There are a couple ideas in the church today that are seated with good intentions, but every time I hear them, I cringe. One is this idea that I’m just a lowly sinner saved by grace destined to sin the rest of my life and the only thing I have to look forward to is the pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye. Miserable sinner. Stuck sinning the rest of my life. Everything will get better when I get to heaven. Then on the other side of the spectrum there is this idea that instead of being a slave to sin, I’m going to be a slave to Christ. Neither of these ideas is an accurate description of who Jesus made you.
I’m really not sure where these ideas came from. I read my Bible and I hear over and over again Paul calling us “Saints.” I am not a sinner. I am a SAINT! Every letter he wrote to the church he greeted them with salutations that affirmed this spiritual reality. If you don’t believe me, see Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 1:2, Ephesians 1:1, Phillippians 1:1 and I could go on and on.
If we were all lowly sinners saved by grace, Pauls salutations would sound a lot different! “To the church in Rome, you wretched sinners who can’t do anything right.”
Read Romans 6. It’s all a matter of perspective.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? But no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certianly also be united with him in a reurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with that we could no longer be salves to sin-– because anyone who has died has been set free from sin! Romans 6:1-7 (emphasis added)
It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. We are no longer slaves to sin. This means we do not have to be in bondage to sin. Perspective. Did you notice too that Paul says, “we too may live a new life?” Meaning, we, as new creations are not subject to the old life of sin.
I know I know. So why do we sin if we don’t have to. That’s more than I can cover in this blog. Read Romans 7. Paul explains it. And if you want a great book on identity in Christ and how to practicially live it out in daily life, check out Lifetime Guarentee by Bill Gillham or head over to www.lifetime.org and check out their resources.
Again. It’s all about perspective. If we walk around saying we are going to screw up, we are right. We are going to screw up. But if I walk around knowing what Christ did in me and understanding what this means about who and whose I am, it’s a differnt ball game folks. Suddenly I am overcoming temptation because I know that’s not who I am.
Romans 6:11 says, “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to Christ.” In the KJV they use the word “reckon”. In the Greek this work literally means, “conclude”. It’s rooted in the same word for conclusion. A conclusion is the end result. So even though we still struggle with sin in our mortal bodies, Paul is telling us the conclusion is we are not sinners and we should not think of ourselves as such. Instead we are alive in Christ.
Another idea with this word in the Greek is to “take inventory.” Have you ever had to do inventory? As a child, I had to help with parts inventory every year. Rows and rows of nuts, bolts, gaskets and various little parts that make a tractor run. We did this counting system every year. My parents made me help to look at everything in stock and count to see how many we had of each item. You did this so you would know exactly what you had and could use it when you needed it. I believe Paul is saying, “Believer, do the inventory of your life. You are no longer a slave to sin. The spiritual reality trumps any physical reality in your life. So even though sin still happens, you are not a sinner.”
If Superman who is the man of steel suddenly got a splinter in his finger, does he suddenly become the “man of wood”? No way! His identity and who he is is not determined by the one small thing that afflicts him. If suddenly it was a log instead of a splinter, he would still be the “man of steel.” Same with you Believer! You are a SAINT! Even when a splinter of a sin or a log of a sin is in your life. Do your inventory. Who did Jesus make you?
Have you ever been forced into a situation that just wasn’t you? It made you feel really uncomfortable and you would do anything you could to get out of it? In college I took an acting ensemble class where we had to do a monologue. I’m not an actor. I hated every minute of it and I tried my best to get out of it. To avoid it. This is how we react to sin when we understand who Christ has made us “in him.” We are no longer a slave to sin. We are a saint free from sin. So when we are in situations where sin is around, it makes us uncomfortable and we will naturally do anything possible to get away from it. Becuase we are not sinners, sin makes us uncomfortable. It’s not who we are! Like I did with that horrible monologue. By the way, if anyone is wondering I did Eliza Doolittle’s speech to Henry Higgins at the end of the play and I butchered it. Needless to say I did not pack up and move to Broadway.
I think somewhere in history in an attempt to steer so far away from sin swung over to the other side of the spectrum. They started saying, “I’m no longer a slave to sin. I am a slave to Christ!” Entire camps were set up on this idea. How to be more of a slave to Christ. Ugh!
John 15 is part of my favorite passages of the Bible. In John 14-17, Jesus spends his last moments with his disciples bestowing to them all the last things they need to know. Pouring out his hear to them and teaching some amazing Kindgom principles,
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Do you see that? Jesus says he no longer calls you slaves. Now, if Jesus doesn’t call you a slave, then I guess you shouldn’t call yourself a slave either. And we probably shouldn’t strive to be a slave to Christ, either!? Instead, what are you? A friend. We should rest in that. Being a friend of God. Beautiful.
1 John 3:1 says you are a “child of God” We are, Believer, children of God.
What’s the difference? A slave only knows what to do. They don’t know why they are doing it. A slave’s highest level of life is just to blindly obey the master. It’s a mindless and affectionless obedience. Friends and children, on the other hand, obey because they love. There is affection. Relationship. Even as an adult, I want to obey my parents because I love them.
So Beloved, you are not a slave to sin. Nor are you a slave to Christ. You are a saint. A transformed, powerful and free SAINT. A new creation. A friend of God. A child of God. Chosen by God and complete in Christ. Click here for more on who you are in Christ!
So don’t live as a slave today. Neither live as a slave to Christ. Instead, live as a child of God who knows the master’s business and is free from sin. Glory!
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