Sinning? Deal with it!

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Toronto

 1  Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2  Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3  Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.    Romans 6:1-4 (NLT)

We should concern ourselves with this revealed will of God, follow it, and be diligent about it because the Holy Spirit gives grace, power, and ability through the Word by which he has called us. We should not explore the abyss of the hidden foreknowledge of God, even as Christ answered the question, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” by saying, “Strive to enter by the narrow door” (Luke 13:23, 24). Luther puts it this way: “Follow the order in the Epistle to the Romans. Concern yourself first with Christ and his Gospel so that you learn to know your sins and his grace. Then take up the warfare against sin as Paul teaches from the first to the eighth chapter. Afterward, when in the eighth chapter you are tested under the cross and in tribulation, the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters will show you how comforting God’s foreknowledge is.”5[i]

When I sermon i write deals with sin, 90 percent of the time I am trying to help people see that God will help us overcome the devastation it causes; I teach that God will bring healing to their lives, and the lives around them that are wrecked by their sin, or the sins of others.   Let me revise that – make it 98 percent of my sermons deal with it this way.   That is after all, why Christ came, and for a Lutheran pastor – that is what we preach – Christ crucified, our hope to be found in the glorious presence of God.

So much so that we neglect the Biblical admonitions to be free of sin, to realize that Christ has overcome it, and we have something far better to do, to think, to say.

I think it is partially fear that stops us from talking about living as disciples, living in Christ, living lives set apart to the purpose of walking with God.  For us, its not the fear that noone will listen.  (We already know that only about 10% of what we say sinks in..)  Rather its a fear that we will somehow, accidently cause people to believe that they do something to be saved.  That does happen, simply because all of us like to think we are better than we are.  For us the usual temptation is to think that because we’ve go the right doctrine, because we are baptized and believe, we  are saved.  Even so, the balance of works caused by faith, as compared to works causing faith is a tough one to manage.

Yet, we have to, and Luther tried to give us a pretty simple way of handling sin in his commentary on Romans… that I find.. intriguing.

Let me put it into my own words…

1.  Let Christ deal with the sin…  look to Him, see His cross – see HIs love for you demonstrated as he takes the sin from you…

2,  Go to war with sin – realize how it steals your life, your hope, your ability to love.   The way we battle it is by confessing it and trusting In Christ’s cleansing.  As we war – we also go after those captured by sin, and take them back, for they were made by God to be His. Seeing people freed from sin is a powerful encouragement to all around.

3.  Realize that God has planned and empowered your life – freeing you to walk with Him, to work alongside the Holy Spirit as we love God with everything we are, and as we demonstrate that in our love and service to others.  A love that resembles Christ’s because we find ourselves compelled to sacrifice our lives.. to help people know God.

This is all seen in the great passage from last week’s epistle,

1  Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 2  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 3  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)  As you thank God for your being saved – remember that He has saved you for a purpose – to walk humbly and justly with God.  Find a spiritual coach (what we sometimes call a Father-confessor) to help you through these battles.  Don’t be afraid to pray for help – and indeed to ask others to pray for you as well.  FInd ways to become disciplined…

But realize we do this – not because we have to, but as a response to the gifts we’ve been given by God…

Cry out “Lord have mercy” and remember that freeing you from sin is a way He has…

5 Preface to Romans, EA, 63:135.

[i] Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (pp. 621–622). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 20, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

I love to know your thoughts on this... please respond!

%d bloggers like this: