Friday, September 7, 2007

The Law of Sin and Death

A relative and I were having a fascinating discussion about sin. He made a statement that rang very true to me. "So many Christians are obsessed with sin". For a long while, since reading other posts and forums about sin, I've been dwelling upon and studying about that matter. Although I've been compelled to analyze the subject by post, I haven't felt prepared to do so. As you all know, I'm experiencing a trial that proves to be a continuous battle for my faith. It has been a trial which continues to manifest the truth of Scripture, the Word of God, to my soul. It is during hard times such as these when the Glory of God is a sight to behold. And His goodness, a pleasant taste!

"O taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

Why do we obsess with sin? Either of our own or those of fellow Christians? Has Christ not set us free from the law of sin and death?

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" -- Romans 8:2

What is the law of sin and death? After creating Adam, the LORD God gave a decree.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. -- Genesis 2:16-17

This command from the Creator of all things, was simple and straightforward. Do not eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (law), if you do (sin), expect death (death).

We know what death is, but what exactly is this sin we are freed from? It is extremely important to note and differentiate these facts: Sin described singularly, as a single sin, and sin described as multiple; sins, sinful or sin-laden. Throughout the reading of scripture, the plurality of sin typically convey behaviors and/or attitudes that indicate the existence of sin in a person.

Christ, our Savior from this very sin, defines it in John 16:7-11. In speaking of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of Truth and the convictions it places upon the world, he says this:

"Of sin, because they believe not on me"--verse 9

I know there are many who would disagree with the description of sin in this passage. To those people I have this point, I would expect my High Priest, who had laid down His life to suffer beatings and humiliation, to know exactly what He has freed us from! If Christ, the Head of the Church (spiritual)describes sin as unbelief, why would this definition be insufficient? It makes complete sense to see sin as unbelief, when taken in consideration the way to salvation is....what's that again? BELIEF!!! Too many of us desire to place the essence of sin in a physical context, like the rest of religious Christian traditions. We prefer to place sin in a format that is tangible, in hopes that it can be "manageable" of our own accord!

Moving forward, the next obvious question what is belief? Let me tell you what ISN'T belief, I should say, what isn't saving belief. Merely believing in the existence of Christ as the Son of the living God is NOT (saving) belief. The chapters of Hebrews 3 and 4 has the perfect example of unbelief. In the desert, with Moses, the Israelites saw the work of God first hand and STILL did not believe.

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God --Hebrews 3:8-12

What a powerful, undeniable description of unbelief! What is so amazing to me is semantic of the word "evil". We (humans) typically view evil in a physical context. But God view evil as unbelief, intangible. What then is the opposite of that description? Simply

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. --Matthew 15:22-28

This woman knew who Jesus was and declared His foretold lineage "O Lord, thou son of David". When Christ ignored her and turned her away...twice, she sought earnestly after Him, in hopes of a fragment of His mercy! Not only that, she worshipped Him!

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." --Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the result of (saving) belief, which is our hope and trust in Him. Faith is the earnest expectation of His promises. Faith is the "follow-through" of His commands. Faith is a verb! It is not something we feel, but something we do! It is the very essence of things in which we hope for (His promises)! Faith is the EVIDENCE of unseen things (our belief)!

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" --James 2:18


Why then do so many of us obsess about tangibles of sin? If Christ has made us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), why is our focus on the physicality of behavior and not the spirituality of our hearts?

Conceptually, wouldn't this be "straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel"? Matthew 23:24 How do we get rid of the weeds in our gardens if we do not pull them up by the roots? If we simply cut away at the stems, they are guaranteed to grow again, if not bigger and larger than ever before.

"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man" -- Matthew 15:17-20


Through our faith, we have the earnest expectation that the slightest morsel of mercy, strength, and grace is our victory over the evils of unbelief!

"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." --1 Corinthians 15:56-58

May grace and peace be upon your household.

"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he who believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:5