New Identity: My Family Tree
On Sunday Pastor Shawn started a two-part series on New Identity. You can listen to it or watch it here.
We spent some time looking at the book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul, and what it says about sin. Oh, sin. That word we don’t like. That thing that trips us up over and over.
Pastor Shawn pointed out that we act sinfully — we make poor choices that reject God’s way. But we also have a nature that’s sinful. That’s why none of us are excusable. I totally related to the illustration he gave us of kids — we don’t need to teach toddlers to be naughty. They intrinsically know how to do it! I knew how to sin pretty quickly, and I was pretty skilled at it.
Paul’s words in Romans 7 really get at the heart of what it is. I think this passage is so good because it shows Paul as a person — someone struggling with sin in the ways that we all do, He says:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Whew! We have the desire to do what is good, but we cannot carry it out. We just can’t. We cannot become righteous on our own, which again is what Paul is desperately fighting when he finds this problem within himself.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Paul wonders, who will rescue him? What do we do with this sin that so easily entangles, this sin from which we cannot escape on our own? But, ah! Remember Good Friday? Remember Easter Sunday? The Answer to the problem of sin came to earth as a man named Jesus; He died for our sins, and rose from the grave – defeating sin and death for our sake!
So, Paul rejoices:
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Woo hoo! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ! Jesus came to do something we could never do on our own. He came to take the penalty of sin (death) upon Himself. And what good news that through our acceptance of Jesus’ gift of salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit. He strengthens us and makes us His own. Sin does not have the same power over us as it once did. We can choose to live in the victory the Spirit offers. And even when we choose incorrectly, God forgives and restores and redeems. He invites us into His family so that we can encourage and support one another. We can come to church and join small groups and serve one another — we become part of God’s family tree, and we can grow as disciples who walk in God’s way.
Now that is Good News! Share it with someone who needs to hear it!