< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Christ's Holiness Part 2

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christ's Holiness Part 2

Yesterday I posted about the holiness in Christ from a study I did on book The Pursuit of Holiness. Here's the rest of that thought.

Most Christians really do want to live a holy life, but simply believe they can’t do it. We settle into kind of a mediocre “goodness”, not living in gross sin, but still committing sins pretty much daily. And we find the strong commands of Scripture to live a consistently holy life – frustrating!

We try to stop a certain sin with our own willpower or by praying for it to stop. Then we hear things like, “let go and let God”. That we should just turn our sin over to Christ and rest in His finished work on Calvary. That He will then live His life in us and we’ll experience a life of victory over sin.

And after all our struggle, we like this idea! But after a while, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we discover we’re still losing the sin battle. We still struggle with pride, jealousy, materialism, impatience and lust. We still eat too much, waste our time, criticize each other, lie, etc… all the while hating ourselves for doing it.

Then we wonder why it doesn’t “work” for us! We think we’re unique. That somehow our sinful natures must be worse then others. The author says that Satan works to confuse us on the issue of what God has done for us and what we must do ourselves. And that we have to realize that God has indeed made provision for us to live a holy life, but He also has given us definite responsibilities.

Romans 6:12–14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Not allowing sin to reign in our mortal bodies is something we have to do. The experience of holiness is not a gift we receive like justification, but something which we are clearly told to work at.

Also, Paul started this verse with therefore, meaning it’s because of something he had just said, which was true. So lets look at (Romans 6:1-12)
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

The “therefore” refers back to the fact that we died to sin. What does he mean that we died to sin? Well first we see from these verses that our dying to sin is the result of our union with Christ. Because He died to sin, we died to sin. So that is something Christ has done. Dying to sin means it has no dominion over us. Before we trusted Jesus for our salvation, we were in the kingdom of Satan and sin. We followed the ways of this world.

Paul said in Romans 6:17 that we were slaves to sin.

Everyone who has ever lived, except Christ, was a slave to sin. But our union with Christ takes us out of Satan’s kingdom and into Christ’s kingdom. We used to live for ourselves, not Him. We didn’t want Him to be king of our lives.

Why do we still sin? Because even though we’ve moved to another kingdom, our sinful natures came with us! And they are powerful. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.

There’s a battle going on!

We also have strong, sinful habits. We’ll talk about this next time, but a lot of what we do is just habit. And we’ll spend the rest of our lives taking off these habits and putting on the habits of holiness. Through little (and big!) choices we make everyday.

Also we still live in a world that’s populated by slaves of sin. And the world tries to conform us to its own sinful mold. So though we’ve been delivered from the kingdom of sin and its rule we have not been delivered from its attacks.

That’s why Paul warns us to be on guard, to not let our still sinful nature take over. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are no longer slaves. We can stand up to sin and say no to it. As slaves we sinned without even thinking about it. As Christians we are free and make a choice to sin or not. God gave us the potential for resisting, but the responsibility for resisting is ours!

"Dear Lord, You are the true goal of our lives. In the varied business of this day let us never lose sight of You. Show us how to make each of our activities a stepping stone to You. If any chore or habit of ours leads in another direction, show us what it is and help us to remove it."

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