4/24/10

The Law of Sin

I have mentioned many times that I started this blog for one reason - to provide a place for others and myself to renew our faith. I have been a Christian for a long time.  Since I was eight, I think. Isn't that the age you are supposed to say? If being a Christian were determined by life decisions, no one could say I was a believer in my early years of college. Even toward the end of college, I was just starting to explore Christianity in depth.

At Ouachita Baptist University, I was surrounded by Christians. It wasn't until I came to law school that I realized that we are constantly moving toward or away from God. There is no stand still. And I knew that if I was going to get through what I had heard were the toughest years spiritually for a Christian, I'd better lean into God.

I don't say this to brag about my decision to search for God's practical truths. I say it because I have to. This decision to seek daily guidance from God is a necessity to strengthen your relationship with him. I worry so much about sounding preachy in my posts. I have found that when you write about faith and share it with your friends and family, who know you and your weaknesses, they may feel like they are being talked down to. I'm sorry if I ever come across this way. But I have to communicate this because I want this feeling for everyone.

So let's get back to this idea of either moving toward or away from God. Each time we sin, we are moving away from God. Each day that we do not talk to God through prayer, we take a step back from him. And each day that we do not seek out his truth by reading scripture, we are searching for something other than his truth - whether we realize it or not. If I don't spend time with God through prayer and scripture reading, I am looking for truth in magazine covers at the grocery store, atheist professors who subtly insert their worldview into their teachings, commercials, billboards, selfish desires, etc.

The world is more than willing to warp your thought process through subtle but continuous temptations and false information. These continuous opportunities to distance ourselves from Christ is called the law of sin. Like gravity, it is a pull toward sin and separation from God. And the more we are controlled by it, the stronger the force it has on our lives. The law of sin provides no peace, no forgiveness, only condemnation.

Look at what Paul says about this law of sin: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. . . You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature (law of sin) but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. (Rom. 8:1,2; 9).

Notice how Paul distinguishes between the law of sin and the law of the Spirit of life. He says that if  the Spirit of God does not live in us, then we are controlled by the sinful nature. How does that look in our world? If we do not seek closeness with God and his wisdom everyday, he will not live in us. Because we have basically rejected him and have chosen to submit to the law of sin.

The great thing about the law of the Spirit of life is that, in only one way, it is similar to the law of sin. Just as the law of sin pulls you and grows stronger and stronger the more you submit to it, the law of the Spirit of life becomes stronger and stronger each time you seek out God. So, each day that you read your bible and each time you talk to God, you are strengthening the force of the Spirit of life. It is literally pulling you back to God and away from sin. That is why Paul then tells us that "we have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (Rom. 8:12,13).

There are so many questions and ideas that aren't addressed by this post. What if I mess up one day? How far does that separate me from God? What if I have lived so long under the law of sin that I can't feel the tug of the law of the Spirit?

I'm interested to hear how you would answer some of these questions. What practical ways have you found to strengthen your relationship with God? Nothing I say in these posts will make you closer to God. All I have are my experiences. What are yours?

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