Category Archives: Dan’s Blog

It’s Not About What I Do

“If I have truly died to sin, why do I still feel so alive to it?” This really is mysterious! Don’t think you’re alone here. It’s not an uncommon question by any stretch of the imagination. “Just what did happen to me when I became that new creature in Christ? What’s this life all about?” The answer lies in the fact that it’s not about what we do or don’t do. Rather, it’s about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done.
        No, this doesn’t relieve us of all personal responsibility. Of course not! It does mean, though, that the foundation for our relationship with God has been laid by Him alone, not by anything we can do in and of ourselves. “Oh, I believe that,” you might say—but do you really? Do you really believe that your relationship with God isn’t somehow rooted in trying to be good?

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Choosing God’s Best

Jeremiah proclaims, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Have you chosen God’s path? Great! But there’s a fork in the trail which demands another decision. One choice results in a leisurely walk along a gently flowing stream. The other takes you straight up into the high country.
        The easy path is pleasant and needs little attention. The higher road is rigorous and requires time, perseverance and vigilance. Attention to the map is crucial. The temptation is always there to choose the meandering path along the river. But God’s way is so much better! Those who take it experience vistas that are impossible without His direction—not to mention exceptionally rich eternal rewards. Paul says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Sin: a Symptom of Disease Within

It’s pretty common to think about sin merely as a response by our flesh to some outside stimulus. “I wanted it, so I did it!” But in reality sin is a symptom of a much more serious disease within. Sin is a barometer of the heart. It’s more than just actions; it’s rooted in our attitudes, intentions and motives.
        In thinking that sin stems primarily from our physical body, we’re led to treat the symptoms rather than focusing on the true source of the problem. Sin is a heart problem rooted within the soul, so we need to start there. We know that our soul cannot change until it is influenced by a healthy spirit. And nothing happens until our spirit is first empowered by the life of God. But when it is, the soul, mind and body are all pushed automatically toward God’s purpose. This is the answer to the weakness of the flesh.

Our Body of Sin Done Away With!

We deserved death for our sins. But Jesus was willing to go to the cross in our place. We pretty much understand the significance of His sacrifice. But Romans 6:6 tells us a whole lot more: “our old self was crucified with Him so that our body of sin might be done away with, that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
        When Paul says that we are freed from sin, he uses a word meaning justified or made righteous. It can literally be translated: “For he who has died is acquitted from sin.” We all know what happens when someone is acquitted in a trial—he’s found not guilty! This is exactly what God did as Jesus took penalty for sin off our shoulders and laid it upon Himself. And because of it, our experience God’s life consists of a great deal more than merely maintaining sinless behavior now that we’re saved.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Joined to Christ

Romans 6:4 says that baptism symbolizes our burial with Jesus—a sharing in Christ’s death in a way that allows us also to share in His resurrection life. It’s why we can now live life in a brand new way. When we are born again, we become connected to Jesus in such a way that we are actually joined to Him. And having become united with Him, we now enjoy all the benefits accomplished on the cross—just as if we had suffered the punishment of death ourselves. Baptism is a powerful symbol of that reality—joined to Christ, both in His death and in His resurrection.
        The punishment for sin is separation from God—spiritual death. But when Jesus died on that cross, He became the appeasing sacrifice for our sins. He actually stepped in and substituted Himself in our place. Jesus suffered the agony of separation from His Father so that we don’t have to.

Fulfillment Through Suffering

Psalm 84 declares: “The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Paul goes even a step further: “God causes all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
        So what is God up to when everything seems to be going haywire in life? As difficult as it may be to believe, He’s up to good. God sees the big pig picture. He knows what you truly need. He allows suffering in your life so that you might grow into the child of God He designed from the very beginning—a person bent on pursuing Him with all your heart rather than chasing your own desires. Jesus came that we might be conformed to His very own image. We are His children, and we need His discipline to experience His finest.

Dealing with Sin in a Whole New Way

What is sin? I’ve often heard sin defined as missing the mark, as if one were missing a target he is aiming at. Those whose lives are centered on sin not only offend God, but utterly miss the precious gift of His eternal purpose. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness. And It makes perfectly clear what the sins of the flesh are—often warning that those corrupted by a lifestyle of sin have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
        But we see in Scripture conflicting opinions about what causes sin, and thus its remedy. The Jewish leaders viewed sin as being the product of a person’s outward behavior. So they attempted to manage sin through a system of rules which grew more and more burdensome as time went by. Jesus, on the other hand, realized that sin is rooted in man’s heart. God was about to deal with the problem of sin in a whole new way.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Dead to Sin? Not Feelin’ It!

God has provided the remedy for all our sin—past, present and future. But even so, it’s obvious that He intends for us to be holy, and thus commands us not to sin. So how is it that He can overlook the sin that so easily flows from our nature?
        Even though we know that through grace God forgives our sin, we need a better understanding of Christ’s provision. It’s important, because a complete awareness of both our human condition and how we now relate to our Creator is the key to walking in the total freedom God always meant for us to experience.
        God forgives our sin through Christ as a free gift. Yet even more important to understand is that this free gift of forgiveness and righteousness is rooted in the fact that He has caused us to die to sin altogether. But just exactly what does dying to sin mean? I don’t feel very dead to sin!

In the Spirit, not the Flesh

The Bible says that God’s law obligates us to obey it completely. But God knows there is no way that we can do that. And since the punishment for failing to obey is separation from God, He had to provide a way to overcome this barrier. God’s solution was to simply release us from the requirements of the law. Freedom from law means that punishment for breaking it is no longer charged against us.
In Christ we are no longer subject to the realm of the flesh, even though our flesh continues to oppress us. Romans 8 says: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Unbelievable as it may seem: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Moral Awareness at Our Core

Scripture tells us that God is righteous. We commonly define righteousness as being in right standing with God. But what does it mean for God to be righteous? It would be silly to think that He achieved a moral excellence that allowed Him to be good enough to be God. No, God doesn’t need to meet a standard of righteousness; He is that standard. God’s righteousness means that He is by nature the essence of all that is good and just.
        Now since God’s righteousness is the benchmark by which He will ultimately judge the world, He had to provide mankind with the means to relate to His perfection. He revealed that standard through law. Law gives us our sense of right and wrong—a moral awareness at the very core of our being. This is why a good understanding of biblical law is so important. It helps us appreciate God’s amazing provision for our own righteousness.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself