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Commentaries and pastoral letters regarding issues of the day.

bible.gif (3865 bytes)Welcome to The Pastor's Study. Here you will find Pastor Dick's periodic pastoral letters containing observations and teachings regarding not only doctrinal issues but also  social and philosophical issues of importance to Biblical Christians in today's rapidly changing world. We will be posting a new letter periodically, as the Lord leads, and will be offering the past messages in the archives linked below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on these issues also. Your input is important.

Volume 3, Issue 1

 

Greetings in the Name of Jesus!

Well, Easter is now well past. During the Easter season we all received messages of greetings, many of which included the exaltation that HE IS RISEN! Christ's resurrection is indeed the greatest event in all of history but, if we only acknowledge the truth of the event we miss the point. In accordance with that thought I'd like to ask the question,

HE IS RISEN! WHAT NOW?

THE WORD -

ROM 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
ROM 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
ROM 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
ROM 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
ROM 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
ROM 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
ROM 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
ROM 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
ROM 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
ROM 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
ROM 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ROM 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
ROM 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
ROM 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The Message -

I.    RESURRECTION POWER IS FOR NOW!

Paul writes of the resurrection

1CO 15:17 ...if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

and

1CO 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

These are powerful truths and we Praise God that Christ was indeed raised from the dead and that we shall be too. Amen?

That said, might I suggest that if the Resurrection is only for the future (the next life) then we are for this life lost, slaves to sin and "are of all men most [frustrated]."

Many today believe that the sole purpose of the Resurrection is to get us unto Heaven. This is like saying the Mona Lisa is a nice little picture.

The early Anabaptists had a greeting meant to remind one another of the true purpose of the Resurrection. When meeting they would simply ask, "Are you walking in the power of the Resurrection?" These 16th century saints understood that if the conversion was genuine then there MUST be a life change. They understood the "present life" power of the Resurrection.

  • Power over sin!

  • Power to live a Holy life before God.

II.    RESURRECTION POWER IS APPROPRIATED IN WATER BAPTISM AS A BELIEVER.

God's Word tells us that

ROM 6:4 ...we are buried with [Christ] by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

and

COL 2:12 Buried with [Christ] in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [Christ] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

It is through Water Baptism as a believer that we choose to die to our old life and to be buried with Christ, to be raised with him into the Power of His Resurrection. In this important act of submission in faith and obedience to Christ we receive, we appropriate to ourselves, the Holy Ghost Power to overcome "present" sin in our lives and to live holy before God.

III.    RESURRECTION POWER BREAKS THE HOLD OF PRESENT SIN.

In verse 6 Paul tells us that we are no longer "slaves to sin." and in verse 11 that we are "dead to sin" but "alive to God, in Christ."

While this sounds great, how do believers reconcile the teaching with personal struggles with various sin issues in our own lives?

In vs. 12 Paul instructs us to not "LET" sin reign in our lives. Simply put, for believers, sin is a choice.

Believers often struggle with present sin issues like

Smoking
Drunkenness
Divisiveness
Bickering
Gossip
Various addictions
Sexual immorality
Co-habitation
Divorce
Etc.

And in today's society we see that it is ever more common to find sin reclassified as "addictions" and/or "alternate lifestyles." We have substance/drug and alcohol addictions, sexual addictions, spending addictions and "you name it" addictions. While there are true physical and medical issues in some of these, the core problem for the believer is still our choice to sin.

We hear folks say, "I can't help myself" or, "it's in my nature" or how about "I was born like this." While this is true for non-Christians it is no longer true for those who possess the Power of Christ's Resurrection.

We are born with a sinful nature and without Christ we are indeed "slaves to sin." Like the slave that has no choice but to obey his/her master, the unsaved have no choice but to follow their slavemaster, their sinful nature, into sin. That all changes once we have Christ in our lives and the Holy Spirit indwelling our being. When we are saved and have appropriated the Power of the Resurrection (God's Grace) in our lives we receive the power to choose to turn from our sin and to live/walk in "newness of life." We can indeed then choose not to sin.

John Wesley sums it up well. In his commentary on Romans 6:14 where he writes.

Sin shall not have dominion over you - It has neither right nor power.

For ye are not under the law - A dispensation of terror and bondage, which only shows sin, without enabling you to conquer it.

But under grace - Under the merciful dispensation of the gospel, which brings complete victory over it to every one who is under the powerful influences of the Spirit of Christ.

In closing,

Grace never justifies sin, nor may we ever see/use grace as a license to sin.

God's Grace (the power of the Resurrection) does enable the believer to overcome sin in the believer's growing Christlikeness.

That same Grace is the believer's source of forgiveness when we do sin in the believer's decreasing humanness.

Now, go walk in Power Of The Ressurrection!

May "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Until next time, keep on lifting up the Name of Jesus!

God Bless you and yours

In Christ
ChristRing Ministries
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"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8 )