About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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From Sin To Glory  


Jesus suffered an insanely humiliating and excruciating execution on our behalf.  Despite the fact that as Christians we still struggle with sin, and despite the fact that God still sees our sin, we stand before the Eternal Judge guilt free and innocent.  Our names have been deleted from the books of the guilty and have been transferred into the book of the innocent, otherwise known as the Lamb's Book of Life.  Let us be clear.  God still sees our sin.  What He does not see is the designation of guilty sinner that once doomed us to death row. 


I am pathetically inept to properly express my appreciation to our Lord Jesus Christ for delivering me from eternal torture in the Lake of Fire.  When I stand before Him and my good works are judged (1 Corinthians 3:13), I envision myself shriveling up into a ball beneath His feet.  I'll be speechless.  My only defense will be His blood.  Then, an incredible feeling of humiliation and gratitude will overwhelm me as He takes my hand, lifts me from the floor, and embraces me with a hug that's beyond my present ability to even begin to  imagine.  


The Apostle Paul explained all of this in the first five chapters of Romans.  He then added that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20).  In other words, there is sufficient grace for the worst of sinners.  This leads to the obvious questions that Paul anticipated his critics asking.  "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase (Romans 6:1)?"  "Shall we go on sinning because we are not under the Law but under grace (Romans 6:15)?"  His answer was a resounding "by no means" (Romans 6:2 and 15).


Paul defended his "by no means" answer with the following words.  "When you offer yourselves to someone to obey as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey   Though you used to be slaves to sin you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:17 - 18)."  Paul echoed Jesus' words by saying you can't serve two masters, as in sin and righteousness.


We don't serve sin because Paul said that we've been set free from being slaves of sin.  We're now slaves of righteousness.  That being said, he spent the rest of Romans 5 through 7 discussing the fact that Christians still struggle with sin.  This is not as confusing as it may sound.  There's a huge difference between struggling with sin and being a slave of sin.  For this reason we don't want to sin because more grace will be given us.    


People have varying definitions of sin.  Mine is quite broad.  It's based on Romans 14:23 where Paul said that anything done apart from faith is sin.  For me, sin encompasses much more than disobeying the Ten Commandments, as I believe how many Evangelicals defined sin in times past.  Romans 14:23 tells me that in one form or another, Christians sin every day, and, when we willfully sin, we not only take advantage of God's grace, we abuse His grace. 


After discussing our struggle with sin Paul introduced the Holy Spirit into the discussion.  He went as far to say that "if anyone does not have the Holy Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to God (Romans 8:9)."  This is one vitally important, but often overlooked, statement.  If you stop to think about what Paul said here, you might conclude, as I do, that not all who sit in a Sunday morning pew are legitimate Christians.            


God has proclaimed the believer to be guilt free and innocent.  One reason for this declaration is so the Holy Spirit can live within us and help fight our struggle with sin.  Fighting sin should be an ever-present battle we face.  If we don't struggle with sin we've either stopped sinning, which I doubt is the case, or, we've given into sin, which is more likely to be the case.   


I close with the words of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 2:18.  "We, with unveiled faces reflect the Lord's glory, and are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  It should be our expectation to win one battle with sin after another in the process of becoming like our Lord Jesus Christ in an ever-increasing state of glory.  Is this your honest expectation in life? 

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