Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Addicted to God
What we have seen in Romans thus far has led us on a real roller coaster. Chapter 1: you can?t escape accountability to God for the evil in endemic in us as fallen humans. Chapter 2: God is right in his condemnation of that evil so that, Chapter 3, whether we choose to ignore God, try to be as good as we can, or follow the Law to the best of our ability we fall far short of his character. So then in verse 21 ?But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law ? through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.?
This incredible news carries on into Chapter 4 where we learn that even Abraham had a relationship with God through faith, just like we do. The result is peace with God, justification, access, rejoicing, hope, transformation and salvation from God?s wrath against evil. Then we saw last week in Chapter 5 we saw that we are actually part of a new race. No longer do we trace our heritage to Adam, but to Jesus Christ who is the Last Adam.
It?s pretty heady stuff. We should rightly breathe a huge sigh of relief. There?s nothing we can do to gain God?s favor because Jesus already gained it for you by his life, death, burial and resurrection. We?re alive, in tune with God, and free.
Okay, so now what? It?s like it used to be when I was as a kid. You?d open your eyes and realize it was Saturday and you had the entire day in front of you with no obligations or plans or restrictions. It was time to have fun! We now wake up in Christ with eternity in front of us with no obligations or plans of our own or restrictions. ?John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.?
So we?re free?but free to do what? We?ve been born again but not changed entirely. We still have our body and our mind and live in a world that doesn?t serve God. Paul will say later: (1 Cor 13:12) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known and (1 John 3:2-3) we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. But that?s in the future?not now.
So does this mean that we simply go about doing whatever comes to mind? The truth is that while we live here we live with a dual nature?the new self, modeled after the Last Adam, slowly taking over for the old self, modeled after the First Adam. How to live in that reality without becoming schizophrenic is what Romans 6 is all about. We progress from talking about justification, to sanctification, which is the process of us becoming like God.
1 ? 4
Some people might mistake Paul?s statement that where sin abounded grace abounded much more to give them freedom to sin. ?If God loves to forgive, let?s give Him more to forgive by sinning more.? We misunderstand both the seriousness of sin and our present condition, that we have been freed, not to become less like God but more like Him. Now, for the first time, we have the choice to act like God on a continual basis more and more.
Considering yourself dead to something is a good way to put it. What makes the difference between someone who has not been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb is that we now have the choice to act like God and NOT act like the flesh. That?s the ?newness of life.? Baptism is a symbol of that reality?not that baptism itself is responsible for the cleansing. Peter makes that clear in 1 Peter 3:21.
We have entered a new paradigm. It might not feel like it, but it is none the less more real than you know.
5 ? 11
Our sins have been washed and we now have the life of Jesus?life that will never end?life where our character is so good, just like God. ?Death no longer has dominion? over you. That is a reality. Again, though, the junk we learned being born into and living in sin likes to hang around. That?s what I mean by a dual nature. The process we are now in is a ?transforming? of our minds (Romans 12:2). The first step, though, is to consider (reckon or declare) ourselves ?crucified? ? dead ? to sin.
Once set free, a slave can continue to live as a slave, but why? Japanese soldiers in WWII lived as if the war was still on, and some, hearing that the war had ended, refused to believe or act on the new reality. We don?t have to be that way! No longer do we have to live lives independent from God and for ourselves, we live ?for God.?
12 ? 14
So since we are dead and have a choice to live in newness of the life of Christ Paul says not to let sin ?reign? anymore. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: (1 Cor 6:19-20) You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price.? So glorify God in your body. We have the choice, but that means we can still choose to sin. And when that happens, as it does with us all, we can become enslaved by it.
15 ? 19
Not only is it a false assumption that ?more sin produces more grace so we might as well indulge the flesh? ? so is it untrue the assumption that freedom from the Law means freedom to do anything we want without being controlled by the law. Being in Christ and out from under the Law doesn?t mean the Law doesn?t exist anymore. It is the character of God and that doesn?t change. But instead of working to obey it in a sinful weak body, we obey it by the natural course of us becoming more like God from the inside out.
Paul is basically saying ?you have given your whole self over to the good news of the gospel that was presented to you.?
And as we do that?worship and enjoy our Abba Father, we stop wanting to do things that are evil and start wanting to do things that are good?a process called ?sanctification.?
20 ? 23
People are mistaken if they think that they are free outside of Christ. We just can?t see the chains that hold us to evil. We think we can do whatever we want, choosing to do good if we so desire. But in our fallen nature we cannot sustain that, nor does it do any good outside of life in Christ?because the right things that man does do not earn favor with God. Real freedom comes from being enslaved to Jesus instead of the old nature. It?s a little like living on a diet of arsenic, thinking that it?s good for you, when it?s really killing you. Serving Jesus is the best thing a human can do.
So then we come to another important signpost on the Romans Road. It goes along with 3:23 ?All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.? When we lived as slaves to sin we were earning a wage?death, which is eternal separation from God and all that is good. But praise God we don?t have to work for something much much better?life in Jesus Christ!
So how then should we live in light of these truths?
1.????? Forget the lie that sin is okay because you are forgiven (1-2)
Now that Lucifer has lost your soul doesn?t mean he is through with you. He is known as the tempter (Matt 4:3) and the accuser (Rev 12:10). His battleground is your mind. His tactics are to confuse and persuade you into doing things that are now contrary to your new nature.
2.????? Make a death certificate and declaration of independence from sin (11)
You are dead. How can a corpse do anything? It?s not that we are fighting this living dual nature in us to see which one wins?the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other type of thing. When presented with the opportunity to sin just tell the devil that you?d love to but can?t on account of being dead! You have the choice now so use it.
James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God.? Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
3.????? Yield to God with everything you are (19)
The word ?present? means to ?stand beside, recommend, to exhibit, substantiate, to be at hand, ready.? It is a prolonged present plural imperative aorist. That means God commands us all to do this now and into the future from an action that took place in the past (ie, the cross).
4.????? Become addicted to God (23)
I know that sounds strange. But just as Paul said that our old nature ?made us obey? its passions, now we are slaves to God. Just as we couldn?t help but do evil as sinners, now as we throw ourselves wholeheartedly into a relationship with God we won?t be able to help but do good.