Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sin - The Ongoing Struggle

Romans so far:  Bad News = all sinned and are separated from God
                        Good News = forgiveness and reconciliation is available in Christ

in Chapter 7 - And STILL talking about SIN!!
Why so much about Sin??   Answer:  SIN is THE Problem!!
The problems in our life is ultimately the result of SIN.

so... Sin:
I)  Definition = (1)  any violation of God's law(s) - (missing the mark)
                      (2)  any lack of conformity to God's law(s)
Actions AND attitudes!

PLUS:  II)  (last week) Sin is more than rules, pushing boundaries, violations
SIN = a presence/energy/sinister force  (Chapter 6)
NOT alive, NOT a personality, BUT with personal traits!! - persistent, persuasive, demanding, coercive
Are not talking about Satan and demons

Last week  "Battling Sin" - (Chapter 6)
(1)  you are dead to sin - (not obligated to respond to it)
(2)  you are a new creature - example:  Born Again - are different, new heart
(3)  you have a new master - "Lord Jesus Christ"

BUT Sin is not dead to you!!!  will continue to harass and seek to dominate!!

Therefore:  you must "Reckon" yourself  dead to sin, alive to Christ
(example:  mathematical term - "count", tally, calculate)

On one hand, the Victory (over sin) IS Certain (but not yet).   (secured by Christ on the cross)
On the other hand, the Struggle Continues  (ongoing)

Rom. 7:15-25 - (read and see if you recognize yourself!!)   Sound familiar?  Recognize 'self? - Recognize your adversary??

Some things to recognize , anticipate, understand, and to Utilize in this struggle:

(1)  A knowledge of right and wrong (that there IS a right and wrong)
Doesn't mean we know all, always
Rather = we usually know - by means of....
    (A) inherent knowledge - conscience  everybody has one but it has been marred by sin.
    (B)  revealed knowledge - the Word and the Holy Spirit
    (C)  acquired knowledge - experience   Example:  Adam and Eve - got a new understanding when they sinned)

With that knowledge comes  (particularly for the Christian) -
(2)  A desire to do good (right)
on one hand, this is not exclusive to believers!  all = "in His image"
However, with the new birth comes renewed mind, heart, affections

AND... (3)  The presence of Evil  (Rom. 7:21)
On one hand this = a real and powerful presence  Compare  Gen. 4:6-7
However, it is NOT dualism!  Example:  Star Wars "FORCE" vs Dark Side

(4)  Feelings of guilt
On one hand is GOOD (IF) you are guilty!!
                                    (IF) it leads to "Contrition" - Isa. 57:15-19
(Contrition = being sorry for your sin itself, not that you got caught.)
IF Guilt leads to Contrition and that leads to confession which leads to repentance leading to correction = GOOD!!!

However, IF guilt leads to feelings of despair, worthlessness, etc.??  Sin will use this to beat you down and make you useless in the kingdom.
Christ did not come to crush and destroy you!!!
Example:  contrast Peter and Judas Iscariot.  Peter repented and turned.  Judas went out and hanged himself.

Note, Observation:
The Closer to Christ you are, the more AWARE of and Sensitive to sin you become!!
Which will lead to:
(5) Mental (and spiritual) Distress - Rom. 7:24
OBJECTION:  I thought "Fruit of the Spirit" - PEACE!!!
There should be a healthy balance and healthy concern.
"healthy tension" leads to Matt. 5:3,4,6 - on one hand, "blessed", however distressed.
It's not all about "happy".

For the Christian this Distress should not lead to Despair!!!  (example:  never gonna get it right so why bother)
But to.....
(6)  HOPE - Rom. 7:25 with Rom. 8:1
In Greek this word = confidence in His Love, My standing, His Presence, the Ultimate, final Victory

1 Cor. 15:55 - "where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?"
We need to know that He's right here with us, to deliver us

When we sin, fail, fall.. you should (as a Christian)
(1)  confess - to yourself, to God, (to others if appropriate)
(2)  accept forgiveness (wallowing in grief will not help!!)
(3)  get up
(4) "Reckon" - add it us, not responding to that anymore
(5)  re-adjust
(6)  Press on...

(Words from Paul at the End of his ministry!) - Phil. 3:12-16 - already know, already have received

Closing Scripture:  1 John 1:9-10, 2:1-2

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