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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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My Fight with Legalism

My Fight with Legalism

In my last post, I looked at Paul’s teaching on legalism in his letter to the Roman church. It’s actually what separates all other religions and Christianity.

Think about it. In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today. Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.

As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of. Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?

There are some sneaky ways that legalism creeps into our lives. We have to be careful not to fall victim to them.

Here’s where we ended in my last post.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
Romans 7:9-10

This verse is very clear. God saved me apart from the law, when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.

Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.

Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me. One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me. I had been going through a rough time financially.

I had done everything that I knew to do. I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions. I’ve always been a tither. I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.

At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?” Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture. I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.

If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven. I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.

The Lord then asked me a question that floored me. He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?” I was speechless. I had no response to this.

On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions. But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.

I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment. Trying, in your own power, to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism. I had to learn how to walk in the Lord’s freedom.

That’s why it’s important to understand how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death.

Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re talking about how Christ freed us from sin on the cross. In the salvation He purchased for us, is our identification with Him on the cross. Because of that, death and sin don’t rule us anymore.

The apostle makes it clear that we’re no longer slaves to sin. We can apply the death of Jesus Christ to our own bodies.

In my last post, I talked about how we sometimes fight against this work. In their experience, there are many believers who still act as slaves to sin. So this death over the flesh is something that must be sought after. It doesn’t just happen.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Romans 6:8-10

Paul now begins to talk about the implications of us dying with Christ. That’s why he uses the word, “if” in this passage. It requires an understanding of what has taken place in the spirit.

If we truly understand that we’ve died with Christ, then that should direct our faith toward living with Him. This means a common life together. His life and our life are melded together.

The reasoning is simple. In His death, He died to sin for all of us. Now Christ lives toward God. That’s the new direction that our lives should take on.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally take inventory of, conclude yourself to exist dead, in fact, to sin.

This goes right along with our baptism. In verse 3 of Romans chapter 6 we were baptized into His death. Now in verse 11, there’s something that Paul is hoping you’ll move into by faith. Paul describes this step to the Colossian church.

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Colossians 2:11-12

This is what Paul is trying to describe to us – the putting off, or dying, of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ.

It isn’t a work I can perform. It doesn’t matter how much will-power I put forth. Only Christ, Himself, can bring it to pass in my life. I must submit under the blade of the divine Surgeon.

There are two prerequisites to this surgery. The first is baptism and the second is faith in the power of God. This means that I can’t look to myself and how well I can obey God. It’s all about how much I trust His power working in my life. How much am I willing to surrender to Him?

It’s the same as in the natural world. If I don’t trust the surgeon in a medical procedure, then I will not allow them to put me under the anesthesia. I’ll only let someone I trust have that much power over my body. Do we trust Christ enough to consent to His life changing work in us?

That’s a choice we all have to make. If I want to see the victory of God over my sin nature, then I have to do it His way. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. It’s the basis for a victorious life in Christ.

Question: How has counting yourself dead to sin changed your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

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

 

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Grace is Life

Grace is Life

We’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, we talked about the battle between life and death.

Paul obviously understood the importance of this principle. He continues to talk about it in the next few verses..

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Romans 5:18-19

Because of Adam’s sin, everyone is now under the same guilty verdict. Because of that, we deserve the death sentence.

However, because of the work of Christ on the cross, that sentence has been nullified. According to this verse, we now have been given access into a not guilty life through Christ.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:19

Paul finds another way to tell us the great things that God has done. Adam caused us all to become sinners. But, by the love of the Lord, His sacrifice has now made us righteous in God’s eyes.

These are wonderful truths that we need to be meditating on. Don’t let the enemy lie to you. Never convince yourself that you’re unworthy of God’s love. Jesus Christ has made you worthy. You can be clothed in His righteousness.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase.

Romans 5:20a

As we continue along this line, we see where the villain of the story comes in. Remember, it’s the law that empowers sin.

I like the way this verse reads in the original Greek. It tells us that the law sneaked in so that the sins would increase. The law is very stealthy. You would think that it’s trying to help you. But instead, it’s trying to trip you up.

In actuality, the law is the word of death that the devil stands upon. The law’s goal is to increase sin and the reign of death.

I’m grateful to God that this isn’t the end of the story.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20b-21

The truth is that where sin abounds, the grace of God super-abounds. Nothing can outperform our Lord. Sin, no matter how great, cannot outdo grace.

Christ won a great victory. So now, just like sin reigned in death, grace now reigns through righteousness, being focused on eternal life.

God’s grace is now carrying out the agenda of life. At the same time, sin is carrying out the agenda of death. It’s up to us to decide who’s reign we want to submit to.

Personally, I want to choose life. But the question becomes; how do I walk in this life that Christ has purchased for me? That’s a good question, and over the next couple of chapters in Romans, Paul deals with that very thing.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, take the opportunity now. You won’t want to miss this important teaching.

