After a rough week, I was really, really looking forward to yesterday's worship service. I wasn't just looking forward to the sermon, or coming to the Table, but also singing and praising the Lord with His people. Looking over to where the musicians were playing for the service, it was so neat to see the young people my age blessing the church with their talents. They do every week, but yesterday it struck me. Our normal amazing pianist was out of town, so two friends filled in at the piano and then the usual three young adult violinists played as well. No parents were making them do this and it wasn't the young people doing the "cool" thing and being in a praise band or something. It was the next generation carrying on the vision and excitement for worship. I love it.
The sermon was excellent and it, as always, spoke directly to my heart. I went into worship feeling weary and trapped by my silly inability to overcome my sins. I couldn't put a finger on why or how I was this way, but in our discussion of Romans 6:7-10, I realized that no matter how I feel or how badly I screw up, the objective fact is that I'm free and, like I said in just my last post, sin has no dominion over me. Oh how quickly I forget.
We reviewed verse 6 again where Paul told us that we must know that our old man was crucified in Christ. It is a past act. As Christians, our old self in Adam died in Christ. Our new self rose with the Last Adam. 1 Corinthians 15: 56-57, "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Christ died having fulfilled the Law of God. In Him, so did we. This past act had an intended purpose-- that the body of sin might be destroyed. I shared about this last week-- how when we are saved, we are new creations and are released from the power of the flesh that is so sinful. The word translated "Destroyed" here means a cessation of something, but it is not annihilated. Satan was destroyed-- his power ceased-- but God did not annihilate him. The governing factor of sin has been destroyed in us. Praise the Lord.
Verse 6 also tells us that there is an intended result of Christ's death. "For he who died has been freed from sin". Free here is the term for justified. He uses the judicial term on purpose to emphasis that we are no longer legally answerable to sin; we have freedom from it. Our pastor shared the story of George Wyatt and Richard Pratt. "During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action. The authorities later sought again to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He died in the person of his representative. " (pasted from this website)
Wyatt died to the law in the person of Pratt and when the draft came again, the law was no threat to him because he had already died to it. The death penalty we deserve from not fulfilling the Law of God has already been served. Verse 8, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with Him." How can we know this for sure? How can we know that we won't be drafted again? Be assured of our salvation, even when we really mess up? There are two experiences which make newness of life possible:
1) His resurrection. Because of our union, we were raised with Him. We didn't feel that, but it happened. It's nothing we did. 2) His continual living. He's still living and reigning.
Thanks to chapter 5, we should know all this. Know that it's true, it's objective fact. More true than it is that water is wet and the sun rose this morning. Verse 11 Paul says, you know this, reckon it true in your lives! Believe it. Conclude it to be.
So often we want to feel saved. Feel our salvation. But Paul tells us three times in this chapter to know this. He is talking about something you settle in your head.
We have to remember that sanctification and justification go hand-in-hand. The Galatians tried to turn from their justification to focus on sanctification and Paul wrote to them saying, "No, that's relying on your works to save you!" It it is the power of salvation that saves us to the uttermost. When trying to be good, we often think, "If I sin in this way, God is really gonna punish me!" God often chastens us, but we will never receive a punishment from the Lord if we are His, because that penalty for our sin has been paid!
Our argument for turning from sin should instead be, "I died to that! It has no more power over me. I shall not succumb to it!" See the difference? So awesome.
My pastor got serious with illustrating this week :)-- he got out a white board for the sermon and drew us a picture, explaining the difference between objective fact and subjective reality:
Imagine you are taken prisoner and led into this cave. Guards are placed at the entrance of the cave (red X's. ;) and as you pass, your captors tell them that if they so much as see you, they are to shoot you dead, no mercy. You head farther into the cave, where another two sets of guards are and they are told the same thing. They shackle you (the little blue doodle) to the back wall of the cave and there you are to spend your life.
One day, Rambo comes waltzing into the cave and unchains you. He says, "I have freed you- you are mine, and I am with you." He tells you that he has killed the guards and you may leave now. The objective fact is that he has taken care of the those who kept you captive, but the subjective reality is that you are still a prisoner until you walk out of that cave. He says the guards are dead-- how can you be sure? You could die if they see you. What will it take for you to be totally comfortable and know this freedom totally? Sure, he could have drug the dead bodies in front of you. We can't see with our eyes the objective fact of the gospel. You have to walk by faith, not by sight. Must believe what we are told. Know it (Rambo says so), reckon it, and walk in faith. This faith is the subjective reality.
It is the same gospel that sanctifies us today as the one that saved us when we were unsaved. We need it as much today as we ever did. I've gotta preach this to myself, girls. One day I will see Christ who has done all of this for me. I need to walk accordingly and reckon this objective fact as reality in my life. I can stand in liberty from sin because Christ has set me free.
My sister suggested that I post my casual outfit from yesterday since I have been doing mostly church outfits lately. Unfortunately I had an enormous headache that had me not wanting to get up and I waited until late in the day to take pictures, which is why they're so grainy and dark. It was also rainy and I had an audience (friends who were over) so I didn't work real hard to get fabulous photos. ;p
Shirt: Made by me
Skirt: Thrift store $5
Tank: F21 $1.90
Boots: Nashville Boot store $150+