Living Free in Christ pt. 2

Romans 6:10-14
Preached @ Harambee Church by Pastor Mike Gunn on April 15th, 2007

“…by making life easier for ourselves in minimizing the nature and seriousness of our sin, we become greater victims of it. We are in fact not healing ourselves. Those who say that they already feel bad enough without being told about the corruptions of indwelling sin misread the path to peace. When our people have not been taught well about the real nature of sin and how it works and how to put it to death, most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease, but it’s symptoms.
John Piper

Intro
What does our faith have to do with our lives? Aren’t we saved by grace? Hasn’t God done it all? What does it matter whether we live a life that is pleasing to Him or not? Doesn’t He accept me for who I am? Isn’t my sin irrelevant in the shade of God’s grace? This is the question that Paul rhetorically asks and answers in Romans chapters 6-8. In our passage today, he restates the question and continues his assault on this poor, but common thinking. Ephesians 2:8-10 can help us understand this reality of our walk with God, and what the new birth means to us. Once again, I want to make sure we know what we mean and don’t mean by words like good works, holiness, obedience, righteousness and grace.

What We Don’t Mean
1. That you can live in perfect victory over sin on this earth
2. That cleaning up your life is the clear path to God
3. That sin is always manifested outwardly
4. That you can overcome sin without God
5. That holiness or righteousness is something you work harder for

What We Hope to Say
1. Sin is far worse than its symptoms
2. Our Motivation and power to transform comes from God alone
3. That we have been freed from the oppression and power of sin in our lives, but the presence of sin remains in reality in our “Flesh”
4. That there is no condemnation for sin in Christ Jesus, and we are freed to love God and others without being motivated by guilt or need.
5. That the resurrection is the single greatest event in human history, and the backbone for the Christian faith

From the Head…
A Recap and Review (Romans 6:15-16)
We are not to be enslaved to sin any longer because we have changed masters. Before our desires (Epithumia, Romans 6:12) were centered on ourselves and not on Christ. Self-centeredness leads to death in this life, and the life to come! Note the contrast here is between death and righteousness (Verse 16)? The righteousness we gain is not our own (Romans 1:17; 10:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We are delivered from the cycle of trying to gain our own righteousness, which only leads to death.

Our New Identity’s New Process (Romans 6:17-19)
Paul reminds the Romans that they can thank God for delivering them from their old self, and changing their hearts so that they could hear the “teaching” (The gospel) which compels them towards sanctification (Holiness). God is the one who has given us this new identity, and this new righteousness. It is because of this that we would obey Him out of gratitude, from the heart, and not under compulsion, or desire to get better, or to please Him more.

The Result of Our New Identity (Romans 6:20-23)
The result of our new identity is life! Sin brings forth shame and hurt, and lacks fulfillment and joy. Living a life for ourselves only leads to spiritual death, but when we place our faith in Christ, we begin a journey toward wholeness (Hagiasmos, Sanctification), and finally eternal life (Knowing God fully; John 17:3). Paul ends this passage reminding us that our deaths are earned, and that God is wholly righteous in executing our judgment, but that our life is secured by God’s grace, and is not earned at all. This is what makes it grace, but not a cheap grace to be stomped on, but a grace that only leads to thankfulness, and gratitude!

…to the Heart
Holiness is truly an issue of the heart. It would be easy to judge a person’s “Good works” and say that person is a righteous person, but their heart is far from God. The fact is, many godless people are very “Nice” people outwardly. It is easy for us to judge the flesh, whereas God judges the heart of men, who has substituted God for themselves. What does it take to push the “nice” person to the brink of their “true” self? We are all sinful and fall short of the glory of God, and in need of His grace in order to experience life in this life and beyond the grave. Sin is not just an action, but an attitude of the heart.

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