Question: How have you messed up in trying to follow the law?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Death – The Evil Emperor

Death – The Evil Emperor

As we continue looking at the book of Romans, Paul is dealing with the battle between life and death. In my last post we were seeing the result of the cross in this struggle.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:15

This verse should really open our eyes to the truth. Death became king because of the one offense, when Adam sinned. But now, in Christ, how much greater is our reigning in life because of God’s super-abundant grace?

This verse literally says that we will rule or be kings in life through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it seems that many believers are fighting the wrong enemy. We think that the devil is the highest enemy. NO! He answers to his boss – death.

If you have subscribed to this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I’m a scifi nerd. I remember when Star Wars first came out. Darth Vader was the evil mastermind that the rebel forces were trying to defeat.

But then, in the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back, we were shocked to see Darth Vader bowing before an even higher being…the Emperor. That’s the way it is in our spiritual battle. Death is the emperor that the devil bows before.

Death is the real enemy, not the devil.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Hebrews 2:14-15

That’s why throughout Scripture the battle has always been life versus death. That’s what we’re always told to choose between (Deuteronomy 30:19). The choice is always between life and death. It’s not about good and evil, or even God and the devil.

That’s why Jesus holds out life to all who will come to Him.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

John 5:24

Notice that we haven’t crossed over from the kingdom of Satan, but from death. We have got to grasp this truth. Our greatest enemy is not the devil, it’s death.

When we speak or act in the power of death, that’s when we give him power over us. Satan is the Darth Vader of the empire of death. His goal is to carry out the agenda of death.

But there’s a greater truth at work in us. Now we are the king through Christ. We have the authority of life. That is, if we speak and act according to the agenda of the God of life.

It seems that we’re always on the lookout for sin and the devil. We need to start watching for the little ways we let death enter the scene.

…and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:27

What is a foothold? Simply put, it’s a place to stand. We have to stand on God’s Word. The devil has to stand on death’s word. Actually, he has to operate the same way we do. The difference is that the Word of Life is more powerful, has more authority, than the word of death.

If you haven’t already done so, change your way of thinking. Choose life and speak the Word of God. That’s the best way to a victorious lifestyle.

Question: How have you seen the battle of life and death playing out in your experience?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Death is King

Death is King

In my last post, we saw how sin and death entered the world through Adam’s failure. We’re now going to continue along this line so that we can understand all the implications of this.

…for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Romans 5:13-14

This is a very interesting passage of Scripture and we need to fully explore it. We’re told that even before the law, sin was in the world. However, until a law is given, sin is not put on anyone’s account.

Think about Adam’s case. He only had one law. There was only one thing he could do that would bring sin into his account. The outcome was that he chose to do that very thing.

Actually these verses should be a revelation to many Christians. This verse literally reads that death was king from Adam to Moses. That was true even for those who didn’t break a law, like Adam.

Wait a minute, what about Satan? I thought he’s the one who ruled the world. The truth is that Scripture explains to us that the devil is only king over his angels and anyone who submits to them.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Ephesians 2:1-2

We tend to give Satan a lot more credit and power than he actually has. Contrary to what most people think, he’s not the ruler of hell. Never get the idea that he’s going to be happily torturing people throughout eternity. He’s merely a fellow prisoner.

Right now, death is the ruler in charge of the earth. That is, until the return of Christ.

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26

Knowing that death is king over the earth gives us insight into how the spiritual battle is fought. Here’s a key verse for us.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56

This verse gives us the whole picture. Death is king. But the sting of death – the enforcer – is sin.

We’re also told that this enforcer, sin, has a power source. The power that gives sin its ability is the law.

The fact is that the devil can only attack in accordance with the law. That’s where he draws his power from.

That’s why we need to live a repentant lifestyle. We need to be sure that there’s no sin clinging to our consciences.

That’s the devil’s strength. He can capitalize on any guilt or condemnation that you submit to. If you believe that there’s still residual sin or that you’re somehow unworthy of God’s grace, then he can interfere in your life.

Don’t play into the hands of death, sin, the law, and the devil. Keep your intimacy with the Lord pure by a habit of quick repentance. Then spend time with the Holy Spirit learning His voice.

Question: How has the devil tried to trip you up using death, sin, and the law?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Sin Needle

The Sin Needle

We’re continuing our journey through the book of Romans. In my last post, the key word was reconciliation. Reconciliation is all about relationship. And that’s what Paul is bringing us to as he continues forward.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…

Romans 5:12

It’s clear from Scripture that sin, a departure from God’s perfect way, entered the world system through one human being. Adam, by an act of his will, chose a wrong path.

However, it wasn’t just sin that came into the world. Death entered our realm through sin. Because of this, it came to all humans.

That phrase, came to all men, actually means pass through into or pierced. Think of sin as a hypodermic needle. This needle contains death and it injects each of us with its vile contents.

At creation, the human race was not capable of death. But Adam took the needle of sin and injected himself. Now that poison is being passed down from generation to generation.

It’s important at this point that we see a special grouping that has emerged. This is sin, death, and the world. These three are related to each other and we should keep them in mind as we study the next three chapters of Romans.

James gives us some insight into the sin problem.

