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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Thursday, November 02, 2006
Romans 6:7
ὁ γάρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας

for the person who has died has been freed from 'the sin'
- author's translation.

Note, it doesn't say the person who would like to be dead if it could happen pretty painlessly, and didn't require any effort on the part of the person. It simply states the fact - the one who is dead - that one is freed from 'the sin' - and the one who is not dead, is not free from 'the sin.'

This works both ways. If I find that I am not freed from sin, it is because I am not appropriating the truth of my death in Christ. If I am not appropriating it, it is because I:

[1] Don't really believe I am dead in Christ,
[2] Don't really want to be dead in Christ (i.e. I like sinning), or
[3] both

The thing about Christ is that He went willingly to the cross - and we must follow this example. God didn't drag an unwilling Christ to the cross - Christ surrendered Himself to the cross. If Christ hadn't have surrendered, they could not have crucified Him. It is no different with us. We must surrender our lives to God if we are to be free from sin's power.

There is no middle road - there is no freedom from sin's power in reading the bible, praying and going to church. There is no freedom from sin's power in ministry and missions. There is no freedom from sin's power in anything we do or say no matter how "christianized" the effort is so long as we do so while self is alive and well and in control. Don't get me wrong - It is good and proper for Christians to read the bible; it is -good- to pray - these things are the lifeblood of healthy Christianity - but they are not (in and of themselves) going to save you from sin's power. We remain enslaved to sin's power as long as we refuse the only solution God has provided for it - the cross.

Now here is the thing: God never intended for you to be a Christian in your own strength.

Do you get that? Not your own strength. The problem with a carnal Christian is he or she doesn't understand what it means to go to the cross, so he or she tries to live the Christian life in his or her own strength, and when he or she fails he or she simply tries harder next time - until he or she eventually get so used to failure that he or she resigns himself or herself to it and thereby dries up spiritually.

What does it mean to be dead? It means to be entirely surrendered to God - to have no claim on the control of what you do in your life, not in the grand scheme and not in the moment you find yourself in right now.

Currently the only thing stopping you from surrendering your all to God is the fact that you are continuing to act as though you were still in bondage to "the sin" or as I like to call it "the rebellion." You act this way because you have always acted this way.

You have been poured into the mould of the world, and over time you have hardened into the form of that mould. Now that the mould is broken you still hold its form because you have hardened yourself into that form. You never saw the mould in the first place, so when someone tells you that you are no longer in the mould you don't know what to do with that. You see your form, and find that it still conforms in many ways to its former self - and you say I am not free from the mould, it must not be true.

But it is true - you are free if you are in Christ, now you need deal not with the mould but with your own hardened estate. You are comfortable in your worldly form - and though you desire freedom in theory, you find that when push comes to shove you prefer to remain as you are - except for the nagging feeling that you will never be satisfied remaining as you are.

Now the cross starts to interest you. You want to be free from this shape you find yourself hardened into, and you know that the cross has something to do with being free. So you begin to try your best to "die" as it were. Moment by moment you make sure that you do your best to put down sin, and obey what is right. You try for as long as you are able.

And you fail.

And you fail.

And ... well, you get it. You fail. So you give up. But you try again, and fail again. Eventually you give up altogether.

Okay, now you are getting closer. Your failure begins to teach you that dying is not something you can make happen. Just as Christ didn't commit suicide, neither are you expected to. Your job is only to offer yourself, to surrender yourself - God does the rest. It isn't that you must obey obey obey - it is that you must surrender, surrender, surrender. God is the most important thing in your life, the Spirit inside you knows that - and whenever you act in a way that is contrary to that you feel it - you know it is wrong. Don't confuse surrender with obedience - no one who is surrendered will disobey - but simply obeying God is not the same as surrender.

The little girl is told to sit down, and she does, but she looks at you defiantly and says "I am still standing in my heart!" - the obedience was outward. Our obedience must be inward, and absolute.

Now, when we begin to surrender to God, God begins to soften that which is hardened - it took a long time to get this way - it may take a long time to lose the shape of the world. But ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you must do then wait.

Don't get all mystical and play ventriloquism games with yourself - you are not going to hear a voice - but if you ask the Holy Spirit to show you what has to go, He will show you - just be "listening" and when the opportunity comes to obey don't harden your heart in rebellion, but obey and trust that God is going to change you from glory to glory just like He promised. It may take months - but God will do it.

But God doesn't bring life to those who haven't gone to the cross and down into the grave. If you want to be raised in newness of life, you better submit yourself to the cross for only those who have died are freed from the sin.
posted by Daniel @ 6:57 AM  
  • At 8:32 PM, November 02, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, one thing about Romans 6 that I like is the fact that here we are declared positionally crucified with Christ. Not only are we crucified, but we are buried and risen with Him.

    Our old man, the flesh, has been nailed to that cross in the person of Jesus Christ, and now we can by the Spirit put to death the practices of the body.

