It’s Time to Stop Hiding Behind Our Sinful Nature
Discussion Thought of the Day:
22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Romans 7:22-25, 8:1-4 (NLT)
4 Don’t say, “That’s the way I am—it’s my character.” It’s your lack of character. Esto vir!—Be a man!
125 Since faith brings the Holy Spirit and produces a new life in our hearts, it must also produce spiritual impulses in our hearts. What these impulses are, the prophet shows when he says (Jer. 31:33), “I will put my law upon their hearts.” After we have been justified and regenerated by faith, therefore, we begin to fear and love God, to pray and expect help from him, to thank and praise him, and to submit to him in our afflictions. Then we also begin to love our neighbor because our hearts have spiritual and holy impulses.
“Pastor, I can’t help it, I am just a poor, poor sinner.”
That response is a conditioned response, it is what pastors and priests have taught people to say. It is the response to sin of a generation where the sacraments have been diminished. Where absolution is not really heard and understood in the heart and the mind.
But what it does pick up on, is the law that convicts it, the passages that say, “no one is good”, “all have sinned”, and a focus that never is taken off of the doctrine of justification. People have heard all about, they know what it is, well as far as we can’t save ourselves, we are dead in sin and God delivers us. But they don’t hear the so what – how this absolution, how this declaration that we are righteous changes our lives.
With on the “what”, people (and I include pastors and priests as people – we are really) will make the what the end of the story. We still sin, God still forgives. We aren’t perfect, we’re just forgiven, and people will turn that into permission to keep on sinning.
We believe that works can’t save us, we know that nothing we do merits salvation, and we stop (and encourage people to stop ) there. That’s enough, trust in God and you will be saved people believe.
When we allow this, o what a great disserve we do! It would be like telling a convict the charges against them are overturned, but not unlocking their cell door, not removing the handcuffs, nor giving them clothes that identified them as something other. We have to share the complete gospel, all of the mercy, reveal to them the wonder of His love.
They’ve been not only declared righteous, but the Holy Spirit dwells in them, making them holy. sanctifying them, empowering them to live the baptized, repentant (transformed ) life. Our people don’t need to live in secret, hiding behind their sin or their propensity to sin. They can be encouraged to live in the freedom that Christ has given them.
That is what the third quote, from the Lutheran Confessions, is telling us. That the Spirit creating life in our hearts, is creating the impulses to do that which isn’t sin, impulses to love God, impulses to love our neighbor, impulses to trust Him more and more, and because we trust Him we are driven to reach our and serve those around us, meeting needs from physical to emotional to spiritual.
This is how Paul, distraught over his sin, finally comes to the realization (and needed to remember it daily) that justified, we can set aside that sin, and follow the Spirit. Does that mean we won’t sin on occasion? No, but it changes what drives us, what impulses we want to follow -and as time goes by, as we explore the depth of God’s love revealed in Christ, those impulses bring us great joy.
This is what St. Josemaria talks about when he challenges us to be men, not those who hide behind the weakness of character, who justify sin by saying that is who they are.
It is a challenge to live life as God intended, walking with Him, focused on Him, but even when we fail, He has, He is the answer. The Christian life is knowing this and living in light of it.
Heavenly Father, have mercy on us, your children!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 177-178). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article IV
Posted on September 10, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Poiema, st josemaria escriva, The Way and tagged absolution, baptism, excuse, faith, Life in Christ, redemption, sanctity, sin, sinful nature, Third use of the Law. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.