…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

James 1:14-15

Many people ask how Adam and Eve could have ever been tricked. With all they saw and understood it should have been easy for them to see through the enemy’s arguments.

The key is found in this verse. It’s not a temptation unless it’s born out of desire. How did desire fit into the original sin?

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:6

The real question is; how long did it take for Satan to get Eve to the point where she desired it? Then once the desire for this forbidden act was within her, it didn’t take much to bring it to fruition.

This should be a warning to us. It will at least give us a “red light” to know that there’s something in our lives that needs to be dealt with.

Do you want something that you know you shouldn’t? Be warned that it’s the start of the downward spiral to sin and death. That’s when we need the power of the Holy Spirit within us to cleanse our hearts.

It’s this struggle between life and death that Paul will be addressing over the next few chapters of his letter. I consider it one of the most important teachings in Scripture. His revelation will keep us from a lot of frustration in our spiritual walk.

Remember, we may have been injected with death because of the sin of Adam. But, in Christ, we don’t have to stay in that condition. Stick with this teaching to see the rest of this beautiful work that the Lord has accomplished for us.

Question: How have you seen desire and temptation working together in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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A Matter of Life and Death

We find that there are many paradoxes in our Christian walk.  As we continue through Second Corinthians, Paul talks about one of these that are a part of the ministry.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12

This is one of those parts of the ministry that no one wants to talk about.  But it’s a vital part of being effective for Christ.

You’ll never understand how the life of Christ is working in you until you first understand His death.  Paul knew and embraced this truth.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

The true path to a powerful ministry is learning to carry the death of Christ within you.  What do I mean by that?  Do we walk around with a sad look on our face like some kind of spiritual Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh)?

Absolutely not!  The death of Christ is an inward realization.  We carry the death of Christ so that His life can be revealed in us.  Carrying His death, yet revealing His life – that’s one of the great paradoxes of ministry.

As believers, we love to focus our attention on Jesus and His resurrection.  The power that was revealed on that day sealed our redemption.  That truth is beyond question.

What we fail to realize sometimes, is that the resurrection is the Good News for those who are without Christ.  The cross, on the other hand, is Good News for the church.  Paul explained this in his first letter to the Corinthians.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

Without the resurrection, we couldn’t be saved.  But, without the cross, we couldn’t walk in the power of God.  We need both to be effective for Christ.

I once posted a series on the power of the cross.  To read it, click here.

Paul understood the value of carrying the death of Christ in his daily life.  It was the foundation for the power he walked in.  That’s what he’s referring to in the last line of the original passage we looked at above.

Please understand that he’s talking about himself and his ministry team.  It’s because they allow the death of Christ to do its work in them, that they can reveal the life of Christ to the church.  The Corinthian church is walking in the life of Christ because Paul and his team were obedient to the call to die to self.

We need a new revelation of the cross of Christ.  Then we’ll see the power that was manifest in the early church.

Question: What part does the cross of Christ play in your daily walk with God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Ministry of Life and Death

In my last post, I talked about the victory we have in Christ, even through our humanity.  Paul now goes on to talk about what this victory looks like his in ministry.

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?
2 Corinthians 2:15-16

The first thing that we need to understand is who Paul is talking about in this passage.  He’s referring to himself and his ministry team.  He tells us that their lives give off a spiritual fragrance.

Of course, this could also apply to any believer who’s walking in their calling.  Christians who are living for themselves don’t have this “aroma”.  That’s because the life of Christ is only evident in those who strive to live as Jesus did.

The apostle says that their lives create a spiritual atmosphere around them.  When people are near them, they pick up on the truths that are a part of Paul’s ministry.

Paul mentions two groups of people who his ministry affects.  He also tells us what the “fragrance” is that he’s giving off.

The two people groups have to do with the direction that they’re heading.  That’s how Paul describes them.  The first group is those who are heading toward salvation.  The second is those who are heading toward destruction.

The effect that the ministry has on these two groups may sound counter-intuitive at first.  But as we look closely at it, we’ll see what Paul means.

The first group is composed of people who are headed toward salvation.  Their desire is to see God’s completed work accomplished in their lives.  To those believers, Paul’s ministry is the aroma of death.

Why is that?  Simply put, it will take the death of self to see the resurrection power of Christ at work in you.  This all points back to something Paul wrote about in his first letter to this church.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

It’s the message of the cross, where our old self is crucified with Christ, that releases the power of God in our lives.  Those who are headed down the path to ruin and loss think that the message of the cross is foolishness.

However, Paul’s ministry also had an effect on those who were headed toward destruction.  That was the evangelistic side of his calling.  His goal was to bring light and life to those who are in darkness and sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

This is the other side of ministry.  There has to be the call to receive Christ’s offer of salvation.  It’s a call to life.

As I look at the apostle’s ministry, and how he sees these two goals, I have to agree with his final assessment.  “Who is equal to such a task?”

In our own strength and intelligence, we’ll never be able to accomplish this great work.  But, I praise God for the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  It’s His work in us that makes us competent ministers of the grace of God.

Question: How do you see the “aroma” of life and death at work in your ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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