Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Are we REALLY pure?

“Nonbelievers are spiritually harnessed to the power of sin. As a horse is led by reins, nonbelievers are controlled by the reign of sin. When a person comes to Christ, their old self, which was controlled by sin, dies through the work of the cross. A new self is raised through resurrection in Christ. If we’re in Christ, we don’t have to submit to sin any longer. We’re free to choose expressions of life instead of always expressing sin and death: We know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with [made powerless], that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6 – 7

“Paul goes on to urge us to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:11). Some English translations use the term reckon here: “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (NKJV). Whether one prefers reckon or count or consider, it makes little difference as long as we realize that our reckoning is not what causes this to become reality. Instead of our “making it a reality,” we’re invited to bank on the fact that our death to sin is already real.

“Some would put the burden on Christians to believe hard enough in order to make our death to sin a reality. This isn’t the meaning of reckon or count or consider. These words mean “to rely on the fact” that you’re dead to sin because God has already said it is so (and it is so!): “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

“Here we’re invited to live in reality. If we’re living under the assumption that sin is the most natural thing for us, then we’re being deluded. We’re different from the way we were before. We’re now alive to God, and we must come to grips with an essential truth: It is more normal, more fitting, and more like us to display the fruit of the Spirit than it is for us to display sin!”—The Naked Gospel, pages 125-126

<idle musing>
Hmmm....doesn't that sound like Christianity 101? Then why don't we let it happen? Farley takes that up, too:
</idle musing>

"“...we use terms such as positional truth and heavenly bookkeeping. We say we’re forgiven and cleansed “in God’s eyes.” But then we claim that Christ’s death does not translate into “once for all” forgiveness in the here and now. Perhaps it just feels too easy: “You mean I don’t have to do anything? That doesn’t sound right.” Our human pride won’t allow us to enjoy that kind of grace.

“Some exhort believers to do something, such as asking for forgiveness, to impel God so that he will actually forgive and cleanse them. This certainly satisfies us; there’s nothing like a daily list of sins to pore over to relieve us from guilt.

“Some claim a procedure is necessary to “appropriate” or “activate” forgiveness. They say we must “keep short accounts” of our sins and ask God to forgive and cleanse us in order to “make it real in our own experience.” But didn’t God announce that only one thing — blood — brings forgiveness and cleansing?

'Without realizing it, we end up believing that Christ’s blood has real effects only for heaven. If we want to maintain a cleansed state before God here on earth, we begin to think it comes through a work that we initiate through remembering, confessing, asking, and claiming. Ultimately, it becomes our responsibility to make the cross carry real benefits in the present.

“In adopting this fine-sounding belief system, we fail to recognize that the cross is a historical event. Its effects are already accomplished, no matter what we believe or claim. We don’t initiate forgiveness, because we cannot. Only blood brings forgiveness. Our acts of remembrance, confession, asking forgiveness, and claiming — whether done with good intentions or not — don’t cause more blood to be shed.”—The Naked Gospel, pages 135-136

<idle musing>
Yep, Christianity 101.
</idle musing>

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