    Would you not agree that taking up the cross has as its primary goal the putting to death of the flesh? A dead body cannot sin, and as we reckon it so we are set free from sin's power and dominion.

    Christ's shed blood is there to cleanse and wash us, making us able to stand in His presence where by His Spirit we can live pleasing to God.

    But there is no shortcut as you so pointedly mention here...the cross is where we must die.

    Praise the Lord death is not the end, but the beginning. May the Lord give us eyes to see the abundant life He promised by His Spirit.

  • At 7:23 AM, November 03, 2006, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Daniel, "But God doesn't bring life to those who haven't gone to the cross and down into the grave. If you want to be raised in newness of life, you better submit yourself to the cross for only those who have died are freed from the sin."

    Powerful thoughts.

  • At 7:31 AM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Would you not agree that taking up the cross has as its primary goal the putting to death of the flesh?

    I would say that taking up the cross has as its primary goal the receiving of the death on the cross. No one kills themselves, they simply offer themselves to the process.

    A novice water skier is told to keep their legs together, bend their knees like so, hold on, and lean back and to -stay- that way until the boat pulls them up and above the water.

    The same may get in the water and assume the position, the boat powers up and their face becomes a water plow, and they let go or they lean forward, or they stop doing what they are told and they don't get above the water. They must believe it will work and try again. Eventually if they assume the right "attitude" (position) they are pulled above the water and begin water skiing.

    The thing is, they don't water ski by running quickly above the water with skis on - no, they do not ski by their own power, the boat must pull them.

    It is the same with the cross. We don't crucify ourselves, God does that - our job is surrender.

    If we don't understand that, our language can confuse what we are saying. We will say that we must "put to death the deeds of the flesh" meaning that we no longer indulge our carnal appetite, but surrender to God in those moments. Not that this "-is-" crucifixion, this is surrender. As we do these things God sanctifies us a little. It isn't that the thing we are doing is the actual sanctification. Doing something doesn't change me, it just changes what I am doing - but when I assume the proper attitude, the power of God will begin to change me.

    So I think we agree, but I would not want to articulate it that way, not that it is "wrong" but that it can obfuscate or confuse the role of works in the process of sanctification - causes the works themselves to be mistaken for sanctification - as though our entire sanctification was a matter of breaking old habits and making better ones through the power of positive thinking.

  • At 7:40 AM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Mark - I think a lot of Christians haven't the first clue why their practical Christianity resembles every other "do good" world religion. They wonder why they have no real desire to see people come to Christ, to love God, etc. etc. They can polish the outside of the cup by cutting out all the public and obvious external sin - but they are helpless to deal with anger, spite, strife, jealousy, lovelessness, etc. They know they are supposed to love but they don't - so they do crazy things like redefine love as an "action" so that they can be "loving" etc. They go about like Pharisees trying to produce what is supposed to be there, and in doing they show themselves deceived and even hypocrites.

    All of this because rather than surrender the rule of their life to God, they try to hold onto their sin and "listen as best they can" - a fence sitting formula that cannot work - God is light, and there is no darkness in Him - those who would fellowship with God cannot sit on the fence, because God won't meet them there - He will not become darkness in order to fellowship with those who hold in their heart some small room for rebellion and disobedience (sin) - no, they must come into the light as he is in the light - and anyone who imagines they are fellowshipping with God when they are holding onto their sin or making provision to disobey God somewhere else - the same are deceived. God does -not- walk in darkness, and will not fellowship with us there.

    The mistake many make is in trying to enter the light by doing good - when you can only enter by surrendering all.

  • At 8:56 AM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I guess it could be perceived that way as a self crucifixion. No we do not crucify ourselves but we must be willing to place our bodies on the cross so to speak. Even as Christ willing went to the cross.

    The hard part to grasp is that this needs to be a daily exercise. There is just no finality with the flesh until it lies in the grave.

  • At 10:04 AM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    In Romans 6:13, ("Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.") the same verb (βασιλευετω) is translated as "present" both times [ESV], but the tenses are different.

    The first use is in the present active imperative, and the second in the aorist active imperative (both are second person plurals). The difference is the first use carries the idea of not presenting your members moment by moment to injustice, but the second "present" is in the aorist, indicating a completed, "once and for all" sort of action - that is, present yourselves to God in an once and for all sort of way.

    It is a shame that English doesn't really carry the weight of the aorist in this verse because what we tend to do is we think of this verse as meaning that we should switch from presenting our members as instruments of sin, and begin "presenting" them instead as instruments of righteousness to God. It is a subtlety I will admit, but it is an important one. What is called for is not a momentary switcheroo, not some new way of presenting your members - but a once and for all decision.

  • At 12:02 PM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Amen Daniel.

  • At 10:27 PM, November 05, 2006, Blogger Frank Martens said…

    dude, how did you get the cool greek text?

  • At 8:08 AM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Frank - unicode for instance & #945; (no spaces) is an alpha (α)

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