In that case you’re being lead to righteousness. That’s what this decision is all about. You’re either walking toward righteousness or death.

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Romans 6:17-18

Notice that this obedience is a choice from the heart. That’s why getting the Word into our heart is so important. When you change your heart, you change the entire direction of your life.

It’s also important to see what they obeyed in this verse. It says that they obeyed the form of teaching they were given.

That word means a die or stamp used as a pattern. They obeyed the pattern of teaching that was committed to them. We need to learn the patterns in the Word. That’s the way things happen and progress.

The pattern that they understood from Paul’s teaching was that if you chase after evil things, you head towards death. The key to all of this is our liberation from the reign of sin as we remain in Christ.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:34-36

The Good News is that we’ve been liberated into the family of God. We should, therefore, show the traits of that family – the pattern. In order to have our best life, we must desire to be slaves of righteousness.

Question: What does it take to choose obedience to God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2021 in Faith, Sonship, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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